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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-03-06

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

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <>

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1432), March 6, 1998

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address:


  • [01] Greece to facilitate contacts between EU, FYROM
  • [02] Greek stance on FYROM name unchanged
  • [03] Commission reportedly pleased with structural funds' absorption rate
  • [04] Yacoub: Rejection of organ transplants may be solved within 5 years
  • [05] Kranidiotis: Kosovo`s future lies within Yugoslavia, calls for respect of human rights
  • [06] Greece rejects TurKish claim of air incident over Aegean
  • [07] No intervention in Kosovo, Athens says
  • [08] Washington calls on Greece, Turkey to resolve differences with peaceful means
  • [09] Tsohatzopoulos in Georgia
  • [10] Air force to assess two F-15E fighters
  • [11] Simitis at Panteio University
  • [12] Gov't says early elections not considered
  • [13] Mitsotakis statement creates more turmoil in ND
  • [14] AEK ties with Russian club in football, advances in basketball
  • [15] National policy on digital-satellite TV being drafted
  • [16] ND leader visits women's prison
  • [17] Noted Turkish writer Kemal's latest book on the uprooting of ethnic Greeks
  • [18] ESR rules in favour of journalist Someritis
  • [19] Jewish Museum of Greece opens
  • [20] Serapheim continuing treatment
  • [21] Police consider future of 14 'detained' mules
  • [22] V. Papandreou on controversial power plant construction contract
  • [23] 'Economist' roundtable discussion in April
  • [24] Iraqi ambassador calls for end to UN sanctions
  • [25] Economic News

  • [01] Greece to facilitate contacts between EU, FYROM

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    Greece intends to increase contacts with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) with a view to assisting the neighbouring country boost its relations with the European Union, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou announced after talks in Athens yesterday with FYROM Foreign Undersecretary Ognuen Malefski.

    Mr. Papandreou stressed that cooperation between the two countries had already developed considerably in the economic, political and cultural fields, while he described the talks as particularly useful.

    Mr. Malefski is heading a delegation whose visit is in the framework of bilateral cooperation established by the 1995 New York interim agreement, which put the two countries on the road to mending the often tense relations of the past eight years.

    Mr. Papandreou said discussion included developments in the Balkans, particularly the situation in Serbia's province of Kosovo, which is causing fears of tension spreading to the broader region.

    Mr. Malefski said FYROM valued Greece's mediatory efforts towards a resolution of the crisis.

    "We encourage Greece in every way to continue its bilateral and multilateral initiatives for finding a peaceful solution to the problem," he said.

    On his part, Mr. Papandreou said that the only outstanding issue between the two countries, that of the internationally recognised name of the former Yugoslav republic, was not discussed in depth, as this is being dealt with in the framework of UN-spons ored talks.

    He also described the two countries' relations as of strategic importance, noting that cooperation between them was a basic factor of stability in the region and that resolution of the name issue would greatly enhance the potential for further improveme nt.

    The Greek alternate minister said he accepted Mr. Malefski's invitation to visit Skopje in the near future.

    [02] Greek stance on FYROM name unchanged

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    The government said yesterday that its position on the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) remained the same.

    "Greece will not discuss a solution which in any way includes the word 'Macedonia' in the name of the neighbouring country," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said.

    Stressing that Athens wanted the interim agreement signed by the two countries to be adhered to, he called on Skopje to contribute to efforts to find a mutually acceptable solution.

    To date, Mr. Reppas added, Skopje had not done this, being firmly entrenched in their position.

    [03] Commission reportedly pleased with structural funds' absorption rate

    Brussels, 6/3/1998 (ANA- M. Spinthourakis)

    Commission sources said yesterday that EU departments in charge of structural funds were satisfied with the rate of implementation of large projects in Greece.

    This satisfaction concerns both the rate of absorption of funds and the qualitative upgrading of implementation procedures, the sources said, citing as examples the Patra-Athens-Thessaloniki and Egnatia highways, and the natural gas network.

    The competent departments are said to be particularly satisfied with the fact that the procedures for the appointment of a financial consultant, who will secure the envisaged 50 per cent participation of the private sector in the project, will have been c ompleted by March 17.

    Regarding the gas project, the departments said they considered a particularly important the presentation of the project in Houston, on March 23, and in London, on March 20, and were stressing that already at least two large European companies had expre ssed interest in participating in the construction and operation of the distribution networks in Athens, Thessaloniki, Volos and Larisa. Private sector participation is envisaged at 40 per cent.

    [04] Yacoub: Rejection of organ transplants may be solved within 5 years

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    British heart surgeon Magdi Yacoub yesterday said that molecular biology might solve the problems of post-operative transplanted organ rejections within the next five years Dr. Yacoub made the remarks during the 2nd Mediterranean conference on thoracic diseases, held in Greece. He said that due to the inadequate number of human organ donors, researchers are looking into ways to use animal organs for transplants.

    He added that such a move may include dangers such as animal viruses being introduced to humans, although the danger is small.

    Dr. Yacoub urged everyone to understand the importance of organ donations and the coordination services and agencies to properly handle the donated organs.

    [05] Kranidiotis: Kosovo`s future lies within Yugoslavia, calls for respect of human rights

    London, 6/3/1998 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis stated yesterday that the future of the troubled Kosovo province lies within Yugoslavia's borders, while human rights and democratic processes must be respected for its entire population.

    Mr. Kranidiotis made the statements during an address to a conference held at the London School of Economics (LSE) on the issue of "The Contribution of Changing Greece Towards the European Union".

    The three-day conference, organised by the Greek section of the European Institute, focuses on Greece's contribution to the European Union. It also forms part of a "Greece in Britain" series of events. The Greek undersecretary said Greece also support s a relative initiative by the British EU presidency regarding Kosovo.

    In other statements, Mr. Kranidiotis emphasised the important role played by Greece in the Balkans and the Middle East and reminded that Athens has considerably influenced the shaping of the EU's policy in these two regions with relevant political and d iplomatic initiatives it has undertaken over past years.

    Mr. Kranidiotis termed Greece's role in the Balkans and the Middle East as a serious factor of stabilisation, peaceful cooperation and a bastion of democracy.

    He then focused on the position of Turkey in the EU, saying that Greece emphatically supports the merging of Turkey with Europe. Mr. Kranidiotis added that Turkey's European orientation is necessary and possible, while Greece would like to see Turkey pa rticipating in the forthcoming European Conference with one clear precondition, namely, that Turkey accept the criteria and principles set out for candidate countries by the Luxembourg summit.

    Mr. Kranidiotis said that Turkey must realise that the coming years will be historic for its future. Ankara will either become a member of the European family or follow its own path.

    Among the other speakers at the conference are Finance Undersecretary Nikos Christodoulakis, Bank of Greece Governor Lucas Papademos, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, former New Democracy minister Stephanos Manos, and former ND minister Dor a Bakoyianni.

    British speakers include William Blair, a professor at the London School of Economics and brother of Prime Minister Tony Blair.

    [06] Greece rejects TurKish claim of air incident over Aegean

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    National defence ministry sources said a Turkish claim yesterday that two Turkish F-16 warplanes were harassed in international air space over the Aegean by four Greek F-16s was "imaginary".

    A Turkish foreign ministry spokesman said that the four Greek warplanes attempted to prevent the Turkish fighters from completing a mission northwest of Limnos.

    According to the Turkish spokesman, "this provocative move, which endangers the safety of a flight in a Notam region, does not adhere to any international rule."

    [07] No intervention in Kosovo, Athens says

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    The province of Kosovo belongs to Yugoslavia and any intervention motivated by the domestic affairs of another country should not be conceivable, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    The spokesman made the statement when asked by reporters about the possibility of US military intervention in the strife-torn province of Kosovo.

    In a later development, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou met in the evening and discussed several current foreign affairs issues.

    According to press reports, the three discussed Mr. Pangalos' visit to Belgrade and the arrival of re-elected Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides in Athens for discussions with the Greek leadership.

    They also discussed the developments in the European Union in light of the European Conference, set for March 12 in London, and a related meeting of the EU Council of Foreign Ministers in Edinburgh on March 13.


    Meanwhile, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga expressed reservations over the fate of a Greek initiative to defuse tension in the Kosovo province.

    Speaking in Rethimno yesterday, during her four-day tour of Crete, Ms Papariga said the crisis in the specific region is due to the fact of what she called the "American factor" wants countries' leaderships to emerge from the "CIA's tubes". She also vi sited the Institute of Geological and Metallurgical Research (IGME) and expressed her party's absolute opposition to the abolition of IGME.

    Synaspismos deputies meet with FYROM counterpart:

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) deputies Spyros Danellis and Mustafa Mustafa yesterday met with a parliament deputy from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), currently visiting Greece as a member of a high-ranking FYROM dele gation.

    According to a press release, the Greek deputies and Social Democratic Union deputy Nano Ruzin discussed the need to expand political, economic and cultural relations between the two countries.

    They also discussed developments in the Balkans, focusing in the situation in Kosovo.

    [08] Washington calls on Greece, Turkey to resolve differences with peaceful means

    Washington, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    The United States once again called on Greece and Turkey to resolve their whatever differences with peaceful means.

    Replying to a question on whether the issue of the Imia islets will be discussed during the meeting between US President Bill Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, and Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos during his upcoming visit to Washing ton, White House spokesman Mike McCurry said on Wednesday:

    "The question of whether the Imia-Kardak issue will be raised in discussions we are expecting with the Greek Foreign Minister remains to be seen. I think that our views on disputes in the Aegean are well known to both the governments of Turkey and Greec e. We have encouraged both our allies in NATO to resolve in a friendly fashion whatever dispute they have on territorial claims in the Aegean."

    Speaking before a Congressional subcommittee, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stressed that the US will continue to urge Ankara to proceed with improving human rights. She assessed that partial progress has been achieved in 1997, but conceded t hat "Turkey still has a long way to go."

    Ms Albright reiterated that Turkey must become a member of the European Union, adding that the reasons why this is not happening are not limited to the state of human rights.

    She further said that the Cyprus issue constitutes a top priority for the US administration, and to this end even Mr. Clinton has been activated, as well as herself and senior State Department officials working under Richard Holbrooke.

    Ms Albright reiterated that the US supports the efforts of the UN for a solution to the Cyprus issue on the basis of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation through direct negotiations between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot leaders.

    She said she had also preoccupied herself with the issue at the time she had been the US representative at the UN, adding that following a delay due to the recent presidential elections in Cyprus, Washington is activating itself again with the purpose o f bringing the two sides to the negotiating table.

    Mr. Pangalos will visit Washington at the end of March.

    [09] Tsohatzopoulos in Georgia

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos left for Georgia last night to officially hand over the search and rescue vessel "Lindos" to the Georgian navy. The vessel is a gift from Greece within the framework of a bilateral military accord signed last year in Tbilisi.

    The ceremony will take place in the port of Poti today, where the Lindos is to arrive accompanied by the tank landing craft "Samos" with a cargo of humanitarian aid.

    [10] Air force to assess two F-15E fighters

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Air Force will assess two US-made F-15E fighters at the Aghialos air base for the next two weeks.

    The two F-15E fighters, which arrived from England, will be tested by several Greek pilots, who were trained at Boeing's installations in the United States.

    Greece will be the first NATO member to test the "E" version of the plane in view of an expected major arms purchase. The F-15E is currently flown only by the US and Israeli air forces.

    [11] Simitis at Panteio University

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    Scuffles broke out between groups of students and the police yesterday at the Panteio University in Athens shortly before the inauguration of a new library where Prime Minister Costas Simitis was scheduled to speak.

    Mr. Simitis officially inaugurated the new library as groups of students shouted and jeered.

    He underlined the special importance which both he and the government attached to libraries.

    "The library is the nucleus of research and educational activity at a university," Mr. Simitis said, adding that funds totalling 25 billion drachmas had been allocated for the upgrading of libraries in a special programme under the Community Support Fra mework II.

    Panteio Dean Aimilios Metaxopoulos stressed that Mr. Simitis was a member of the university community, having lectured there for a number of years. He noted that the premier had donated 4,000 books to the Panteio from his father's collection.

    Today, the 8,000-square-metre library has 70,000 titles, while a further 40,000 will soon be added. It also offers the very latest services, including Internet access.

    The library employs a full-time staff of 24 and remains open 24 hours a day.

    [12] Gov't says early elections not considered

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday that the government will exhaust its four-year term, replying to questions on a statement by the justice minister on Wednesday, which was interpreted as an intention to go to the polls a year ahead of sc hedule.

    Replying to another question, Mr. Reppas said there was no question of a lack of communication between Justice Minister Evangelos Yiannopoulos and Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos who, however, made separate statements on Wednesday concerning the am endment of the Constitution.

    [13] Mitsotakis statement creates more turmoil in ND

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    A statement by former New Democracy prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis that the electoral body should not vote for people attempting to turn parties into "concentra-tion camps", plunged the main opposition into further turmoil yesterday.

    "Voters should condemn those attempting to turn parties from beehives of political creativity into concentration camps, in which they attempt to trap cadres and voters and use them as instruments which will carry them to power," Mr. Mitsotakis told the newspaper "Imerisia".

    "Respect for internal party democracy is a precondition for the parties to enjoy elementary confidence as hopefuls for managing authority," Mr. Mitsotakis, who is also ND's honorary president, said.

    Coming in the aftermath of the recent expulsions of six deputies from the party, as well as speculation on the prospects for the setting up of a new political formation, and despite certain overtures by the party leader Costas Karamanlis, which the form er premier seemed to reject, the statement caused intense party reaction, particularly at the grass roots level.

    In reaction, former ND deputy leader Ioannis Varvitsiotis said "New Democracy is a free and democratic party." However, deputies close to Mr. Karamanlis said it was wrong to interpret the former premier's statement as a call to vote against his party.

    "He was obviously referring to socialist-communist parties," said Panayiotis Skandalakis.

    Sources said later yesterday said Mr. Mitsotakis did not intend to attend Monday's parliamentary group meeting if discussion of the current situation in the party was not placed on the agenda.

    [14] AEK ties with Russian club in football, advances in basketball

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    The first leg of the European Cupwinners' Cup match between AEK Athens and Lokomotiv Moscow ended in a 0-0 tie yesterday in front of roughly 30,000 fans at AEK's soldout Nea Philadelphia stadium.

    AEK, the only Greek team left in European football tournaments, finished the game with nine players. Romanian defender Anton Dobos was shown a red card for dangerous play in the 75th minute, while defender Vaios Karayiannis was shown his second yellow c ard in the 90th minute.

    The winner of the second game in Moscow in two weeks will advance to the semi-final round.

    In another football-related development, the Olympiakos Piraeus club announced yesterday that defender Nikos Dabizas will transfer to Newcastle, of the English Premier League, probably after this Sunday's game with Kalamata.

    According to reports, the Olympiakos player was sold for 650 million drachmas.

    Meanwhile, in Euroleague basketball action, AEK Athens qualified for the quarter-finals after beating Croatia Split 62-54 away in the second game of a best-of-three series. On the other hand, Olympiakos Piraeus' basketball team last year's European ch ampions lost its second game to Partisan Belgrade 72-60 away, and was eliminated.

    [15] National policy on digital-satellite TV being drafted

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    The government is drafting a national policy on the development of digital-satellite television and multimedia with a uniform national digital platform for electronic media and radio, Transport and Communications Minister Tasos Mantelis and government spo kesman Dimitris Reppas said in a joint press conference yesterday.

    Both ministers made the statements after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    The basic aim of the government's strategy is consumer protection, which will be achieved through a single conventional decodifier system, Mr. Mantelis said.

    The government is inviting participation in the platform of the state-run telecoms organisation (OTE), the Greek Radio Television (ERT) concern, without the consent of which no one can transmit by satellite, and other private organisations, such as mas s media, service and technology companies etc.

    [16] ND leader visits women's prison

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis visited the Korydallos women's prison yesterday.

    During his visit he noted that "the correctional system in our country is obsolete and ineffective, as a result, prisons present a sad picture."

    Mr. Karamanlis announced that ND has a programme for the modernising of the nation's correctional system.

    [17] Noted Turkish writer Kemal's latest book on the uprooting of ethnic Greeks

    Ankara, 6/3/1998 (ANA - A. Ambatzis)

    The first book in the latest trilogy by well-known Turkish writer Yassar Kemal, focusing on the uprooting of the ethnic Greek community in Turkey, is entitled "The story of an island", and has become a bestseller in Turkey recently.

    Three editions of 5,000 copies each have been published since November. The first book of the trilogy will also circulate in Greece with a Greek translation at the end of the year, while a translation into Greek of another book by Mr. Kemal, entitled "C rime at the blacksmith" is expected to circulate in September.

    The trilogy, which starts with "The story of an island", refers to the uprooting of ethnic Greeks and their dramatic course towards Greece, the alteration of the population and the transfer of Kurds to the island, which is another story of uprooting.

    [18] ESR rules in favour of journalist Someritis

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    The National Radio and Television Council (ERS) yesteday ruled in favour of journalist Rihardos Someritis, who had demanded that the private Mega TV channel retract, as the law requires, and restore the honour of his father, Stratis.

    The late Stratis Someritis was alleged to have collaborated with the wartime Nazi occupiers in a programme by television satirist Malvina Haritopoulou.

    "Stratis Someritis' resistance activity during the occupation is an indisputable fact," an ERS majority opinion ruled.

    The decision was reached with 7 votes in favour and 2 against.

    [19] Jewish Museum of Greece opens

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    The Jewish Museum of Greece yesterday opened at its private neoclassical building in the Plaka district.

    The museum is the third largest of its kind in Europe, with exhibits from the every day life of the 28 Jewish communities in Greece before World War II.

    [20] Serapheim continuing treatment

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    The health of Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Serapheim, currently undergoing treatment at the Laiko Hospital in Athens, has improved even further, according to a latest medical bulletin.

    The president of the hospital, Ioannis Papadopoulos, read the bulletin to reporters at noon yesterday, which stressed that "the health of the Archbishop is showing considerable improvement and, slowly but steadily, it is returning to levels before the i nfection. The Archbishop will stay in hospital to complete his therapy because his constitution is weak."

    Mr. Papadopoulos also said that the Archbishop's doctors do not know when he will leave hospital because the risks of complications have not yet disappeared.

    [21] Police consider future of 14 'detained' mules

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    Greek police and judicial officials are pondering the future of the 14 mules "detained" at the Greek-Albanian border two days ago, loaded with 2.17 tons hashish.

    The mules were driven by several suspects who fled across the border when spotted by police.

    As Greek law has not anticipated such a case, the mules were considered vehicles and were confiscated for auction, but there are no holding areas for them, so for the time being the mules are "incarcerated" in a Kastoria football field.

    The next problem is the fact that as agriculture in Greece is now widely mechanised, these animals are rarely used in the fields, so there is no set auction ground or procedure.

    There is, of course, the solution of releasing the mules, while if returned to their owners they might come back to Greece laden with weapons.

    [22] V. Papandreou on controversial power plant construction contract

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou yesterday asked that the controversy surrounding the construction contract of a power plant scheduled to be built near the border town of Florina be referred to Parliament's institutions and transparency committee.

    She added that despite Prime Minister Costas Simitis' very clear reply to critics in Parliament on Wednesday, "some of them are still bent on maintaining the cycle of scandal mongering".

    "The government wants no shadow of a doubt to remain on the issue, despite being aware that the continuing scandal mongering, both by a section of the press and specific politicians is only due to their attempt to serve particular business interests," s he said.

    "They must realise that hypocricy and scandal mongering has its limits. It is most characteristic of their hypocricy that the relevant contract and all documents have been at the disposal of deputies for about a year now, and no one has asked to be brie fed," she added.

    [23] 'Economist' roundtable discussion in April

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    The "Economist" magazine will organise a second roundtable discussion with the Greek government on April 8-9, entitled "Welcoming a New Business Era."

    The conference will focus on issues concerning the Greek economy in light of economic and monetary union, the role of the euro in the global economy and the contribution of the Olympic Games towards the overall development of Greece. Issues regarding NA TO enlargement and its repercussions in Greece will also be examined.

    The Economist's conference will be addressed by European Commission President Jacques Santer, former US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis, other party leaders, ministers, bank governors, memb ers of the diplomatic corps and businessmen.

    [24] Iraqi ambassador calls for end to UN sanctions

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    Iraqi Ambassador to Greece Issam Saud Khalil yesterday expressed the hope that sanctions imposed on his country would be lifted within the year, and stressed that Iraq would respect the obligations set out in the agreement signed in Baghdad last week by U N Secretary General Kofi Annan.

    Addressing a press conference yesterday, the Iraqi ambassador accused the US and Britain of trying to thwart the accord right up until the last minute.

    "Even after the agreement was signed these two powers expressed a lack of trust and threatened to use force if (the agreement) were not implemented, with the aim of creating a suitable climate for the sanctions against Iraq to be extended," he said.

    Mr. Khalil stressed the hardships that sanctions had brought for the Iraqi people, saying that they amounted to a genocide since more than one and a half million people had died as a result during the seven years since the sanctions were imposed.

    The ambassador also accused British Prime Minister Tony Blair of making "uncivilised" statements against Iraq and its leader Saddam Hussein. Mr. Khalil maintained that Iraq possessed no prohibited weapons of any kind, something which he said had been pr oved by the UN weapons inspections carried out since 1991.

    Iraq, he said, had never threatened neighbouring states, and added that such claims had been invented by the US in order to create tension in the region.

    Dialogue and negotiations, irrespective of how long these might last, were the only way to resolve differences between nations.

    [25] Economic News

    Athens, 6/3/1998 (ANA)

    Greek stocks edge down on profit-taking:

    Greek equities came under mild pressure yesterday from profit-taking to end lower, ending a two-day rally on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Traders said news of a small rise in interbank rates and outflows totalling 60 million US dollars at the drachma's fixing dampened sentiment and drove investors to an early liquidation of recent gains.

    The general index closed 0.23 percent down at 1,463.16 points.

    Sector indices were mixed. Banks fell 0.75 percent, Insurance was 0.73 percent down, Leasing rose 0.19 percent, Investment increased 0.23 percent, Construction ended 0.37 percent up, Industrials fell 0.57 percent, Miscellaneous was 0.10 percent higher a nd Holding fell 0.79 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies eased 0.51 percent. The FTSE/ASE blue chip index ended at 817.10 points, down 0.29 percent.

    Trading was heavy with turnover at 20.4 billion drachmas. Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation rose 145 drachmas to end at 6,085 in heavy volume of 1,074,120 shares.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 133 to 83 with another 21 issues unchanged.

    European Credit, Tria Alpha and Ridenco scored the biggest percentage gains at the daily 8.0 percent upper volatility limit, while Viosol, Agrinio Metalplastic, Desmos and Ekter suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 20,990 drachmas, Ergobank at 15,005, Alpha Credit Bank at 15,980, Delta Dairy at 2,930, Titan Cement at 14,140 and Intracom at 15,000.

    Greek casinos show turnover of Dr 343 bln in 1997:

    Turnover in Greece's private casinos was 343 billion drachmas in 1997 and in state-owned casinos 50 billion drachmas, a development ministry official said yesterday.

    The official said that an average of 2,500 people visited the country's six private casinos daily, and 850 visited the state's three casinos in Mount Parnes, Corfu and Rhodes.

    General Bank of Greece to restructure:

    General Bank of Greece yesterday announced a restructuring plan aimed at strengthening and expanding its activities in the Greek banking sector.

    George Daskalakis, the bank's chairman, said during a press conference that the plan's priority was to lower the main shareholder's stake, the Greek army fund, which currently holds 68.5 percent of the bank's share capital.

    The fund will offer a 33 percent stake to institutional investors through a private placement. A 23 percent stake will be offered through book building and another 10 percent to Interamerican, a Greek insurance group, following the signing of a strategi c alliance between the two firms.

    National Bank of Greece will act as book-runner of the offer.

    The restructuring plans also foresees in a second phase an increase in the bank's share capital by 23 billion drachmas. The new capital will be used to expand its credit portfolio and fund a three-year restructuring programme.

    National Bank of Greece will act as underwriter of the issue.

    Mr. Daskalakis said that General Bank would not offer a stake to any other Greek bank and that more than 51 percent of its capital would eventually end up in private hands.

    The bank plans to open 30 new branches to reach a total of 121 and start operation of 150 automated cash machines by the end of the year.

    Greek business urges gov't to keep hard drachma policy:

    The European Federation of Business and Businessmen yesterday urged the Greek government to maintain its hard-drachma policy and peg the currency's parity to the future single European currency in order to prevent the collapse of thousands of Greek enterp rises burdened by foreign exchange loans.

    The federation, including 250 Greek and international companies, warned that a decision to devalue the drachma would damage the economy.

    It also urged the Greek government to tie the drachma's parity to the euro along with the other European currencies through a unilateral declaration by the government, despite its inability to fulfill the Maastricht criteria.

    The federation urged the government to take measures to facilitate domestic enterprises in gradually converting their debts to the single European currency, and abolish a 1.2 percent tax imposed on foreign exchange loans.

    Greek public services urged to cut energy consumption:

    Greece's Centre for Renewable Energy Sources (KAPE) has launched a campaign to encourage state services to cut energy consumption and switch to alternative power sources.

    The centre, which belongs to the development ministry, has already made energy reduction proposals to bodies including the defence ministry, the public sector's highest consumer, and Civil Aviation Authority, KAPE president Martha Simandoni told a news conference.

    Public services could cut energy consumption by around 15 percent, and therefore reduce operational expenses. Central government services spent 15 billion drachmas on energy in 1997, so a 15 percent saving would mean a cut in spending of 2.2 billion drachmas, Ms Simandoni said.

    In another move, KAPE has undertaken a one-year project to design an energy network for the Palestinian Energy Authority under the European Union's Synergy programme.

    OA to lease aircraft:

    Olympic Airways' (OA) board of directors yesterday decided to lease 10 passenger aircraft in order to cover the needs of the airline's summer schedule.

    OA will lease four Airbus and six Boeing 737 planes for between two and 22 months, depending on the company's needs, while contracts will be separate for each aircraft.

    In a related development, the Labour Review Board of Glyfada called OA's new labour programme for flight attendants illegal and against the contractual obligations of the company.

    According to press reports, OA's administration considers that the review board has no right to judge the labour programme, only to sign it.

    Development programme proposals:

    An inter-ministerial group for the 2000 to 2006 development programme, headed by National Economy Undersecretary Christos Pachtas, yesterday sent a circular to all related government agencies asking for their proposals.

    The group will present the detailed development programme to the European Commission in the first quarter of 1999.

    IOBE study on unemployment:

    The Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) yesterday released a study on the reasons for increased unemployment during the 1980-1995 period.

    IOBE cites intransigence by the trade unions on economic issues, slow adjustment of the job market to external pressures and the high cost of labour.

    The study proposed a decrease of labour-related costs and confronting the problem of undocumented foreign workers.

    Seamen protest unemployment in sector:

    About 500 seamen held a demonstration in Piraeus yesterday to protest widespread unemployment among merchant navy engineers.

    Trade union leaders who addressed the protest rally charged that the government, instead of solving the problems was making them worse, resulting in an increase in unemployment.

    After the rally, the protesters marched through Piraeus to the Merchant Marine Ministry building, where a committee asked to meet with Minister Stavros Soumakis who was however elsewhere.

    The protesters said they would wait outside the building until Mr. Soumakis returns.

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