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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-10-08

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] Kosovo crisis tops agenda in meeting between Greek,Russian defence ministers
  • [02] Impact of global market crisis on Greece limited, minister tells IMF
  • [03] Business conference on Athens Olympics to be held in UK
  • [04] Parl't passes amendment to slash heating oil tax by half
  • [05] Merger bill passed for Thessaloniki water supply, drainage firms
  • [06] Greek stocks end higher, fuelled by European rebound
  • [07] More than half of Attica businesses want better local services
  • [08] DANE share capital increase scrapped
  • [09] Solana cancels planned visit to Athens
  • [10] PM: Local election results do not reflect gov't work
  • [11] FM sources describe Kosovo situation as 'fluid'
  • [12] High-ranking CoE meeting with EU, Commission representatives
  • [13] Apostolakis meets with British, Bulgarian counterparts
  • [14] Armaments programme the focus of Simitis-Tsohatzopoulos meeting today
  • [15] PM pushes completion of land register
  • [16] Simitis-Kyprianou contacts
  • [17] NATO's 'Dynamic Mix '98' exercise switches to northern Greece
  • [18] CD featuring addresses by Greek statesmen unveiled
  • [19] Joint defence doctrine aims to deter possible Turkish aggression: Cypriot defence minister
  • [20] Kostakis collection arrives in Thessaloniki
  • [21] Coastal shipping price reductions
  • [22] Labour Institute report points to widespread unemployment in ship repair district
  • [23] HEPO pavilion at '99 Paris building materials exhibition
  • [24] Romeos denies he granted 2,500 residency permits illegally

  • [01] Kosovo crisis tops agenda in meeting between Greek,Russian defence ministers

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    Greece is asking that its "uni-queness" as a Balkan country be taken into account with respect to any possible military intervention by NATO aimed at resolving the crisis in the strife-torn Yugoslav province of Kosovo, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos made the statement at a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart, Marshal Igor Sergeyev, when asked whether Greece would participate in any NATO military intervention in Yugoslavia.

    The press conference was held at the close of Greek-Russian talks in Athens.

    Marshal Sergeyev warned that any intervention would not be a punitive operation against one side but rather would escalate into war.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos expressed the hope that all diplomatic and political possibilities to end the crisis would be exhausted and that the use of force eventually averted.

    "There is no military solution," he said, referring to the Kosovo problem. "What is needed is the quick finding of a political solution."

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Costas Simitis had sent a message to all parties involved in the crisis calling for self-restraint in order to dissolve any pretext for a resumption of hostilities in Kosovo.

    Mr. Reppas reiterated Greece's desire that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic attend a summit of southeast European leaders in Turkey later this month, since this would give him a chance to discuss regional issues with the new Albanian prime minister .

    Syria-Turkey : Marshal Sergeyev described as "a serious issue" the recent escalation of tension in relations between Turkey and Syria, and announced that he was planning to visit Damascus to discuss the matter.

    The worsening of relations between the two countries follows concern in Damascus at Ankara's growing military ties with Israel and accusations by Turkey that Syria is supporting Kurdish separatists.

    Marshal Sergeyev said Greece and Russia had agreed to study all aspects of relations between Turkey and Syria through the exchange of information and analyses on a permanent basis.

    Russia's defence minister noted that there was a high risk of the problems getting worse because of the launching of threats and lesser importance being attached to their peaceful settlement.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos also expressed concern at the escalation in tension between Turkey and Syria, particularly in view of the fact that "our region still has the burden of the non-resolution of the dispute between the Israelis and the Palestinians".

    He said international public opinion should consider the reasons for "this sudden change" in Turkey's stance towards Syria and "very soon send the message that Ankara's threat to use force and its incursion into northern Iraq are unacceptable".

    Replying to reporters' questions on Turkish-Israeli military ties and Turkey's general stance in the region, Marshal Sergeyev commented that all forms of cooperation was acceptable provided it was not directed against any third party and attracts additi onal participants.

    Moscow's response to Turkish threats : Asked to comment on Turkey's threats to prevent the delivery of Russian-made S-300 anti-aircraft missiles ordered by Nicosia, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos underlined that neither Greece nor Cyprus needed anyone's permission to implement their cooperation "which gua rantees our joint defence against a foreign threat".

    "As UN members, both Greece and Cyprus are exercising their inalienable right to implement a joint defence policy against a foreign threat," he said.

    Replying to the same question, Marshal Sergeyev assured the Russian side would fulfill all its obligations stemming from the agreement, including the delivery of the S-300 defensive missiles. He also said that there was a programme of defence cooperation between Russia and Cyprus, adding: "we are very careful in all our movements from the viewpoint of international law".

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos observed that the "clear stance" adopted by Russia regarding the inalienable right of the Cyprus Republic to maintain and boost its defence capability "finds a great response and respect in Greece".

    During their talks meanwhile, both ministers agreed to promote policies of collective security to confront crises in the greater area of the Black Sea and the Balkans, describing meetings between defence ministers of the region as very useful.

    Greek-Russian cooperation : Replying to other questions, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos observed that Greek-Russian cooperation in the defence sector was proceeding at a very satisfactory pace.

    He cited the participation of the Russian company "Rosvouzenia" in a number of armaments programmes of the Greek armed forces, an agreement for the procurement of type 059 modernised anti-aircraft systems and an anticipated agreement for the supply of special hovercrafts for use in the Aegean.

    At the same time, he said a number of tenders were under way for the procurement of short- and long-range anti-aircraft missiles and other weapons systems.

    Finally, Marshal Sergeyev said the conclusion from his talks here was that the views of Greece and Russia were very similar, if not identical.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Impact of global market crisis on Greece limited, minister tells IMF

    WASHINGTON 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    Greece has remained relatively unscathed by the fallout from a global financial crisis due to the retention of its export markets and minimal exposure by domestic banks, with losses offset by robust demand at home.

    "The impact on the Greek economy is limited. Greek exports to countries hit by the crisis account for just 0.2 percent of GDP and there is virtually no exposure of our banking system," National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday.

    He was addressing an annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

    "Moreover, any loss in external demand is being compensated by domestic demand which is driven by the high level of investment growth," Mr. Papantoniou said.

    In addition, market players were reacting to the perception of a shift in status for Greece from an emerging to a pre-euro economy in the European Union.

    The perception was based on major progress made towards economic alignment with the EU. The drachma joined the EU's exchange rate mechanism in March and will enter ERM2 for pre-euro countries on January 1, 1999, Mr. Papantoniou said.

    The government's target date for entry into economic and monetary union is January 1, 2001.

    "The performance of the Greek economy in 1994-1998 indicates rapid convergence towards the EU's average economic performance in both nominal and real terms," the minister said.

    Fiscal consolidation that began in 1994 had resulted in a decline of the general government deficit by almost 11 percentage points of GDP by 1998, with the deficit currently estimated at 2.4 percent of GDP this year.

    "The size of fiscal consolidation achieved is almost three times larger than that accomplished by the rest of the EU member countries over the same period," Mr. Papantoniou said.

    The generation of large primary surpluses in the state budget since 1994 enabled the public debt ratio to decline to 106.7 percent of GDP in 1998 from 111.6 percent in 1993.

    "The downward trend in the debt ratio is set to accelerate in coming years."

    In addition, consumer price inflation had fallen to an estimated 4.8 percent in 1998 from 14.4 percent in 1993, a decline of 9.6 percentage points, Mr. Papantoniou said.

    Policy would remain tight in 1999 with the general government deficit likely to fall below 2.1 percent of GDP, as stated in the government's EU convergence programme. Budget savings would be achieved mainly by containing public expenditure, he said.

    Growth rates of 3.5-4.0 percent were forecast for the years ahead, based on fiscal discipline, price stability, a high investment ratio and structural reform.

    High rates of investment growth would have a positive impact on employment and productivity, further reinforced by the introduction of reforms in industrial relations to allow flexible working hours, privatisation, restructuring of loss-making state ent erprises, and the improvement of public sector efficiency, Mr. Papantoniou said.

    "Our government is committed to continuing to pursue policies that favour stability, growth and employment while reinforcing social cohesion," he said.

    Finally, the minister urged that domestic policies in all countries should take into account the volatility and uncertainty of the global economic environment.

    The global crisis that erupted last year and sparked a domino effect had demonstrated the vulnerability of the international economic system.

    Good economic fundamentals and sound policies were not enough to protect an economy from financial contagion, Mr. Papantoniou said.

    Greater transparency was needed, especially for financial institutions.

    In order to improve its credibility and efficiency, the IMF needed to enhance its resources and improve its structure, the minister said.

    Papantoniou talks to CNN : WASHINGTON (ANA-T. Ellis) - Mr. Papantoniou told CNN in an interview on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank meeting that it was worrying the world's three major economic powers - Germany, Japan and the US - no longer appeared to have strong leaders.

    Asked why the three countries were unable to agree on interest rates and to what extent this had hurt the global economy, Mr. Papantoniou said that Germany was in transition, Japan had been weakened, and the US also was facing problems.

    "The lack of strong leadership makes solving these problems more difficult, " he said.

    Asked if the global financial crisis would jeopardise Greece's entry into EMU, the minister said: "Greece is now a European economy and not an emerging market. In two years we will be the 12th member of EMU."

    He also said that US investors had placed funds in Greek debt paper and shares, and had shown great interest in major infrastructure works underway.

    "When Greece becomes a member of EMU, interest by US enterprises in Greece will be even greater," Mr. Papantoniou said.

    The interviewer introduced him as "the national economy minister of the country whose market has this year shown the best returns in the world."

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Business conference on Athens Olympics to be held in UK

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    The British Embassy in Athens, in cooperation with the British Department of Trade and Industry, is holding a conference on November 3 in London on opportunities for business cooperation by Greek and UK companies for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

    Entitled Olympic Opportunities-Athens 2004, the event at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre will focus on construction, banking, consultancy, telecommunications and insurance.

    The conference will be inaugurated by Princess Anne, who will also attend a reception for delegates hosted by Trade Secretary Lord Simon of Highbury, a former chairman of BP.

    The Hellenic-British Chamber has set up a trade mission linked to the conference headed by managing director Kostas Bakouris of Athens 2004 S.A., the organising committee for the Athens Olympics. Mr. Bakouris will be in London on November 2-4.

    Among speakers from Greece at the conference are Mr. Bakouris; Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos; Hellenic-British Chamber vice-president Costas Mitropoulos, who is also chairman of Cantor SA; and chairman George Apostolopoulos of Athens Medical.

    Speakers from the UK include Simon Clegg of the British Olympic Association; Mario Donnetti of Mott MacDonald International Ltd; London Mayor Sir Richard Nichols; and Tony Sainsbury of the British Paralympic Association.

    Athens News Agency

    [04] Parl't passes amendment to slash heating oil tax by half

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    Parliament yesterday unanimously passed an amendment to lower by more than half a special consumer tax on heating oil from October 15 1998 to April 30, 1999.

    The move, which cuts the tax to 20,000 drachmas from 42,000 drachmas per thousand litres, will reduce state revenue by 78 billion drachmas, National Economy Undersecretary Alexandros Baltas told parliament.

    "This will reinforce anti-inflationary tendencies in the economy, also protecting consumers' income," Mr. Baltas said.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] Merger bill passed for Thessaloniki water supply, drainage firms

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    Parliament yesterday adopted by a majority vote a bill to merge Thessaloniki's water supply and drainage companies as part of a partial privatisation.

    National Economy Undersecretary Alexandros Baltas said the new company would remain in state hands and local authorities would be represented on its 11-member board.

    In addition, local authorities could buy into the stock of the firm's subsidiaries, which would undergo a 49 percent privatisation.

    All parties except the Communist Party of Greece backed the merger. There was opposition from small parties to selling a minority stake in subsidiaries.

    Water board employees on Saturday launched rolling strikes to protest the part-privatisation, disrupting supplies in Thessaloniki.

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister Philippos Petsalnikos assured strikers on Tuesday that the state would retain at least 51 percent of shares in the new company's subsidiaries, and industrial rights would be protected. But the water supply workers ended their strike yesterday.

    As a gesture of goodwill, union officials said they had doubled the number of skeleton staff on duty during the stoppage in order to alleviate inconvenience to the public.

    Workers originally called the strike to demand that the subsidiaries should be controlled by central government or by local authorities.

    They also said they wanted to see local authority representatives sit on the new company's board of directors, with existing work contracts remaining in force until the board is appointed and industrial relations are approved.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] Greek stocks end higher, fuelled by European rebound

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities ended moderately higher on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday following a recovery in European markets amid hopes that lower interest rates would help to pull world economies out of the current financial crisis.

    The general index ended 1.34 percent higher at 1,930.56 points, sharply off the day's highs when the market jumped more than 3.5 percent early in the session.

    Trading was thin with turnover at 37.1 billion drachmas and 8,649,000 shares changing hands.

    Dealers said the market remained highly volatile ahead of news on domestic consumer price inflation; and whether the government would go ahead with a fresh 15 percent flotation of Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation this month on the Athens bourse and New York Stock Exchange.

    Sector indices mostly scored gains.

    Banks rose 1.13 percent, Insurance ended 1.30 percent up, Investment soared 2.75 percent, Leasing jumped 2.69 percent, Industrials ended 1.50 percent higher, Construction rose 2.19 percent, Holding ended 1.31 percent up, but Miscellaneous bucked the tre nd to end 0.34 percent off.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.82 percent higher.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 195 to 55 with another 11 issues unchanged.

    Most heavily traded were Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, Strintzis Lines, Teletypos and Hellenic Petroleum.

    Vioter and Gener hit the daily 8.0 percent limit up with Benroubi, Dimitriadis, Etma, Alkar-Aemet, Aeoliki Invest, Development Invest and Allatini scoring the next biggest gains.

    Ideal, Sarandopoulos, Dane Sea Line, Mesohoritis, Macedonian Plastics, Marfin Invest, Technodomi and Elfico suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 33,995 drachmas, Ergobank at 21,370, Alpha Credit Bank at 18,700, Ionian Bank at 9,685, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,355, Delta Dairy at 2,980, Intracom at 9,390, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,370, Titan Cement at 16,210 and Minoan Lines at 5,470 drachmas.

    In the domestic foreign exchange market, the US dollar lost ground against the drachma following a decline in international markets. The US currency fell to 280.40 drachmas at the central bank's daily fixing.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] More than half of Attica businesses want better local services

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    More than half of businesses in the Attica region are dissatisfied with municipal services, a survey commissioned by the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EBEA) showed yesterday.

    The survey, the first ever of its kind, was conducted by Alco on 17-23 September among 600 businesses in the Attica municipalities of Athens, Aghia Paraskevi, Marousi, Kifisia, Halandri, Glyfada, Nea Smyrni, Kallithea and Nea Ionia.

    The survey's findings suggest that mayors elected in this month's local polls should address more carefully the needs of business.

    Releasing the survey's findings, EBEA chairman Yiannis Papathanasiou urged municipal authorities to respond to the complaints.

    He said that the survey would be conducted on an annual basis in order to press for more efficient municipal services.

    The survey showed that municipalities generally offered satisfactory services in administration, public hygiene, lighting and the creation of pedestrian precincts.

    On the other hand, businesses expressed disappointment with services in security, traffic management, parking, greenery and pavement maintenance.

    The municipality of Kifisia emerged as the safest from the survey, and Kallithea as the most problematic.

    Halandri and Glyfada faced the biggest problems in parking, and Nea Smyrni ranked top in total services. Aghia Paraskevi was at the bottom of the table, while the municipality of Athens ranked sixth.

    Sixty nine percent of businesses surveyed said municipal taxes were excessive.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] DANE share capital increase scrapped

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    The debt-ridden DANE shipping lines has failed in its attempt to increase share capital since only 188.5 million drachmas were ultimately collected compared to 4.5 billion drachmas hoped for, according to an announcement by the firm's management yesterday .

    The amount gathered by the passenger shipping firm corresponds to 376,853 shares, each with a face value of 500 drachmas.

    DANE's administration assumed the commitment towards the Athens Stock Exchange to present the company's development plans by Nov. 15, as well as cooperations which it will have reached by then.

    A special adviser is currently completing the processing of a viability and development study, which DANE will submit to the Athens Stock Exchange.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Solana cancels planned visit to Athens

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana has called off his scheduled visit to Greece for tomorrow, the government announced yesterday.

    Mr. Solana was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, among others.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] PM: Local election results do not reflect gov't work

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday that although Sunday's municipal and prefectural elections had political shadings they could not be linked to the government's work, saying it will be assessed only at the end of the year 2000 when the current government completes its tenure.

    "Only then will the Greek people decide whether they desire the continuation of the present course," he told a meeting of PASOK's Parliamentary group.

    He briefly reviewed Greece's domestic and foreign policy issues, with an emphasis on the economy.

    Mr. Simitis said that the international economic environment continued to be unstable, but added there were some positive indications, such as an upward trend in the drachma at this critical period.

    Turning to the Kosovo crisis, he said there was intense concern as to what kind of intervention should be made to solve the problems in the region, the extent of such an intervention, and under what conditions and with what targets.

    On Greek-Turkish relations, Mr. Simitis said that the problems remained, adding that he had no doubt that the concerns of some countries on the issue of Cyprus' EU entry would arise again, just as at the recent EU foreign ministers' General Affairs Council.

    He added, however, that it was a positive aspect that Greece's views were being heard, as shown in the recent trilateral summit (with the Bulgarian and Romanian presidents) at Delphi.

    Athens, Mr. Simitis said, "has the ability to influence decisions, because Greece's views are heeded in the EU."

    Athens News Agency

    [11] FM sources describe Kosovo situation as 'fluid'

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    The fact that NATO foreign ministers are not, as originally planned, meeting today to discuss the Kosovo crisis, while a permanent representatives' meeting has been called on Saturday in Brussels, does not necessarily make the adoption of a decision for military intervention any more distant, Greek foreign ministry sources said yesterday. Sources described the situation as particularly "fluid," as countries previously insisting on the issuing of a UN Security Council resolution before any action is taken , were now "slightly shifting" their position, possibly considering "intermediate" solutions. Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday cancelled his planned attendance at a conference in Rethymno, Crete, and met with US ambassador Nicholas Burns. No statements were made after the meeting, which the sources said, focused on Kosovo and mediation efforts by US presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke, who met with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and ethnic Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova.
    Athens News Agency

    [12] High-ranking CoE meeting with EU, Commission representatives

    STRASBOURG 08/10/1998 (ANA - C. Haralambopoulos)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou participated here yesterday in a meeting with Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary General Daniel Tarschys, the president of the European Union's Council of Ministers, Betti na Ferrero, while the European Commission was represented by Commissioner Hans van den Broek.

    Speaking afterwards, Mr. Papandreou, in his capacity as a representative of the (CoE) presidency, said that participants cooperation between the Council of Europe and the EU to be extremely important, particularly at this period when there are candidaci es from countries interested in their accession to both organisations.

    Mr. Papandreou said that the Council of Europe has an important role to play in the creation and respect of democratic institutions in central and eastern European countries, as well as in the appropriate functioning and implementation of the law and th e protection of human and minority rights. He said that special emphasis was placed in yesterday's quadripartite meeting on programmes assisting the technical processing and support for legislative settlements in central and eastern European countries. for the modernisation of their political systems, as well as for the training of their cadres at a political level. Mr. Papandreou said that the Council's Presidency took the initiative to create a training centre for young politicians in Albania, adding t hat Greece will contribute financially to this effort. The initiative was discussed at yesterday's meeting and met with a positive response from the other participants. The situation in Kosovo was also discussed at the meeting as well as the Greek initiative which, as Mr. Papandreou said, will gain impetus when things will be clarified in the present conjuncture since important decisions by NATO and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic are expected.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Apostolakis meets with British, Bulgarian counterparts

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    Defence Undersecretary Dimitrios Apostolakis yesterday met with his visiting British and Bulgarian counterparts, Douglas Henderson and Symeon Petkovski, respectively.

    During the separate talks, held within the framework of the international weapons exposition "Defendory '98" in Piraeus, the ministers exchanged views on the security situation in the Balkans and especially the Kosovo crisis.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Armaments programme the focus of Simitis-Tsohatzopoulos meeting today

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos will confer today on the course of Greece's four-trillion-drachma armaments procurements programme and other issues, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    He added that there was still no decision on whether the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) would convene tomorrow to take decisions on the armaments programme.

    Mr. Reppas said on Tuesday that the final decision would be taken following consultations between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and the competent ministers.

    Asked by reporters about the KYSEA meeting, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos yesterday said he didn't know why there was an issue about whether or not KYSEA would meet.

    "The KYSEA meeting is scheduled for Friday and tomorrow (Thursday) I will meet with the prime minister," he said.

    The council has already taken a number of final decisions regarding the procurement of weapons systems while others are expected to be taken at the forthcoming KYSEA meeting, including the procurement of long-range anti- aircraft missiles to replace the ageing Nike system and short-range missiles (Shorads) for the army.

    Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said in July that the defence ministry's target was for all agreements provided under the government's five-year armaments programme to have been approved by KYSEA by the end of 1998, with the exception of new tanks.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] PM pushes completion of land register

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis offered assurances yesterday that the task of preparing the National Land Register will be completed, adding that he will display a pressing interest in its creation.

    Mr. Simitis visited the NLR's headquarters in Holargos at noon and was briefed on the course of the project and said that it will be attached to the third Community Support Framework to ensure necessary funds for its completion.

    "We are certain that we will achieve our targets this time. The project will be completed. We will support it, we will achieve it and we want the support of all citizens," he said.

    "This time the fruitless attempts of the past to create a land register will not be repeated and there will be no force which will stop our creative effort," he added.

    Mr. Simitis said that the NLR is the biggest, most useful, the most crucial and the most developmental of the country's major products which constitutes, as he said, a precondition for Greece's modernisation and development.

    He said that the NLR extends to hundreds of municipalities and communities and to 1.1 million hectars with the participation of thousands of scientists and employees with many specialties.

    "We all have a historical, moral and social duty to contribute positively, the government, the parties, social and scientific bodies, to ensure that in the 21st century Greece will have an NLR which constitutes an instrument of development and rational organisation of issues related to the land," he said.

    Presenting the course of the project, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis that the processing of the land register is currently under way in about 450 municipalities and communities whose administrative confines cover a total area of 1.1 million hectars. He said that the programme has a total budget amounting to 43 billion drachmas, while about 20 billion drachmas will have been absorbed by the end of 1998.

    Mr. Laliotis also said that with the development of the NLR programme 9,500 new jobs will be created with a conventional employment period of 24-30 months.

    He further said that the citizens' response, including that of expatriate Greeks, is positive. Some 500,000 citizens have submitted statements with ownership deeds for 850,000 cases of real estate which, as he said, is very encouraging.

    Greece is one of the few European countries without a land register.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Simitis-Kyprianou contacts

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    Cyprus House of Representatives Speaker Spyros Kyprianou expressed complete satisfaction with his talks in Athens yesterday with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and stressed that the Cyprus problem had entered a new, critical phase.

    On the one hand, Mr. Kyprianou said, there is the issue of the political problem and on the other, the commencement of negotiations for Cyprus' entry to the European Union.

    Mr. Kyprianou expressed optimism that any problems which might arise with respect to the latter issue would be overcome and referred to the efforts made by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos at the most recent EU Council meeting.

    According to a unanimous decision taken by EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday, substantive negotiations between the EU and six candidate-countries, including Cyprus, will start on Nov. 10.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] NATO's 'Dynamic Mix '98' exercise switches to northern Greece

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    Military units from Greece, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands will be called on to tackle a hypothetical political crisis in the Balkans and perform peace-keeping duties, as an on-going NATO exercise switches to the Assyros and the Nea Santa region of nort hern Greece over the next few days.

    Greece, along with Turkey and Italy, are hosting "Dynamic Mix '98", the largest NATO exercise conducted in the southern wing this year, which began on Oct. 1.

    The military exercise involves forces from 11 NATO nations and is being conducted in the Mediterranean, aimed at improving the southern region's capability to implement NATO strategy and to deal simultaneously with a crisis and peace support operation.

    Exercises may take place concurrently in more than one location, with many nations participating in different aspects of the same exercise. Taking part in the Thessaloniki-area manoeuvre will be officers slated to staff the NATO headquarters in Larissa in the future, according to sources.

    Officers of Greece's First Army Corps, which is commanding the Greek section of the exercise, told ANA that the planning of the manoeuvre took place a year ago and was not related to recent developments in the region.

    Greece will also be taking part in the section of the exercise to be held in Italy, where it will participate with amphibious and other specialised marines, as well as naval and airborne forces.

    The areas of the exercise include the south and eastern Mediterranean, the Ionian Sea, northern Greece, southeast Turkey and southern Italy.

    The final phase of 'Dynamic Mix' will be held in southeast Turkey.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] CD featuring addresses by Greek statesmen unveiled

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    Greek public radio (ERA) in cooperation with Parliament yesterday released 2,000 copies of a double compact disc featuring addresses of several Greek statesmen and politicians.

    The CD was accompanied by a booklet explaining the different periods and history of each of the eras represented.

    Th CD includes declarations by Eleftherios Venizelos, Constantine Karamanlis in 1955, EOKA leader George Grivas in 1964, Andreas Papandreou, Melina Mercouri, Harilaos Florakis and others.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Joint defence doctrine aims to deter possible Turkish aggression: Cypriot defence minister

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    The joint defence doctrine between Greece and Cyprus aims to create a deterrent force that would dissuade Turkey from engaging in aggressive expansionist actions, Cypriot Defence Minister Yiannakis Omirou stressed yesterday.

    "The upgrading of our armed forces' capability within the framework of the joint defence doctrine sends to Turkey a message that the political, economic and military cost of a new aggressive activity would be such that, we believe, would indeed work as a deterrent to the expression of such aggressive, expansionist designs," he said after a visit to Hellenic Armaments Industry (EBO) installations in Aigio, east of Patra. EBO has been awarded contracts to supply military equipment for Cyprus' National Guard.

    He reiterated, however, that Cyprus' primary aim was to pursue a peaceful resolution to the island's political problem.

    "In order to boost the negotiating capability of the Republic of Cyprus, our aim has been and remains the peaceful resolution of the Cyprus problem, " he said.

    He also described Cyprus' course towards EU membership as "a road of no return".

    "By strengthening the defence of Cyprus and the course towards the EU, we hope to enhance the prospects for the survival of Cypriot Hellenism, and for a solution based on international law and UN resolutions," he added.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] Kostakis collection arrives in Thessaloniki

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    The famed Kostakis collection of 1,100 Russian avant-garde works of art arrived from Germany at Thessaloniki's Lazariston monastery early yesterday morning under tight security measures.

    The collection, purchased by the Greek state and to be exhibited in the city's newly founded Modern Art Museum, includes works by Malevic - founder of the 'Supremacist' school, Tatlin, the founder of 'Constructivism', Popova, Rozanova and Matiushin.

    Art aficionado Georgios Kostakis, a Muscovite of Greek descent, built up his collection between 1930 and 1960 by exchanging works by western artists for paintings dating from the period 1910-1930 by then unknown Russian avant-garde artists. He had donat ed about 150 works to the Tretiakov Art Gallery in Moscow, and had expressed a wish that the rest of the collection be displayed in Greece.

    The collection, insured for $50 million during transportation, was purchased from Kostakis' daughter, Aliki. The culture ministry will organise an official reception ceremony for the works next week.

    Athens News Agency

    [21] Coastal shipping price reductions

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    The government yesterday expressed satisfaction over the acceptance of the institution of ticket rebates by coastal shipping operators.

    The development marks the first time such an initiative has been undertaken, while almost all passenger ferry firms responded to the government call for price reductions in efforts to curb inflation by lowering the transport cost of goods.

    According to the merchant marine ministry, the agreement includes rebates of up to 30 per cent for group tickets, round-trip tickets, passenger vehicle tickets and multiple tickets as well as family packages.

    An agreement for trucks and other specific cases is pending.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Labour Institute report points to widespread unemployment in ship repair district

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    A National Labour Institute report was unveiled yesterday that focused on employment issues in ship repair sector of the greater Piraeus region.

    According to the report, unemployment in the sector has reached an unprecedented 80 per cent, although 7,500 workers are employed in 25 different specialties, while it is estimated that another 25,000 are employed in similar activities.

    During the past five years 47 per cent of the sector-related companies have not made new investments, while the average age of mechanical equipment is 11 years and the average investment activity is a mere 53.2 million drachmas.

    National Labour Institute research data claimed that 75 per cent of firms in the ship repair and construction sector believed that their employees were very experienced and 74.5 per cent stated that their employees' performance was very good, while with in the last five years, 24 per cent of employees in the ship repair zone received training - 45 per cent stated that they wished more training programmes and 55 per cent did not receive any training due to lack of money and time.

    Athens News Agency

    [23] HEPO pavilion at '99 Paris building materials exhibition

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    The Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) will participate with a national pavilion at the international building materials exhibition "BATIMAT '99", scheduled for Paris in November 1999.

    Greek exhibits will include aluminium products, marble and insulating materials.

    Athens News Agency

    [24] Romeos denies he granted 2,500 residency permits illegally

    Athens 08/10/1998 (ANA)

    Public Order Minister George Romeos told Parliament yesterday that he was prepared to present all the details of some 2,500 residence permits he ordered granted to foreigners.

    Mr. Romeos was replying to a question from New Democracy deputy George Sourlas, who claimed in Parliament that Mr. Romeos had broken the law in providing these permits. The minister denied any wrongdoing and said the permits were granted wit hin the law and in line with the practice followed by public order ministers since 1993.

    He added that an inquiry under way would answer Mr. Sourlas' questions.

    Athens News Agency

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