|Sunday, 17 November 2019|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-03-11
From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <firstname.lastname@example.org>
ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1436), March 11, 1998
 Greece calls on Ankara to take 'historic' decisions for solution to Cyprus problem
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)Greece yesterday expressed hope that Turkey would take the "his-toric" decisions necessary for peace and stability in the region by making a positive contribution to efforts for a solution of the Cyprus problem.
"Turkey has an important role to play and responsibility for the successful outcome of efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem, the settlement of which will bring Turkey even closer to Europe and surely open up new horizons for Greek-Turkish relations," Mr. Simitis said after 90 minutes of talks here with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides.
Talks between the Greek and Cypriot delegations, headed by Mr. Simitis and Mr. Clerides, focused on developments in the Cyprus problem and negotiations for Cyprus' accession to the EU due to begin on March 31.
Also taking part in the talks were Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis and Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides.
Mr. Simitis reiterated that Nicosia and Athens steadily supported the proposal of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and were ready to provide all assistance to his special advisor on Cyprus, Diego Cordovez for the resumption of intercommunal talks aimed at finding a just and viable solution to the problem in accordance wi th UN decisions.
The premier added that the governments of Greece and Cyprus welcomed international interest in a settlement of the problem and asked the United States and the European Union to support Mr. Annan's efforts.
He also welcomed Nicosia's decision to include Turkish Cypriots in the negotiating team for talks with the EU.
Asked about the formula for the participation of Turkish Cypriots in the accession negotiations, President Clerides said the Cyprus government would formulate a "gene-rous" proposal, ensuring that "there will be no repercussions on the issue of the legi timacy of the Cyprus government and the recognition of the Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state". Replying to the same question, Mr. Simitis said that the form and objectives of the Turkish Cypriot participation "must mortgage neither the European nor the poli tical future of Cyprus".
Both Mr. Simitis and Mr. Clerides clarified that yesterday's talks had not touched on defence issues, such as Nicosia's plans to install defensive Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles on Cyprus.
The premier said such issues would be discussed during Cyprus Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou's visit to Greece in the next few days.
Replying to reporters' questions about Greece's veto of European Union funding to Turkey, Mr. Simitis said Athens had repeatedly stated its lifting of the veto was dependent on "certain moves" being made by Ankara.
Greece is willing to contribute to Turkey's European orientation, the premier said, but positive steps by Ankara are required.
President Clerides held talks earlier with President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.
Meeting with Karamanlis : Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis also met with Mr. Clerides.
Mr. Karamanlis said their talks focused on developments on the two major issues. On the one hand, the problem of Cyprus and the prospect of European Union accession on the other. He said they agreed on the basic moves which the Greek side must make and with support by all.
Clerides-Miller meeting in Athens : The US State Department special coordinator on Cyprus, Thomas Miller, who arrived in Athens from Nicosia, had an hour-long meeting with President Clerides.
In brief statements to the press, the US official appeared rather pessimistic, saying there was a considerable gap between the positions of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides. In Nicosia, he held talks Monday and yesterday with Mr. Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
Mr. Miller reiterated that the US would do what it could to bridge these differences and noted that he did not promise success but honest effort.
"The goal remains a solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation," he said.
Mr. Miller added that after completing a tour of several European capitals that takes him to Ankara this morning, he will return to the US to brief US presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke who, he said, "has no specific plans and does not make visits whe n he is not sure of the success of his efforts."
 Five Balkan nations call for real dialogue on Kosovo, no change of borders
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)A joint declaration by the foreign ministers of five Balkan nations - Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) - expressed serious concern over the deterioration of the political situation in Kosovo as well as the possible instigation of a confrontation that may spread to the wider region.
The five ministers' joint declaration,publicly unveiled yesterday in Sofia, expressed a will by their respective countries to play an active role in efforts to find a peaceful solution to the current Kosovo crisis through a diplomatic settlement.
They also called on Balkan and other nations to participate in the initiative, while hailing peace efforts by the United States, the European Union and the Contact Group for Kosovo.
"The foreign ministers underline that the first step for a de-escalation of the crisis in Kosovo should be the opening of real dialogue between Serbian authorities and Kosovo's ethnic Albanians, calling on both sides to take measures towards this direct ion," the declaration stated.
The document further expressed deep regret at the extensive use of violence and the repressive measures taken by Serbian police against peaceful demonstrations in Kosovo, resulting in a loss of many lives.
Yugoslav authorities were called upon to show respect for the human rights of the ethnic Albanian population, with the five Balkan ministers calling on Belgrade to implement a 1996 educational agreement and seek a solution of the problem along the lines of granting broad autonomy to Kosovo.
At the same time, the declaration underlines that a solution should fully respect existing borders.
The text mentioned that the Albanians of Kosovo should also explicitly prove that they reject the use of violence and terrorism, abandoning any separatist activities and show respect in practice for Yugoslavia's territorial integrity.
During a press conference in Sofia yesterday, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadezhda Michailova said the effort now ceased to be a solely Bulgarian one and was becoming a joint effort by all five signing nations.
The press conference was attended by Greek ambassador in Sofia Panayiotis Karakasis and the ambassadors of the remaining four countries.
Earlier in Athens, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas underlined, however, that the crisis in Kosovo was an issue involving the government of Yugoslavia and the Albanian-speaking population of the province.
In reference to a question on human rights in Turkey, Mr. Reppas said that the issue has been placed before the European Union, and which of course, relates to the rights of Kurds in Turkey.
KKE : In a related development, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said in an announcement that KKE discerns "a new plan by imperialist forces to further dismember the former Yugoslavia" behind developments in Kosovo.
KKE called on the people and the other Greek political parties to oppose a possible intervention by the west in Yugoslavia and to insist on the doctrine of no change of borders in the Balkans.
KKE claims the plan is aimed at detaching Kosovo from Serbia, as well as Montenegro, Vojvodina and Sandjak, in the framework of the distribution of the region into zones of influence, primarily between the United States and Germany.
"The imperialist world order is not a one-way street. Minorities can tackle their individual problems, struggling against the policy of the imperialists in the region and as bridges of friendship between Balkan peoples," the KKE announcement said.
Burns calls for peaceful solution in Kosovo : US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns yesterday advocated a peaceful solution to the Kosovo crisis and said he opposed the use of violence.
He told a press conference in Hania that Greece and the US were in constant contact and seeking solutions to defuse the crisis.
He also said that the US did not support any change of borders in the region and that Washington was not supporting Kosovo's independence.
Mr. Burns said that Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic should "discuss peacefully" before resorting to the use of violence to solve the problems in the region.
Everything would depend on Mr. Milosevic's stance, he said.
"It (the Kosovo) is a serious crisis that should be treated seriously," the US envoy said.
Mr. Burns side-stepped a question on the US policy regarding the treatment of Kurds in Turkey, replying that the US "is an ally of both Greece and Turkey" and used "the same set of standards and balances on the two problems".
The US, he continued, would continue to be friends with both Greece and Turkey, "and we do not see the one country as being above the other".
Mr. Burns was on the second day of a two-day visit to Crete, where he visited the US air base at Souda and toured NATO installations at Marathi.
Turning to the operational capabilities of the US base, Mr. Burns said the role it played was limited, while he denied recent reports about the possible implication of Greece in the Gulf crisis with the provision of facilities and services through the Souda base.
"Such assistance has never been requested," Mr. Burns said.
 Albanian president continues talks with Greek leadership
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)Visiting Albanian President Rexhep Mejdani and Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis had a meeting in Parliament yesterday, after which the Albanian president called for more frequent contacts on a parliamentary level in order to promote democratic in stitutions, respect for citizens' rights to education, freedom of religious expression and the right to own property.
He promised that in future Tirana and political parties would work together to respect the will of the people.
Mr. Kaklamanis said Mr. Mejdani's visit was an important factor in building friendship and cooperation between the two countries. He added that respect for human rights, the securing of borders and dialogue between peoples, governments and other organis ations were the only way to resolve the region's problems.
Mr. Mejdani is currently in Greece on a three-day official visit.
 Meeting with SEB
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)The Albanian leader also addressed Greek industrialists and businessmen in a latter meeting, encouraging them to invest in Albania.
Mr. Mejdani said Albania has created an institute for the protection of foreign investment and that the country's legal system is being brought in line with the European Union.
He said the Albanian economy is in need of foreign capital since it is at a phase of "intensive recovery" and is privatising state-owned industries.
 Honour from the municipality of Athens
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)Finally, Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos awarded Mr. Mejdani the city's highest honour.
Thanking his host, the Albanian president said he felt a great honour to accept the distinction from the Greek capital, which symbolised "human emancipation and the democratic development of society", as he said.
 Mitsotakis renews criticism on ND's course
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)Former New Democracy prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis yesterday renewed his stand-off with ND leader Costas Karamanlis, in the aftermath of Monday's heated debate in the ND Parliamentary group session. "Let those who without reason or logic push the party to the brink of disaster and give away the next election assume their responsibilities. I will grant them neither an alibi nor extenuating circumstances," he said.
 Culture programmes in schools
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)The special importance on the cultural dimension of education was the subjest of a joint press conference yesterday given by Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis and Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos.
The two ministers said the latest cooperation of their ministries concerned both the existing and under development national educational programmes by the culture ministry, which placed emphasis on out-of-school cultural activities.
The programmes, prepared by the culture ministry, are taking a bro-ader dimension as schools are being connected with the Internet to have access to more artistic creation procedures and cultural information.
 Constantopoulos slightly injured in car accident
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos was slightly injured yesterday when his car went out of control and hit the protective railings on the 145th kilometre of the Athens-Patra highway.
The accident was recorded at 4:10 p.m., and attributed to the slick road surface. Mr. Constantopoulos was taken to a nearby medical centre and was later transferred to Egion hospital for preventative reasons. No one else in the vehicle was injured.
 PASOK executive bureau meeting
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)A meeting of the ruling PASOK party's executive bureau was held last night to examine issues relating to the party's actions for the upcoming municipal and prefectural elections. The meeting also focused on party procedures to nominate candidates.
 Papoutsis outlines targets of US visit
NEW YORK 11/03/1998 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)Speaking at a press conference here yesterday,EU Commissioner Christos Papoutsis referred to the targets and purposes of his official visit to New York, New Jersey, Washington and San Francisco.
Mr. Papoutsis said the contacts he has already had and will have in the next few days with senior US officials primarily concern the energy sector. Among others, he will meet US Energy Secretary Federico Pena.
"In the enterprises sector...we are trying to forge bonds of cooperation between the European Union and the US, but at the same time to obtain certain concepts, certain initiatives which have already been developed in the United States," he said.
Mr. Papoutsis added that policy favouring small and average-sized enterprises is a policy ranking high on the EU's agenda because it is combined with the top priority issue of employment.
He said that pressures being exerted on Greece in the framework of the "contradiction" between the tough monetary and fiscal policy and the demands of working people are less intense than those appearing in other EU member-states.
Referring to relations between Turkey and the EU, Mr. Papoutsis focused on "the sectors of human rights, its position towards minorities and its neighbours, as well as to democratic organisation in which Turkey is lagging behind."
He expressed the hope that Turkey will decide soon to change course to enable it to live up to the principles and values of European society.
Mr. Papoutsis mentioned the important role, the initiatives and the exhortations of the US to the Turkish government, adding that the situation is not facilitated by the distance often appearing between the positions of the US and the EU. He added that close political cooperation is necessary between the US and the EU in this sector.
"Turkey finds an open window to continue its position which is negative and harmful for its very often interests when there is no coordination and a common stragegy between the EU and the US," he said.
Mr. Papoutsis also referred, among others, to cooperation between the EU and the US in the sectors of informatics and
telecommunications and Europe's participation in major US exhibitions and meetings.
 Egyptian cadets to visit Greece
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)Cadets from Egypt's joint armed forces administration school and military staff academy will visit Greece from March 16-23.
During their stay, the Egyptian cadets will visit the Naval War Academy, the Sea Cadets Academy, the Air Force War Academy and the Air Force Academy, as well as the 114 fighter wing, the Hellenic Aerospace Industry (EAB) and fleet headquarters.
Moreover, they will also visit archaeological sites at Sounio, the Acropolis and museums.
 Gov't announces tax breaks for lower income groups
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou last night announced in Parliament more favourable tax breaks for the lower income groups, as well as cheaper heating oil for the last period of the year.
However, Mr. Papantoniou set as a precondition for the above measures that revenue from taxes will have a similar increase - 30 per cent - recorded in the first two months of the current year.
The minister was speaking in Parliament last night during the second day of discussion of the government’s development law.
Mr. Papantoniou stressed that even though an 11 per cent increase was forecast at an annual rate in January and February, the increase recorded reached 19 per cent over the expected figure of 1.26 trillion drachmas, to 1.35 trillion drachmas, earning the state 90 billion drachmas more.
The minister said this meant that the state deficit would be lower by 90 billion drachmas.
 Exploitation on bears the subject of Thessaloniki conference
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)The Florina-based Arktouros programme and the Bulgarian Wilderness Fund will organise a three-day conference on the exploitation of bears for profit, scheduled to begin on Thursday in Thessaloniki.
Representatives of environmental organisations from Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Yugoslavia will focus on the issue.
 Crime wave by Albanian,Romanian gangs the subject of ministry talks
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)A rise in armed robberies committed by Albanian and Romanian nationals was the subjec t of three days of talks by senior public order ministry officials, according to reports yesterday.
Ministry sources said that while in 1987 there were only 292 robberies in all of Greece, last year there were 1,215 robberies in Attica alone. Around 70 per cent of these crimes were reportedly committed by foreigners, mainly Albanians and Romanians.
It was decided to step up police patrols of the suburbs of Zographou, Agia Paraskevi, Neo Iraklio, Halandri and Hymettos, where many of the robberies of the past six months were committed.
Another source of concern are the increasing attacks by Albanian criminals on taxi drivers.
Over the last two days, around 1,000 Albanian nationals have been taken in for questioning at several police stations in Attica in connection with a string of robberies, although all were subsequently released.
The problem has been exacerbated over the past five months, police say, by the fact that sweeps of suspected illegal aliens have not taken place, in order to give undocumented foreign workers time to acquire new residency and work permits.
Most police stations are understaffed, officials added, as 2,500 officers are guarding suspected terrorist targets.
 Russian crime syndicate suspect arrested
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)Police have arrested a suspected Russian organised crime member, wanted in his country for a series of murders.
Thirty-two-year-old Vladimir Seliverstov initially gave a false identity to authorities, producing a fake driving licence under the name of "Boris Kardesian". He was also found in possession of Greek citizenship papers, while under questioning, he claim ed that he was also about to acquire a Greek identity card for US$20,000.
Authorities said the suspect belongs to the "Kurganskaya" criminal syndicate.
 Measures announced for gypsies
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)Health and Welfare Undersecretary Theodoros Kotsonis yesterday met with interior ministry and public works ministry officials to discuss measures to upgrade the quality of life of gypsies.
Mr. Kotsonis said that measures include solutions for their housing problem, educational opportunities and employment.
According to the undersecretary, a study is underway to provide ways for the housing all homeless gypsies throughout Greece.
Housing parks will be created in Evosmos and Menemeni districts near Thessaloniki, as well as in Thebes, Sofades, Messolongi, Messinia, Karditsa, Rhodes and Volos.
A transfer student card programme, which is already in place with more than 1,900 cards issued, will be expanded to facilitate educational opportunities for gypsy children, when they move from one region to another.
 Cuban Culture festival in Athens
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)A Cuban Culture festival will take place at Athens' Hilton Hotel from March 17-22 featuring the sounds and tastes from the Caribbean's largest island.
This gastronomic and cultural extravaganza is organised by the hotel and the Cuban embassy in Athens.
Cuban Ambassador Anna Maria Conzalez said on Monday that the event was aimed at disseminating Cuban culture and familiarising people with the customs and products associated with Cuba, such as sugar, coffee, Havana rum and the best handmade cigars in the world.
Apart from Cuban cuisine, visitors will have the chance to also enjoy several performances of traditional Cuban music and dances.
 V.Papandreou responds to criticism on Florina DEH project
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said yesterday that no talk of scandals or pressure by business interests will preve nt the government from going ahead with construction of a Public Power Corp. (DEH) lignite power plant unit near Florina.
She was speaking to members of Parliament's Production and Trade Committee.
Ms Papandreou, who had been summoned before the committee to provide clarifications together with another eight DEH cadres on the proposed project, raised questions on the expediency of further discussion, while she also denounced a press group which st arted, as she claimed, talk about "scandals".
She said the government will not remain inert due to certain business interests which are trying to prevent contruction of the project.
Ms Papandreou said the government is prepared to discuss the issue at whatever Parliamentary body, but will not bow to any pressure, expediency and any business concern which was not awarded the project.
Referring to the issue's background, she said that the agreement, concluded by a New Democracy government in 1992, the project would cost 207 billion drachmas, without the other works, while with the government's contract the project will amount to 179 billion drachmas.
 Greece signs Dr 5.0 bln loan for Albania
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)Greece yesterday signed an agreement for a 5.0 billion drachma loan to Tirana to be used to help finance companies from the two countries active in Albania.
A national economy ministry statement said priority in allocating the funds would be given to Greek, Albanian and joint ventures in the neighbouring country that suffered losses in the violence in spring last year. The loan is part of overall Greek financial assistance to Albania totalling 20 billion drachmas.
Two billion drachmas have already been granted as free aid, and an agreement has been signed for a further 3 billion drachmas to support the Albanian economy.
 Greek stocks end flat after profit-taking blocks rally
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)Greek equities ended mixed to lower as early profit-taking partly halted a rally of prices on the Athens Stock Exchange.
The general index ended 0.10 percent down at 1,517.54 points despite a 5.11 percent jump in the construction sector.
Other sector indices were mixed. Banks fell 0.88 percent, Insurance eased 0.52 percent, Leasing dropped 0.05 percent, Investment fell 0.30 percent, Industrials were 0.03 percent off, Miscellaneous rose 0.22 percent and Holding increased 0.95 percent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies jumped 2.87 percent reflecting an appetite by investors for second-tier issues with greater growth potential.
Trading was moderate with turnover at 17.1 billion drachmas.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 121 to 87 with another 32 issues unchanged.
Alte, Sfakianakis, Technodomi, Viokarpet and Gnomon scored the biggest percentage gains at the day's 8.0 percent upper volatility limit, while Nematemboriki, Etma, Sato (preferred), Persinidis and Bank of Athens (preferred) suffered the heaviest losses.
National Bank of Greece ended at 22,610 drachmas, Ergobank at 15,730, Alpha Credit Bank at 16,900, Delta Dairy at 2,950, Titan Cement at 14,750, Intracom at 15,600 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6,420.
 New Greek shipping company set up
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)A new Greek cruise shipping company was formed yesterday after a merger between Olympic Short Cruises, a Royal Olympic Cruises company owned by the Potamianos and Kioseoglou families, with Hydraiki Shipping Company, owned by shipowner Dimitris Drakopoulos .
The new company Olympic Hydraiki will operate four small-sized vessels - M/V Hermes, John P., M/V Giorgis and T/S Olympia of 800, 880, 720 and 1,800 gross tonnage respectively.
The three first ships will operate daily cruises in the Saronic Gulf and the fourth will operate as a cruise conference centre.
 Taiwan to send trade mission to Greece
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)Taiwan's Council for External Trade and Development (CETPA) is sending a trade mission to Greece on March 18 to boost economic ties between the two countries.
The delegation sent by CETPA, a non-profit organisation, represents 31 Taiwanese companies from a wide range of sectors. The group will stay until March 22.
An exhibition of their products will be held on March 10 at the Athens Hilton.
The Taiwanese finance ministry has predicted a 6.46 percent economic growth rate for 1998, at nearly the same level as last year's 6.72 percent rise.
Trade between Greece and Taiwan fell by 4.2 percent in 1997 to 187 million dollars from 195.1 million in 1996, according to CETPA statistics.
Greek imports from Taiwan dropped by 39.3 percent to 17 million dollars last year from 28 million in 1996, while Greek exports to Taiwan rose by 1.7 percent to 170 million dollars from 167.1 million in 1996.
 Greece offers development incentives to commerce
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)Greece for the first time has included commerce in legislation that offers incentives for development.
Representatives of the sector, however, say the incentives do not go far enough. Among projects so far eligible for financing are the acquisition and installation of software and warehouse construction.
The National Federation of Greece Commerce has sent a letter to National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou asking for more projects to be included in the development bill, which is currently being debated in parliament.
Among the projects the federation wants included are the construction, extension and modernisation of commercial premises, studies on the introduction of new products, expansion of a firm's network and protection of the environment.
 Macedonia-Thrace Bank joins EU finance intermediaries' network
Athens 11/03/1998 (ANA)Macedonia-Thrace Bank has signed a framework agreement with the European Commission to join the finance intermediaries' network for the Joint European Ventures Initiative (JEV).
JEV is set up to support cross-border investments in small to medium-sized enterprises within the European Union, with up to 50,000 Ecu.
A total of 80 to 100 million Ecu will be allocated between 1998 and 2000, of which 20 million Ecu will become available for 1998.
The bank is already managing the Phare-Jop Tacis programme supporting small to medium joint ventures in eastern European countries.