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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-02-17

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Stocks plunge to 6-year low
  • [02] Turkey's Ziraat Bank launches first branch in Athens
  • [03] FM in Washington next week
  • [04] PM on Azeri natgas contracts

  • [01] Stocks plunge to 6-year low

    Greek stocks plunged to new six-year lows at the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, with the composite index of the market ending at 1,603.80 points, off 5.19 pct. Turnover was an improved 164.8 million euros, of which 4.1 million euros were block trades.

    All sectors moved lower, with the Food/Beverage (12.01 pct), Telecommunications (7.75 pct), Banks (6.32 pct), Financial Services (6.01 pct), Chemicals (5.62 pct) and Raw Materials (5.53 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    The FTSE 20 index dropped 5.42 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 3.91 pct lower and the FTSE 80 index fell 2.91 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 185 to 30 with another 32 issues unchanged.

    [02] Turkey's Ziraat Bank launches first branch in Athens

    Ziraat Bank on Tuesday officially inaugurated its first branch in Athens and will launch another branch unit in Komotini on Wednesday.

    Addressing the inauguration ceremony, Turkish Minister of State Nazim Ekren said the operation of Ziraat Bank in Greece will further contribute to the promotion of bilateral economic relations and further boost joint investments between Greek and Turkish businesses.

    Ekren said the launch of Greek operations by Turkey's oldest financial institution -- an investment budgeted at 18 million US dollars -- was very significant, while he stressed that businesspeople from both countries were contributing to further improving relations between the two countries.

    He also cited the increasing volume of trade relations between the two countries, at 3.5 billion US dollars in 2008. Commenting on the Turkish banking system, Ekren stressed that reforms made in the last few years have led banks to a very good situation.

    Turkey's ambassador to Greece, Oz Celikkol, and the bank's general manager, Akin Canglar, in a brief address, underlined the significance of boosting bilateral economic relations.

    Canglar emphasised the fact that Ziraat Bank operates in 17 countries around the world with more than 65 branches, saying that Ziraat Bank "goes where Turkish businessmen go".

    [03] FM in Washington next week

    Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis will visit the United States on Feb. 22 in her capacity as Greek foreign minister and chairperson of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The visit will be launched on Monday, Feb. 23 in Washington D.C., where she will address the Brookings Institution, on the issue of "Collective Security in the 21st Century - Building New Bridges". On Tuesday, Bakoyannis will meet with the president and members of the Helsinki Committee on OSCE issues. Later on the same day, she will meet with the chairman and members of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations followed by a meeting with the chairman and members of the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs. On Feb. 25, she will meet with her counterpart, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and attend a reception in her honor by US Under Secretary for Political Affairs William Burns. The second part of her visit will concern contacts in New York to be announced later on Tuesday. The foreign minister's meetings will focus on OSCE issues as well as on issues of mutual interest, both international and regional, such as the Middle East and the Caucasus. Additionally, issues of Greek interest, including the situation in the Balkans, relations with Turkey and the Cyprus issue will be discussed, according to foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos. "Greek-US relations can acquire a new substance, depth and width," Koumoutsakos said, adding that the new US government allows for realism and hope.

    Referring to a meeting Bakoyannis will have on Wednesday in Athens with US Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois and Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, Koumoutsakos it is "a positive development" that allows for direct briefing on issues of major interest for Greece. Bakoyannis to Vienna, Egypt this week

    Bakoyannis will travel to Vienna on Wednesday afternoon to attend the 2009 winter meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), foreign ministry spokesman George Koumoutsakos announced.

    During the two-day session on Thursday and Friday, she will brief the delegates on the priorities of the OSCE's Greek chair. On Thursday she is also to meet OSCE Secretary-General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut and the members of a U.S. Congressional delegation to Vienna led by the chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission (Commission for Security and Cooperation in Europe).

    On the same day, Bakoyannis is to take part in the joint session of all three general committees of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the subsequent working dinner given by OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Joao Soares.

    On March 2, Bakoyannis is scheduled to visit Egypt for an international conference on the reconstruction of Gaza after Israel's 22-day air strike offensive, that is taking place at the city of Sharm El Sheikh.

    Caption: A file photo dated Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2006, shows Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis (L) talking with US Sen. Hillary Clinton in Washington, D.C. ANA-MPA / DIMITRIS PANAGOS

    [04] PM on Azeri natgas contracts

    "Greece is ready to sign agreements for natural gas supplies directly from Azerbaijan," Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis announced during an event at the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) on Tuesday, amid business contacts between Azeri and Greek entrepreneurs. Karamanlis pointed out that new long-term cooperation will be opened with the establishment of a basic institutional framework, confirming the existing interest in increased transactions in other sectors besides energy. "Our economies are complementary and not antagonistic," Karamanlis stressed and called on entrepreneurs to create joint ventures, pointing out that there are opportunities present and that both governments will offer assistance. He also underlined that the TGI pipeline is very important to Greece's energy targets. President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias referred to the notable prospects of bilateral cooperation beyond the sector of energy. He underlined that the four agreements signed this week will be the basis for dynamic development of bilateral relations in several economic sectors. Papoulias also accepted an invitation to visit Azerbaijan. On his part, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev underlined that stability and peace in southern Caucasus is of major importance to his country and referred to the conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. President Aliyev also stated that oil production increased fivefold in recent years, reaching one million barrels a day, while more investment opportunities are being created in the sector of natural gas exports to the European Union via Greece. He pointed out that a safe business environment will be established in his country, underlining that today 85 percent of the GDP comes from the private sector even though it is a relatively new state that started out with no private investments whatsoever.

    ANA-MPA / EPA file photo / PATRICK PLEUL

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