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Athens News Agency: News in English, 02-01-22

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Simitis backs Bulgarian bid to join EU, NATO during Sofia visit
  • [02] ND leader: EU expansion impossible without Cyprus
  • [03] IOC cites 2004 transports, accommodations as lagging, progress noted
  • [04] Foreign Exchange Rates - Wednesday
  • [05] Weather Forecast: Cloud, some rain on Wednesday
  • [06] Buying in small caps lifts ASE higher

  • [01] Simitis backs Bulgarian bid to join EU, NATO during Sofia visit

    22/01/2002 23:16:01

    SOFIA (ANA - V. Mourtis) Economic issues and Bulgaria's prospects for European Union and NATO membership dominated talks between Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his Bulgarian counterpart Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha on Tuesday, during a one-day working visit by Simitis to neighbouring Bulgaria.

    In a joint press conference after their meeting, Simitis said that Bulgaria's desire to join the EU and NATO was viewed positively by Athens and that his talks in Sofia had helped to further cement the good bilateral ties between the two countries.

    Responding to questions, however, the Greek premier also raised the issue of the nuclear power station in Koslodui, which Greece wants shut down on the grounds that it is dangerous. Simitis stressed that Greece would feel safer in the future if the agreements made on this issue were adhered to.

    Saxe-Coburg-Gotha replied that his government would make every effort to shut down two of the reactors by the end of 2002 and the other two by the end of 2006.

    Apart from these, the two men also discussed bilateral economic ties, ways of overcoming glitches in bilateral cooperation issues, and signed an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation.

    Simitis said Bulgaria's increasing economic stability was a very good sign for Greek business, which was the second-largest foreign investor in the country. He estimated that some 800 Greek companies were currently operating within Bulgaria, creating 70,000 jobs in the process, and predicted that bilateral economic ties would improve even further once Bulgaria became a member of the EU.

    Simitis also answered questions regarding a planned oil pipeline between Burgas and the northern Greek city of Alexandroupolis, saying that this had come one step closer to being carried out after his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said that previous doubts and questions over the project no longer existed.

    There remained the task of deciding who would participate in the pipeline's construction and how, and what quantities of oil would pass through it, the Greek premier added.

    [02] ND leader: EU expansion impossible without Cyprus

    22/01/2002 23:14:16

    Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis focused squarely on foreign policy issues during a Tuesday press conference in Athens organised by the Foreign Press Association (FPA), emphasising, that EU enlargement will be jeopardised if Cyprus is excluded from the next wave of expansion.

    In response to a variety of press questions, Karamanlis added that his partys support towards the PASOK government on major foreign policy issues does not constitute a ?carte blanche?, noting that talks with Turkey involving Greeces sovereign rights are strictly out of the question.

    ?What dialogue? For what purpose, and on what basis?? Karamanlis asked, while noting that weaknesses in the 1999 Helsinki agreement citing the EU summit where Turkey was for the first time designated as an EU candidate-state are now appearing, such as references to dialogue over border area differences without commensurate references to international treaties.

    The ND leader criticised the government for its handling of the thorny ?Euro-Army? issue, charging that Athens attempted to gain a short deferment at the last moment instead of condemning, from the onset, British-Turkish negotiations aimed at working out a compromise with Ankara over its insistence that it fully participate in the EUs new defence arm.

    He also appeared cautious over the recently re-started Clerides-Denktash talks on the divided island of Cyprus.

    Turning to the domestic front, Karamanlis referred to ?political responsibilities? over the recent collapse of merger talks between National Bank of Greece, the countrys largest commercial bank, and Alpha Bank, the largest private financial institution in the country.

    Besides heaping criticism on the government over the merger collapse, which he called a ?fiasco?, the ND leader indirectly called for the resignation of National Banks state-appointed governor, Theodoros Karatzas.

    [03] IOC cites 2004 transports, accommodations as lagging, progress noted

    22/01/2002 23:10:36

    The International Olympic Committee (IOC) pointed to perrenially taxing issue of transportation in and around traffic-congested Athens along with accommodations as the two primary ?headaches? ahead of the 2004 Olympic Games.

    The IOCs vice-president and head of a commission gauging progress for the Athens Games, Denis Oswald, cited the two ?concerns? during a press conference in Athens on Tuesday, almost two months since the last IOC delegation again visited Greece for a wide-ranging tour of worksites, talks with the Greek government and the Athens 2004 organising committee (ATHOC).

    However, Oswald said progress in terms of venue construction, the Olympic Village and other infrastructure works is proceeding on schedule, although "no reserve days" are available if delays materialise.

    The six-member IOC inspection team gauged progress ahead of next months 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

    (More)

    [04] Foreign Exchange Rates - Wednesday

    22/01/2002 18:22:13

    Indicative tourist buying rates per euro

    U.S. dollar 0.890

    Pound sterling 0.623

    Danish kroner 7.489

    Swedish kroner 9.316

    Japanese yen 119.48

    Swiss franc 1.480

    Norwegian kroner 7.966

    Cyprus pound 0.580

    Canadian dollar 1.431

    Australian dollar 1.715

    [05] Weather Forecast: Cloud, some rain on Wednesday

    22/01/2002 18:00:46

    The day will start sunny on Wednesday with cloud later in the day that may turn to rain overnight in the centre and north. There will be showers in the west from afternoon. Early morning mist is forecast, especially in the Ionian and on the mainland. Winds southwesterly, light, turning moderate at sea. In the north, temperatures will range from 0C to 13C; on the rest of the mainland from 1C to 18C; and in the islands from 8C to 17C. Light cloud in Athens with temperatures between 7C and 17C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 2C to 13C.

    [06] Buying in small caps lifts ASE higher

    22/01/2002 16:40:41

    A wave of buying in smaller capitalisation stocks lifted the Athens Stock Exchange higher on Tuesday although turnover remained stuck at very low levels discouraging any attempts to push prices higher.

    The general index ended 0.76 percent higher at 2,563.17 points, with turnover a low Dr 44.5 billion, or 130.7 million euros.

    The Food-Beverage and Retail sectors suffered losses (0.73 percent and 0.02 percent, respectively), while the Textile, Cement and Publishing sectors scored the biggest percentage gains (1.91 percent, 1.67 percent and 1.27 percent, respectively).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.71 percent higher, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 0.45 percent and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index ended 1.18 percent higher.

    National Bank's shares rose 1.61 percent and Alpha Bank's shares ended 0.31 percent up.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 237 to 85 with another 38 issues unchanged.


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