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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-02-04

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

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <grnewsca@sympatico.ca>

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1407), February 4, 1998

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address: grnewsca@sympatico.ca


CONTENTS

  • [01] Three ND deputies expelled from party
  • [02] ... Simitis, Reppas
  • [03] ... Simitis chairs Executive Bureau meeting
  • [04] Kranidiotis winds up African tour
  • [05] Simitis holds talks with visiting Albanian party delegation
  • [06] Athens comments on cessation of US aid
  • [07] Greek parliamentary delegation in Bulgaria
  • [08] Fouras arrives in Japan to attend Winter Olympics
  • [09] Athens notes campaign against ethnic Greeks in Turkey
  • [10] ... Renewed FIR violations
  • [11] Germany, France agree common policy on issue of Turkey-EU relations
  • [12] PM meets former minister Kastanidis
  • [13] President watches restoration work on Parthenon
  • [14] Co-operation with Slovakian universities
  • [15] Pangalos to inaugurate Greek cultural center in Panama
  • [16] 'Abdi Ipekci' awards to be given in Greece after April 30, 1999
  • [17] Criminal charges to be laid in Dystos accident
  • [18] Two bombs target suburban McDonald's restaurants
  • [19] Gov't says will combat unemployment, create new jobs
  • [20] Farmers struggle to keep up tempo
  • [21] GSEE terms unfortunate the ratification of controversial clause
  • [22] Greece unveils regional transport and communications policy
  • [23] Greek stocks end five-day fall with sharp rebound
  • [24] Gov't to decide on bank rates next week
  • [25] Helexpo says 1998 a landmark year
  • [26] ELBE signs agreement to buy off German clothes firm

  • [01] Three ND deputies expelled from party

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    Three leading deputies of the main opposition New Democracy party who failed to toe the party line against a government provision changing relations between workers and management at state-run public utilities, were expelled from the party early this morning, while another three were suspended for a year as party members. The party's disciplinary committee, which met last night to take action against seven deputies, acquitted one of them. The decision was unanimous. Those expelled are former Mitsotakis government ministers George Souflias, Stephanos Manos and Vasilis Kontoyiannopoulos.

    Former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis, ND's honorary chairman, was exempted from the decision to refer the ND deputies, taken at an extraordinary meeting chaired by ND leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday, due to his "long presence and contribution to political life." Mr. Mitsotakis has the right "to express views which may not necessarily express the party's positions," according to an announcement by Mr. Karamanlis.

    Mr. Souflias, unsuccessfully challenged Mr. Karamanlis for the leadership of the party last year.

    The seven deputies abstained from the parliament vote. The amendment was approved early yesterday by Parliament by a vote of 141 to 121.

    A total of 35 deputies - from both opposition and ruling party - absented themselves from the vote.

    Hours before the convening of the disciplinary committee, Mr. Mitsotakis expressed his opposition to the disciplinary action against the seven ND deputies.

    He said that it was inconceivable to take such action since a party whip had not been imposed and because there had been party agreement on the substance of ND policy in parliament.

    Mr. Mitsotakis also said that he was not called to preside over the disciplinary committee, which if it met in his absence, it would do so in violation of the charter of the party.

    Replying, party officials said Mr. Mitsotakis was entitled to express his views but stressed that he could neither select the party organs he would participate nor could he judge deputies who had expressed the same view as he did in parliament.

    Former minister Vasilis Kontoyiannopoulos, who abstained from the vote, sent a letter to the disciplinary committee and the party leader, stressing that "New Democracy is obliged to make clear its liberal choices, particularly on purely qualitative issues," and that his stand was in positive response to the party's options, as expressed by Mr. Karamanlis, as a party whip had never been officially imposed.

    Former national economy minister Stephanos Manos, who abstained from voting and did not appear before the disciplinary committee, said he did not understand why the party should say 'No' even when it agreed with a government initiative which "follows our own program".

    Also former minister George Souflias, who abstained from the vote, appeared particularly vexed with the party leader, whom he accused of "opting to lead the country to adventures in the first decision of his term, instead of deciding on the country's crucial and substantial issues," and of reviving old party methods of persecuting positions and ideas.

    [02] ... Simitis, Reppas

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    The ND party is moving along general principles, an inappropriate method of solving problems, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said while commenting on developments in the main opposition party.

    He further ascribed these developments to the ND's lack of policy and a wise political direction.

    Government sources were quoted as saying that even though developments in the ND were giving rise to new standards, they did not solve any of PASOK's problems.

    However, the same sources acknowledged the fact that the government would have enough room to move freely with handling certain issues, since the crisis in the ND seems to require a long healing time.

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas said the absence of PASOK deputies "does not create a political issue for the government" as no PASOK deputy voted against the provision.

    Mr. Reppas added that most of the PASOK deputies had valid reasons for their absence, citing Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who had unavoidable obligations during the session.

    [03] ... Simitis chairs Executive Bureau meeting

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    The ruling party PASOK Executive Bureau yesterday convened under the chairmanship of Prime Minister and party President Costas Simitis.

    Mr. Simitis said that the key to success is a new operational policy, and rejected the use of maneuvering in solving problems. He added that no grouping within the party can replace the official party committees in setting party or government policy.

    The premier also said that under his leadership PASOK will resist any attempts to isolate the party.

    He asked everyone to show solidarity and respect for opposing views and added that PASOK's policy is against powerful interests and the old standing structures of society.

    Mr. Simitis also asked the Executive Bureau members to shoulder their responsibilities, thus using the full potential of the party to solve all problems.

    [04] Kranidiotis winds up African tour

    Addis Ababa, 04/02/1998 (ANA - N. Voulelis)

    Foreign Under-secretary Yiannos Kranidiotis' tour of Eastern and South African countries has been described as exceptionally successful, as far as Greece's promotion and bilateral relations with these countries is concerned .

    Mr. Kranidiotis' last stop in the six-day tour, which wound up yesterday, was Ethiopia, where the foreign undersecretary met the country's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, as well as National Economy Minister Girma Biru and counterpart Tekeda Alemu.

    Discussions with all officials were friendly and focused on bilateral relations, while it was decided that a number of already prepared agreements be signed in the future.

    Mr. Kranidiotis told his interlocutors that Greece will increase the number of scholarships granted to Ethiopian students, while it will also provide food aid of 5,000 tons of wheat and medical aid.

    Greece will further participate in educational and training programs of Ethiopians, as well as in the construction of school buildings.

    Referring to Greece's candidacy for the United Nations Security Council for the two-year term of 1999-2000, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi threw his support, saying the request was rightful and should be backed, since Greece had only been on the Security Council once since the international organization's foundation.

    Visiting Pretoria, the official capital of South Africa Monday, the Greek foreign under-secretary met Minister to the Vice President's Office Essop Pahad, who is a close associate of the country's vice president and leader of the African National Congress Tambo Mbeki, and Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad.

    A review of current political developments and an exchange of views on the wide range of bilateral relations took place during talks, which also touched upon investments, shipping and aviation agreements unilaterally signed between the two countries.

    Mr. Kranidiotis announced Greece's participation in South African development programs in the areas of housing and education.

    The Greek official extended an invitation to Tambo Mbeki to visit Greece, as another visit by South African leader Nelson Mandela is still pending.

    Here, too, South African officials spoke in favorable terms on Greece's candidacy for the Security Council, saying that Greece had strong arguments.

    In Namibia, Mr. Kranidiotis was warmly received by President Sam Nujoma, who referred to his people's national liberation struggle and to the support he had personally had in the past by the PASOK party.

    The foreign under-secretary handed the Namibian president a letter by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, which contained an invitation to visit Greece.

    According to sources, Mr. Kranidiotis is said to have been impressed by Mr. Nujoma's knowledge and concern over the Cyprus problem.

    Mr. Kranidiotis' visit to Mozambique, the first visit to that country by a Greek minister, was equally important.

    A meeting was held here with Foreign Minister Leonardo Simao, during which the Greek official made proposals on providing funding to programs in the sectors of child health care and education.

    Mr. Simao, who was invited to visit Greece, expressed his estimation for Greece's concern, stressing that his government would very carefully examine Greece's Security Council candidacy.

    Mr. Kranidiotis' tour to seven African countries gave the chance to the Greek delegation to ascertain the existence of significant potential for development of bilateral relations with the whole of Africa, as well as that continent's concern and warm welcome of Greek positions and initiatives.

    [05] Simitis holds talks with visiting Albanian party delegation

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis had talks yesterday with a delegation of deputies from Albania's Human Rights Union party, headed by its president, Vassilis Melos.

    Mr. Simitis underlined to the delegation that Greece had been very active during the crisis in the neighboring country last year and had made every effort towards finding a political solution, using democratic means, for Albania's reconstruction at an economic and political level.

    The premier noted however that Albania still had a long way to go. Mr. Simitis said that the problems of rivalry between the two countries were now firmly in the past, since a "new chapter" had opened based on equality, friendship and co-operation.

    The cornerstone of these relations, he added, was respect for the rights of the ethnic Greek minority which constitutes a bridge joining the two countries.

    On the problems caused by the wave of illegal immigrants from Albania, Mr. Simitis said the government was taking measures towards granting them legal status. When immigrants do not find work, he said, they wind up on the fringe of society and this exacerbates social problems.

    Mr. Simitis said that the contribution of immigrants to the development of the Greek economy was both useful and substantial.

    The Human Rights Union draws most of its support from the ethnic Greek minority in Albania.

    [06] Athens comments on cessation of US aid

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    The standard of the Greek armed forces is such that it does not require US assistance, government spokesman Demetris Reppas said yesterday when asked to comment on Washington's decision to discontinue military assistance to NATO allies Greece and Turkey.

    "What is of interest to us is that the balance of power is maintained between Greece and Turkey for reasons of national security," Mr. Reppas said, noting that the assistance terminated related to the purchase of second-hand US defense material.

    The decision to discontinue the assistance was announced by President Bill Clinton.

    A State Department official said on Monday night that the decision in effect constituted the result of the "maturing" of the two countries' relations with the US.

    "There is no need for the same level of (military) aid as in the past in order for these two countries to continue to play an active role in NATO. We had consultations with both countries," the official said.

    The official clarified that Washington's intention to discontinue the assistance had been announced three years ago and that "now was the right time to do it".

    [07] Greek parliamentary delegation in Bulgaria

    Sofia, 04/02/1998 (ANA - B. Borisov)

    A Greek parliamentary delegation headed by PASOK deputy Eleftherios Veryvakis yesterday met Bulgarian officials and discussed issues concerning Bulgaria's NATO and European Union accession.

    The delegation met Bulgarian Parliament President Iordan Sokolof, Foreign Minister Nadejda Mihailova, Defense Minister Georgi Ananiev, Interior Minister Boyomil Bonev, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Bozhkov and the parliamentary committee of foreign affairs and national security.

    Mr. Veryvakis said Greece will support Bulgaria's bid to join NATO and the European Union as a full member, in concert with this country's adjustment and response to the membership criteria.

    The delegation was due to meet Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov and Prime Minister Ivan Kostov.

    [08] Fouras arrives in Japan to attend Winter Olympics

    Nagano, 04/02/1998 (ANA - P. Perivolaris)

    A Greek delegation, headed by Sports Under-secretary Andreas Fouras, arrived here yesterday in order to attend the Winter Olympics starting on Saturday.

    Mr. Fouras and accompanying officials from the Athens Olympics Organizing Committee were received at Nagano by president of the Greek Olympic Committee and member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Lambis Nikolaou.

    The Greek delegation had an unpleasant surprise at Tokyo's airport as no Japanese officials were there to receive them and as a result had to wait for two hours before catching a train to Nagano.

    A presentation on the Athens Olympics - 2004 will be staged tomorrow by members of the delegation, having as its central slogan "Athens keeps its promises".

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou is also here presently, the aim of his visit being to promote the idea of the Olympic truce.

    [09] Athens notes campaign against ethnic Greeks in Turkey

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greece will raise the issue of Turkish attempts to alter the Greek character of the eastern Aegean islands of Imvros and Tenedos, the foreign ministry said yesterday after reports that holy relics had been stolen from a church housing a concentration of them from all over the island.

    The stolen items included 20 old icons of great value and three Bibles.

    "This act constitutes the culmination of a series of plunders and pillages of churches on Imvros, and comes in the wake of the hideous murder of a Greek sexton in a Greek church in Istanbul," the ministry said in a statement.

    It further stressed that the culprits of all attacks remain at large, and this cultivates the impression that attacks against ethnic Greeks, their property and their cultural heritage are acts which do not constitute offenses.

    The impression is also created that Turkey is attempting to eliminate all traces of Greek cultural presence on the two islands, the statement ended.

    According to an ANA dispatch from Istanbul, unknown assailants broke into the church of Agridion on Imvros on Sunday and stole at least 15 icons, sacred vessels and the church's epitaph cloth.

    News of the theft reached the Patriarchate yesterday, since the assailants had cut the telephone wires to the town of Agridion.

    The metropolitan of Imvros and Tenedos will go to the island to assess the damage.

    The Patriarchate decided some time ago to transfer icons from isolated churches of the island to the Agridion church which was considered best for safe keeping of these items.

    This theft is the last in a series of violent acts against churches in Turkey, while none of the culprits were ever apprehended.

    [10] ... Renewed FIR violations

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    Eleven formations of Turkish F-16 and F-4 planes yesterday violated Athens FIR regulations and infringed Greek national air space many times between the islands of Limnos, Lesvos, Agios Efstratios and Tilos.

    The Turkish planes had not submitted flight plans as required, while their sorties were not related to the areas designated for exercises.

    They were intercepted in all cases by Greek F-16 and Mirage 2000 fighters, while on six occasions the procedure developed into engagements.

    [11] Germany, France agree common policy on issue of Turkey-EU relations

    Bonn, 04/02/1998 (ANA - P. Stangos)

    Germany and France have decided to follow a common policy on the issue of Turkey's relations with the European Union, following a high-level meeting between diplomats in Petersburg on Monday, attended by Foreign Ministers Klaus Kinkel and Hubert Ventrine.

    According to documents signed by the two ministers titled "Common German-French positions on topical European policy issues", Germany and France underline the two countries' "exceptional interest" in the achievement of a rapprochement between Turkey and the EU. However, they make it clear that the "offer" made at the Luxembourg summit remains the framework of their efforts and which they term a "realistic path towards Turkey's incorporation in the EU ."

    In this way, France adopts the German conception on the promotion in principle of a special status of relations between the EU and Turkey and the invitation is repeated to Ankara to participate in the European Conference set for March 12 and to accept the package of measures known as "rapprochement strategy with Turkey."

    France and Italy had expressed reservations on the correctness of decisions taken in Luxembourg.

    The "common positions" include a joint appeal to Greece "not to obstruct the implementation of the decisions taken in Luxembourg", stressing that "the release of fiscal resources decided in 1995 could provide a considerable new impetus to relations between the EU and Turkey."

    Greece and Turkey are called upon to make "a productive contribution towards resolving the Cyprus issue and the dispute in the Aegean."

    On the question of Cyprus, Mr. Kinkel and Mr. Ventrine criticized the decision to install the Russian-built S-300 anti-aircraft missile system and, in parallel, called on the government of Cyprus to submit a proposal "soon" "which can be accepted by all sides" for the participation of representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community in accession negotiations.

    [12] PM meets former minister Kastanidis

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis had a private meeting with former minister Haris Kastanidis yesterday. According to reports, the meeting was held at Mr. Kastanidis' request and a large part of the ensuing talks concerned educational issues.

    Mr. Kastanidis said all political issues were discussed with the Prime Minister and termed the discussion "useful and constructive". According to the reports, the issue of Mr. Kastanidis' absence from the vote in Parliament on Monday was raised, while Mr. Kastanidis stressed the reasons for his absence and spoke of procedural, not substantive issues.

    [13] President watches restoration work on Parthenon

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday attended the first lowering of an authentic part of the Parthenon's frieze, which has been damaged by rusting iron couplings placed during restoration work in 1932.

    A total of eight parts will be lowered, and will be kept in the Acropolis museum after the middle of the month. The rest are in the British Museum.

    "The work on the Sacred Rock is difficult and time-consuming, as not only the temple is under reconstruction, but the whole of the Acropolis area," said the president.

    The current restoration work is being carried out on the basis of a study by architect Demosthenes Ziros.

    [14] Co-operation with Slovakian universities

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    The Macedonian University of Thessaloniki is set to co-operate with the Slovakian economics universities in teaching staff exchanges and post-graduate studies of Slovakian students at the Greek institution. Macedonia University Rector Michalis Hatziprokopiou and Slovakia's ambassador to Athens Yian Valko yesterday decided on this co-operation as well as on setting up language programs in both the Macedonian University and the Slovakian institutions.

    [15] Pangalos to inaugurate Greek cultural center in Panama

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    A new center to promote Greek culture in one of the world's most important trade channels, the Panama Canal, has been founded by the Greek Culture Foundation.

    The center, The Greek Educational Center, will be inaugurated on February 11 by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos during an official visit to Panama.

    Seventy replicas of ancient Greek antiquities will be on a permanent show at the center, while other forms of exhibitions will be staged periodically.

    The center's building was donated by Panama's government to the Culture Ministry and the Greek Cultural Center.

    It is located on Pacific Ocean end of the canal, near the City of Panama, while the initiative to house the Greek Educational Center belongs to Panama's education minister of Greek descent Pavlos Thalassinos.

    [16] 'Abdi Ipekci' awards to be given in Greece after April 30, 1999

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    The Greek Secretariat of the "Abdi Ipekci" awards proclaimed the 9th competition for the awards promoting Greek-Turkish rapprochement. The Ipekci 1998-1999 awards will be given in Greece after April 30, 1999, while the time limit for participation expires on November 30, 1998.

    The awards, given every two years alternately in the two countries, are distinguished in various categories: journalistic texts, literary works and books, artistic works and pupils' awards. The common denominator is for all works to refer constructively to relations between the two peoples.

    An announcement by the Greek Secretariat stressed that the 9th competition will go ahead despite the fact that "some people are advising in favor of a postponement due to the tense situation prevailing in official Greek-Turkish relations."

    The awards are under the auspices of the UN. Eminent figures from politics and the arts, both Greeks and Turks, have been honored with Ipekci awards.

    [17] Criminal charges to be laid in Dystos accident

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    Criminal proceedings were initiated yesterday against the Hellenic Shipping Registry and the AGET Herakles cement company over the sinking of the Greek-flag dry bulk carrier "Dystos" in which 17 Greek sailors and three relatives were drowned.

    The charges "against all persons responsible" are for manslaughter, causing a shipwreck through negligence, making a false declaration for the purpose of unlawfully deriving benefit and moral complicity in an unlawful act.

    According to a ten-page summary of a report by four experts, the "Dystos" sank due to overloading, bad loading, the presence of (metal) plating on the deck and at the stern, the inadequate watertightness of the hatchways, defective and illegal maintenance and bad weather conditions.

    The "Dystos" sank in rough seas off the island of Evia on December 28, 1996 while sailing from Volos to Piraeus with a cargo of 5,300 tons of cement.

    [18] Two bombs target suburban McDonald's restaurants

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    Two explosions shattered two McDonald's fast food restaurants in Athens residential suburbs early yesterday, causing damage but no casualties, police said.

    The blasts occurred 11 minutes apart in the suburbs of Halandri and Vrilissia, waking up residents, heavily damaging the restaurants and shattering windows of nearby houses.

    Police said that as in previous bomb attacks, there were no warning telephone calls, and so far no one has claimed responsibility for the bombings.

    Police officials later said that the two bombs were makeshift timed explosive devices, made up of a clock, dynamite and a four-volt battery.

    Police said they were concerned that there had been no warning calls for either of the two bombs and that the failure of any group to claim responsibility for the attacks may indicate that another is on the way.

    Claiming responsibility for a series of attacks is the hallmark of the November 17 group, they added. Authorities said the timing device used in both bombs was similar to ones used in past attacks by November 17.

    [19] Gov't says will combat unemployment, create new jobs

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    Labor and Social Security Minister Miltiades Papaioannou announced yesterday that the government would spend 108 billion drachmas in 1998 to combat unemployment and create 68,000 new jobs.

    Of this amount, 81 billion drachmas would come from the European Social Fund (ESF) while national participation would total 27 billion drachmas.

    Mr. Papaioannou said there would be two principal programs to combat unemployment, the first directed at young people without jobs between the ages of 20 and 27 and the second aimed at assisting people aged between 28 and 64 who have been out of work for a long time and whose prospects of finding a job are not good.

    The minister said there would also be smaller, more specific programs, for example in the case of mass dismissals and intervention in problem areas, which are however not included in the 108 billion drachmas.

    Within the framework of the new measures, the Labor Ministry will draw up a National Action Plan to combat unemployment which each European Union member-state must submit to the Community as a prerequisite for the smooth flow of funds from the ESF and, indirectly, as yet another prerequisite for economic convergence.

    [20] Farmers struggle to keep up tempo

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    Disagreements were reported yesterday among members of the Thessaly Farmers' Coordinating Struggle Committee, regarding the course of further mobilizations which began on Monday.

    Although hundreds of tractors remained parked along the Athens to Thessaloniki highway near Larissa, participation at several other points of the national road network was reported to be low.

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas again rejected a demand for a meeting with the prime minister, and referred the farmers to Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas, whom, however, they are refusing to meet.

    Meanwhile, the National Federation of Police Officers, which held a meeting in Larissa yesterday, decided to launch a nationwide mobilization in support of the farmers and their own demands.

    [21] GSEE terms unfortunate the ratification of controversial clause

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    The ratification of the clause contained in the taxation bill concerning labor relations in public utilities, DEKO, constitutes an unfortunate moment for Parliament and the deputies who voted for it, an announcement by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) said and warned that the controversial clause will not tackle any real problem faced by public enterprises.

    GSEE said it desires and pursues modernization programs for DEKO but will not accept the overturning of labor relations.

    For this reason, GSEE was due to resort to the International Labor Bureau to report that the amendment infringes the 98th International Labor Accord which anticipates free collective negotiations and has been ratified by Greece.

    Trade unions will also take their case to Greek law courts to have the relevant clause declared unconstitutional.

    GSEE notifies the government that it will participate in a dialogue conducted in good faith on the elaboration of operational programs to modernize DEKO. However, it will not participate in a dialogue in which the issue of changing collective labor agreements will be raised.

    In another development, public transport unions will give a joint press conference today and will announce their actions for the near future. HLPAP trolley buses will also have a work stoppage tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during which a general assembly will be held.

    [22] Greece unveils regional transport and communications policy

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mantelis yesterday unveiled the country's policy towards international co-operation in the transport and communications sectors.

    Speaking during a meeting with financial and commerce attaches from more than 50 countries in Europe, America and Asia, Mr. Mantelis stressed that Balkan, Mediterranean and Black Sea states were considered by Greece as economic areas with great opportunities for co-operation to serve the interests of the region.

    He urged the creation of joint chambers, export credit programs, set up of a transit center and speedier implementation of trans-European networks on transport and development of air transport on a long-term basis.

    Mr. Mantelis also referred to the importance given by the Greek government to a development of pan-European transport areas (PETRAs) and especially the three covering the Black Sea, the Ionian and Adriatic seas and the northeast Mediterranean.

    The Greek minister underlined the need for development of combined transport in view of the operation of the new Athens airport in Spata.

    The new airport will be linked with the ports of Piraeus, Elefsis, Rafina and Lavrio, he said.

    He said that the government is seeking the development of ports in Thessaloniki, Alexandroupoli and Igoumenitsa and their linking with other Black Sea, Ionian and Adriatic sea and Middle East ports.

    Mr. Mantelis also presented the Greek government's policy on telecommunications focusing in full liberalization of the domestic market by the end of 1998.

    [23] Greek stocks end five-day fall with sharp rebound

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities yesterday rebounded spectacularly after a five-day decline on the Athens Stock Exchange. Traders said sentiment was encouraged by a parliament vote on new tax reform legislation covering public enterprises and a record rally in international markets.

    Also, reports of capital inflows totaling 250 million US dollars in the domestic foreign exchange market at the day's drachma fixing helped sentiment. The Greek currency was stronger against most foreign currencies.

    The general index closed 2.49 percent up at 1,433.17 points reflecting a 3.64 percent surge in the banks index. Most other indices scored gains. Insurance rose 2.02 percent, Investment ended 0.51 percent up, Constructions increased 1.02 percent, Industrials were 0.83 percent higher, Miscellaneous rose 0.87 percent and Holding was 2.18 percent up. Leasing bucked the trend to end 0.52 percent down.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies increased 1.04 percent up, while the FTSE/ASE index soared 3.33 percent to 792.09 points.

    Trading was heavy with turnover at 16.7 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 126 to 87 with another 26 issues unchanged.

    Bank of Athens, Eteva, Ergodata, Chalyps Cement and Viokarpet scored the biggest percentage gains at the day's 8.0 percent upper limit, while Balkan Export, Nafpaktos Mills, Mochlos and Agrinio Metaplastic suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 19,900 drachmas, Ergobank at 14,445, Alpha Credit Bank at 15,280, Delta Dairy at 3,035, Titan Cement at 13,490, Intracom at 14,880 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 5,575.

    [24] Gov't to decide on bank rates next week

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's national economy ministry will take its final decision and announce a draft amendment on bank penalty rates next week.

    The issue was discussed yesterday during a meeting between National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and National Bank of Greece's governor Theodoros Karatzas.

    Ministry officials were continuing talks with bankers in order to find a commonly acceptable solution to the banking industry and lenders.

    [25] Helexpo says 1998 a landmark year

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    1998 will be a landmark year for Helexpo as it seeks expansion to neighboring Balkan countries and in central and east European markets.

    Helexpo's new strategy started last December with the co-organization of an international trade fair in Skopje.

    The Greek trade fair company has planned partnerships and participation in several Balkan and east European trade fairs this year, including Plovdiv in Bulgaria, Vilnius in Lithuania, Kiev in Ukraine, Belgrade in Yugoslavia, Tirana in Albania, Bucarest in Romania and Riga in Latvia.

    Some of these fairs will be a continuance or expansion of Helexpo's recent initiatives, while most of them held for the first time and some will be a co-operation with foreign companies, like a deal with Suricom Consultants Ltd. of Cyprus for the organization of a City '98 trade fair in Nicosia April 29-May 3.

    Helexpo's first participation this year will be in Plovdiv. It will organize Greek participation at a consumer goods fair in early May. Next stop is Kiev. Helexpo will co-organize with a Greek-Ukrainian chamber two exhibitions in June.

    During the same month, Helexpo will organize a Greek-Cypriot trade fair in Vilnius, Lithuania.

    A Greek trade fair will be held in Belgrade September 9-12.

    Bucharest is followed by a Greek trade fair November 11-14.

    Helexpo will close the year with a Greek-Cypriot fair in Riga, Latvia.

    [26] ELBE signs agreement to buy off German clothes firm

    Athens, 04/02/1998 (ANA)

    The administration of the ELBE company recently signed an agreement to buy off the German clothes firm Heinze Berlin which has a prolonged presence in the German market. The agreement includes the production of Heinze Berlin clothes at ELBE's units in Greece and Bulgaria. They will be distributed in Greece, France, Switzerland and Austria. The German company's turnover is estimated at two billion drachmas.

    According to the company's President Mr. Til. Kitsikopoulos, ELBE's activity is based on the triptych: planning in France, production in Bulgaria and distribution in European Union countries.

    Sales in the first half of the 1997-1998 fiscal year amounted to 1.83 billion drachmas as against 1.3 billion drachmas last year and the prediction for the entire fiscal year is 3 billion drachmas.

    End of English language section.


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