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

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] Gov't opts for 'Patriot' long-range missiles, French and Russian short- range systems
  • [02] Local gov't elections scheduled tomorrow
  • [03] Gov't: Athens won't veto NATO strike in Kosovo, no Greek units will participate
  • [04] -- G. Papandreou
  • [05] -- Opposition
  • [06] EU's chief negotiator pleased with Cyprus' preparations
  • [07] Klima in Athens
  • [08] ND slams failure to land Greece a seat on Security Council
  • [09] Commission takes Greece to task for failure to protect Caretta-caretta turtles
  • [10] Netherlands Festival in Athens
  • [11] Greek mountain climber officially declared dead
  • [12] US embassy on Monday closed due to Columbus Day
  • [13] Budget revenue up 23.32 pct in September, exceeding target
  • [14] Greek stocks slump, again hit by rise in consumer price inflation
  • [15] Finance ministry to auction 3M T-bills on Tuesday
  • [16] Alexandroupoli to host international business conference
  • [17] Listed engineering contractor to build Albanian road
  • [18] Commercial Bank of Greece launches telephone service
  • [19] Wide spread in fuel prices seen in Thessaloniki
  • [20] HEPO participation at US foodstuffs exhibition
  • [21] Greece the EU's largest consumer of pharmaceuticals
  • [22] Advertising in the Daily Bulletin

  • [01] Gov't opts for 'Patriot' long-range missiles, French and Russian short- range systems

    The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) yesterday decided to purchase the US-made "Patriot" long-range missiles as well as Russian and French medium- and short-range missiles as part of a multi- million-dollar, five-year armaments pr ogramme.

    KYSEA also decided to buy 45 new, third generation, training aircraft from the United States for the Hellenic Air Force and five new "Canadair" fire- fighting aircraft.

    The total cost of the procurements amounts to approximately 750 billion drachmas.

    Once the new missiles have been installed, Prime Minister Simitis said, Greece will have an effective anti-aircraft defence umbrella.

    Also discussed at yesterday's meeting was the crisis in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo, with Mr. Simitis expressing the hope that a political solution would eventually be found and military intervention averted.

    KYSEA approved the procurement of six (4+2) Patriot-3 systems at a total cost of 1.1 billion dollars, with this price, however, being subject to further negotiation.

    Until the new systems have been delivered, three second-hand Patriot-2 systems will be sent to Greece for training purposes.

    KYSEA approved the procurement of two types of short-range missiles, namely, 21 Russian-made THOR-M1 systems for the army and 11 (9+2) French-made Crotale systems for the air force and navy. The total cost of the short- range missile procurement pro gramme is 170 billion drachmas.

    KYSEA also approved the purchase of 40-45 US-made T-6A training aircraft for the Hellenic Air Force. The relevant programme will cost 65-70 billion drachmas.

    The programme involving the purchase of 10 (5+5) FL-415 fire-fighting aircraft approved yesterday will cost US$260 million.

    At KYSEA's next meeting in December, the council will discuss the interest expressed by the Hellenic Navy in acquiring four US-made, KIDD-class destroyers.

    It will also examine the procurement of more fighter aircraft for the Hellenic Air Force.

    Mr. Simitis said the gradual implementation of the government's armaments programme would further increase the capability and effectiveness of the armed forces and enable them to directly confront any threat.

    In similar note, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday's decisions would strengthen the armed forces and provide greater security for citizens throughout Greece against any air or missile threat. US reaction: -- On his part, US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns made the following statement:

    "The United States is pleased by the Greek Government's decision, announced earlier today by Prime Minister Simitis, to purchase the Patriot long-range air defense system and the T-6A Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS). Greece and the United States will benefit greatly from this new chapter in our defense cooperation. The Patriot air defense system is the best in the world and will contribute to peace and stability in the region; we use it for our own defense. JPATS represents the latest adv ances in trainer-aircraft technology; it is only now being introduced in our country as the trainer for the U.S. Air Force. The presence of these two state-of-the-art systems in the Hellenic Armed Forces will enhance bilateral and Alliance interoperabilit y. Both are products of Raytheon Corporation, one of America's premier defense manufacturers. Raytheon's generous and innovative offset arrangements will bring significant economic and technology-transfer benefits to its Greek partners.

    "The United States believes that today's decision by the Greek Government opens new vistas in our defense cooperation as we approach a new century. Building on our strong Alliance relationship, Greece's procurement of Patriot and JPATS will extend our s ecurity partnership for a generation or more. Greece and the United States will enjoy stronger trade and business relations. We congratulate the Government of Greece and Raytheon Corporation." Apostolakis: -- Speaking at a meeting of the Mediterranean Studies Foundation (IMM), National Defence Undersecretary Dimitris Apostolakis referred to trends in the defence sector, as well as to an international disposition, as he noted, for a decrease in expenditures for weaponry systems both in the US and Europe.

    Mr. Apostolakis said this trend cannot apply to Greece, since the "Turkish threat exists", and while Greece will be faced with instability, threats and uncertainty which necessitates an effective and well-armed military.

    He said that in view of the country's major armaments programme covering the 1996-2000 period, which is gradually being implemented, decisions have already been taken for quite a few purchases.

    "However, our armaments are not a purpose in themselves, because their mere existence is not the sole decisive factor, since what is of importance is quality both in the staff sector and in the sector of the means which they operate." Tsovolas:--- Finally, Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas yesterday criticised the government for what he called the "awarding and rewarding of the United States with the Greek people's money for its anti-Greek policies on the Cyprus issue, Gre ek-Turkish relations and the Skopje issue, by granting the largest and best piece of the new armaments programme to American war industries."

    Mr. Tsovolas accused PM Simitis of "operating once again as a wretch-ed employee of Greek history."

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Local gov't elections scheduled tomorrow

    Sunday's local government elections throughout Greece - municipal and prefectural - are the first to take place after the extensive merging of a multitude of small communities into larger municipal units, and the second that will produce elected prefects.

    Voters will decide on 898 mayoral races (747 in new municipal entities resulting from the mergers and 151 in previous ones), 133 heads of communities, 54 prefects, three "super-prefects" presiding over as many units comprised of a total of seven prefect ures, 1,450 prefectural councillors, 16,634 municipal councillors, 844 community councillors, and more than 22,000 neighbourhood councillors in now merged communities. Voting will be held in separate booths for municipal and prefectural councils.

    The total number of registered voters stands at about 8.9 million, including 1,468 citizens of other EU member-states in special registers. Voting begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m.

    The electoral system is the same for both municipal and prefectural elections. If the winning ticket does not receive the absolute majority of votes, a second round takes place on the following Sunday, Oct. 18, between the two runners up. The winning ti cket in the first round receives three- fifths of seats, the remainder being apportioned to the other tickets. If the winning ticket receives more than 60 per cent of votes, the number of seats allocated to it increases proportionately. Councillors are ele cted in the first round on the basis of votes received. Voting is theoretically compulsory, backed by criminal sanctions (such as fines, imprisonment of up to one year and deprivation of the right to run for public office), which however, remain in ab eyance. Administrative sanctions, such as refusal of applications for passports and driving licences, have been abolished.

    Results will start being relayed at about 8:30 p.m. on radio and television, as well as on the Internet (www.ypes.gr). For the speedier transmission of representative results, counting will start in odd-numbered polling stations for prefectural councils , and in even-numbered stations for municipal councils.

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Gov't: Athens won't veto NATO strike in Kosovo, no Greek units will participate

    Greece will not use its veto right if NATO decides to use military force in the troubled Yugoslav province of Kosovo, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

    Mr. Reppas said Greece would also refrain from sending troops and airplanes to take part in any strike. Any Greeks planning to travel to Yugoslavia should only do so if the trip is absolutely necessary, Mr. Reppas added. Greek nationals in Yugos lavia should judge for themselves if they should leave the region. Greek consular authorities in Yugoslavia, however, will not be recalled and Greece will extend any assistance required if its citizens desire to leave Yugoslavia, he added.

    Mr. Reppas was speaking after a meeting of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA), chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    Mr. Simitis reiterated at the meeting that Greece had made its position known to NATO member-states that the use of force in Kosovo should be avoided, while efforts focused on resolving the problem through political negotiations are needed.

    He said that if NATO should decide to intervene in Yugoslavia, Greece "would provide no facility other than the 'activation' of NATO bases in the country."

    The premier expressed the hope that diplomatic efforts currently under way will have a positive outcome by the time they are scheduled to end next Tuesday.

    [04] -- G. Papandreou

    There were still "margins for a political solution" solution" to the Kosovo crisis, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday, adding that Greece was "very reserved" on all scenarios regarding a military intervention in the strife-torn Yugoslav pr ovince.

    "Of course, time limits are narrowing," he told a private television station, "but we must keep in mind that a military intervention would also be a symbolic defeat for us in the Balkans, namely, that we cannot solve the problems between amongst ourselv es".

    He reiterated that Greece was firmly in favour of a peaceful solution.

    [05] -- Opposition

    Main opposition New Democracy spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos stressed that the situation in Kosovo is crucial and, therefore, it is necessary for calmness to prevail and for a mutually acceptable solution by the parties concerned to be promoted with peacef ul means.

    He added that all are obliged to contribute towards safeguarding peace in this sensitive region.

    On its part, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said that the Greek government is assuming historical responsibilities with its participation in NATO's "murder-ous" attack in Kosovo.

    "Greece's participation in the murderous military intervention being prepared by NATO in Kosovo is unquestionable. This is revealed by the fact that the PASOK government has decided, and is broadcasting, that their military installations in Greece will be placed at the service of the US and NATO," the KKE announcement stated, adding that with its position the government is "assuming historical responsibilities."

    Finally, DHKKI leader Dimitris Tsovolas critisised the government over the provision of facilities to NATO, saying that Greek national interests will be damaged.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] EU's chief negotiator pleased with Cyprus' preparations

    Cyprus' preparations for EU membership have been particularly satisfying to date, the EU's chief negotiator for the bloc's enlargement, Nikolaus van der Pas, said yesterday. Mr. van der Pas was speaking after meeting with Alternate Foreign Minist er George Papandreou in Athens.

    Formal talks for accession to the European Union begin with Cyprus and other candidate countries on Nov. 10, following the decision of the Council of Ministers on Oct. 5. Mr. Papandreou said the continuing negative stance of the Turkish Cypriot side to participating in the Cypriot republic's negotiating team "helped nobody", adding that an eventual accession would facilitate a resolution of the problem of the island's division without this meaning it was a prerequisite for joining. "This is the only approach which can help in a resolution of the problem," Mr. Papandreou said. "Those (EU member-states) speaking of a resolution to the political problem before accession are sending the wrong message, strengthening Turkish intransigence and placi ng the Cypriot republic hostage to Turkish designs," he said.

    Mr. Papandreou reiterated that Nicosia was prepared to welcome Turkish Cypriot representatives in the negotiating team, noting the importance of talks between representatives of the communities.

    These should continue despite the objections of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Dentkash, Mr. Papandreou said.

    Mr. Van der Pas noted that the Commission's representatives were having difficulties in communicating with the Turkish Cypriot side, while press sources said the Denktash regime considered the Commission's representatives as "unwelcome".

    The chief EU negotiator added that one could not talk of any resolution to the Cypriot problem, but only of one based on UN resolutions, which would create the necessary prerequisites for the implementation of Community freedoms and internal market regu lations on the whole of the island.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Klima in Athens

    VIENNA (ANA) - Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima will be visiting Athens next Thursday in the framework of a tour of all European Union capitals, and in light of the EU's Oct. 24 and 25 summit.

    Austria currently holds the EU's rotating presidency.

    Athens News Agency

    [08] ND slams failure to land Greece a seat on Security Council

    Main opposition New Democracy party spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos yesterday termed Greece's failure to secure a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 1999-2000 term as a "negative development".

    "Unfortunately, Greece failed to occupy a seat at the Security Council. This negative development is not only reflected on the government but also on the country," he said.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Commission takes Greece to task for failure to protect Caretta-caretta turtles

    BRUSSELS (ANA - P. Pantelis) - The European Commission yesterday announced that it has initiated legal action against Greece for not securing the protection of the endangered Caretta-caretta turt-les.

    A warning letter to the government noted that "explosive" tourist development present an obstacle for turtles in reaching their nesting areas at Lagana Gulf, western Zakinthos.

    The European Commission issued an announcement noting that the Caretta- caretta turtles are protected by Directive 43, issued in 1992.

    It is imperative, the announcement added, that the turtle is given "free access" to some eastern Mediterranean shores, such as Lagana, to complete its life cycle.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Netherlands Festival in Athens

    The Royal Netherlands embassy in Athens will hold a Netherlands Festival at the Hilton Hotel from Oct. 15 to 24, to include flower, photography and literature displays, musical events and food nights.

    This Netherlands Festival will also host the jazz group "Masha Bijlsma", while there will be meetings of business representatives from both countries. More than 5,000 Dutch nationals live and work in Greece, while 60 companies from the Netherlands are a ctive in the country.

    [11] Greek mountain climber officially declared dead

    KATHMANDU (ANA/Reuters) - A Greek mountain climber was officially declared dead yesterday, after he was listed as missing last week during an attempt to climb the seventh highest peak in the world, a member of the Greek camp on the mountain announced. Haralambos Tsoupras, 38, failed to return to the camp-site in the mountains of Nepal on Oct. 2.
    Athens News Agency

    [12] US embassy on Monday closed due to Columbus Day

    The US embassy in Athens, the US general consulates in Athens and Thessaloniki as well as all US federal government agency offices in Greece will be closed on Monday in honour of Columbus Day, a national holiday in the United States.
    Athens News Agency

    [13] Budget revenue up 23.32 pct in September, exceeding target

    Regular budget revenue increased by 23.32 percent in September to mark a 16.44 percent rate of increase in January-September, exceeding a budgetary target of 10.74 percent, Finance Undersecretary George Drys said yesterday.

    The rise in revenue had created a surplus of 280 billion drachmas so far this year, up sharply from 197 billion drachmas in August, Mr. Drys told a news conference.

    Budgetary revenue would continue to rise in the next few months, but the surplus could shrink to 100 billion drachmas if the government decided to lower taxes as part of its effort to combat inflation, he said.

    September's consumer price inflation, announced on Thursday, rose to 5.2 percent year-on-year from 5.0 percent in August.

    One of the main reasons that budget revenue had recorded high rates of increase in 1998 compared with last year is an increase in a monthly witholding tax on income. Witholding tax for freelancers and the self- employed rose to 20 percent from 15 perc ent in January. Mr. Drys said that revenue from income tax in January-September rose by 28.85 percent against the same period of last year; from value added tax by 14.82 percent, and from other taxes by 13.5 percent.

    Revenue from tax dating back to previous years fell by 10.79 percent in the same period.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Greek stocks slump, again hit by rise in consumer price inflation

    Greek equities remained under pressure yesterday in the last trading session of a turbulent week on the Athens Stock Exchange, battered for a second straight session by a rise in consumer price inflation to 5.2 percent in September from August's 5.0 percent.

    The general index fell below the 1,800-point psychological barrier for the first time in seven months to end at 1,772.09 points, off 3.14 percent.

    The index lost 6.37 percent in the week, ending 37.8 percent off its all- time record of 2,825.52 points on July 21.

    The index has gained 19.77 percent since the beginning of the year.

    Trading yesterday remained thin with turnover at 37.7 billion drachmas. Volume was 7,926,000 shares.

    The week's turnover totalled 174.8 billion drachmas to post a daily average of 35 billion drachmas, down from 36.9 billion drachmas the previous week.

    Traders said foreign investors yesterday liquidated their positions in blue- chip banks, following the same pattern in international markets.

    The surprise increase in September's inflation rate combined with renewed pressure in the domestic bond market discouraged investors who were expected to remain on the sidelines ahead of the government's planned third flotation of Hellenic Telecommunica tions Organisation this autumn.

    Sector indices all suffered losses.

    The heavily weighted banking sector fell 4.07 percent to end 8.85 pct down on the week.

    Insurance ended 3.16 percent off, Investment dropped 2.03 percent, Leasing plunged 6.65 percent for an 8.71 pct loss on the week, Industrials fell 2.47 percent, Construction ended 1.99 percent down, Miscellaneous eased 3.24 percent and Holding fell 4.65 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 2.57 percent off.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 214 to 29 with another nine issues unchanged.

    Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, Hellenic Petroleum, Mytilineos and Alpha Credit Bank were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Lanakam, Ekter, Lambropoulos, Endysi, Oenerga, Aegek, Tasoglou, Interinvest and Sato scored the biggest percentage gains.

    Ergodata hit the daily 8.0 percent limit down, followed by Pouliades, Dimitriadis, Macedonian Plastics, Ergas, Boutaris, Lampsa and Mouriadis, which all suffered heavy losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 30,000 drachmas, Ergobank at 19,950, Alpha Credit Bank at 16,940, Ionian Bank at 8,750, Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 6,000, Delta Dairy at 2,940, Intracom at 8,480, Titan Cement at 14,900, Hellenic Petrole um at 2,225 and Minoan Lines at 5,000 drachmas.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Finance ministry to auction 3M T-bills on Tuesday

    The finance ministry on Tuesday is to auction 80 billion drachmas' worth of three-month treasury bills in electronic form with the issue and settlement date on October 16, it said in a statement.

    The auction will employ competitive bids by the market's primary dealers.

    Non-competitive bids will also be accepted from primary and other dealers for up to 20 percent of the amount being auctioned.

    Commission is 0.15 percent.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Alexandroupoli to host international business conference

    The northern city of Alexandroupoli will host an international business conference on October 22-25 whose delegates will debate the prospects for a new economic area after 2000 spanning the Mediterranean, Balkans and Black Sea.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will launch the conference that has drawn officials from seventy six countries including ministers, ambassadors, trade attaches and bank governors.

    Among items on the agenda are energy networks, transport, telecommunications, small and medium-sized enterprises, and peace and security in the region. The head of the conference's organising committee is Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who has personally called on delegates to forge contacts in order to help expand cooperation in the region.

    Organising the conference is the Foundation for Mediterranean Cooperation, backed by the European Parliament, the European Investment Bank, the Foundation for Mediterranean Studies and local authorities in the north.

    The conference's two predecessors were held in Kalamata in 1996 and Kozani in 1997.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Listed engineering contractor to build Albanian road

    K.I.Sarantopoulos, an engineering contractor listed on the Athens bourse, will build a six- billion drachma section of a major highway linking Durres to Rogozina in Albania.

    The company has already carried out two roadbuilding projects in the neighbouring country. It has also built a military hospital in Tirana and taken part in the reconstruction of Tirana airport.

    K.I. Sarantopoulos has notified the bourse that it expects turnover of more than 13 billion drachmas in 1998. Unexecuted order book projects on September 30 totalled 80 billion drachmas.

    The firm also told the bourse that it was not holding merger talks with other engineering contractors.

    It was replying to media reports that a merger was in the pipeline with Aktor, another listed contractor. Aktor has denied the rumours.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Commercial Bank of Greece launches telephone service

    Commercial Bank of Greece, which is listed on the Athens Stock Exchange, has launched a new automatic telephone service for the holders of credit cards issued by the bank.

    Customers may receive data on their accounts on a 24-hour basis on any day of the year, including weekends and holidays, the bank said in a statement yesterday. The Athens access number is 6505100.

    Athens News Agency

    [19] Wide spread in fuel prices seen in Thessaloniki

    Fuel prices vary widely in the city and the prefecture of Thessaloniki, a report by the Consumers' Protection Centre said yesterday.

    Unleaded gasoline was up to 29 drachmas more expensive than the minimum price.

    The spread in super gasoline prices reached 27 drachmas, falling to 20 drachmas for diesel prices, the report said.

    The highest recorded price for unleaded gasoline was 211 drachmas and for super gasoline 227 drachmas per litre.

    Athens News Agency

    [20] HEPO participation at US foodstuffs exhibition

    The Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) will participate in the international foodstuffs exhibition "Fancy Food Confection Show", set for San Francisco this year.The exhibition constitutes a major opportunity for the promotion of Greek products in the US market since, according to an announcement by HEPO, the foodstuffs sector holds first place in Greece's total exports to the US, with a value of US$69 million in 1997.For more information, contact HEPO in Athens at tel. 99.82.241 and in Thessaloniki at te l. (031) 26.21.20-2.
    Athens News Agency

    [21] Greece the EU's largest consumer of pharmaceuticals

    Greece is the European Union country with the highest expenditures for medicines, reaching 2 per cent of GDP, with 56 per cent of all pharmaceuticals purchased not even used and 3.7 per cent never taken out of packaging, an Athens Medical School instructo r stressed yesterday. Prof. Ioannis Papadopoulos addressing an international conference of self-managed health funds in Athens entitled "Ineffective Medical Products", also said that Social Security Foundation ( IKA ) alone spends 19 billion drachmas ever y year on four ineffective pharmaceutical products.

    Finally, he said that in many cases symptoms and illnesses are incorrectly treated with medicines.

    Athens News Agency

    [22] Advertising in the Daily Bulletin

    The ANA will from now on welcome professional half-page or full-page advertisements in its daily English and French Bulletin.

    Advertisements will be accepted from embassies, banks, commercial and maritime companies, chambers of commerce, advertising companies, airlines, organisations, professional associations, educational and research institutions in Greece and abroad as well as international bodies.

    Also, for a small fee, the above groups may channel their Press Releases (PRs), announcements or photographs - in Greek, English or French - to the ANA's more than 100 media subscribers throughout Greece and Cyprus via the recently introduced ANA on-line PR's service.

    For details on and arrangements for the advertising and/or PRs on-line service, please contact the ANA Marketing Department, tel: 6400580, fax: 6400024 between 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

    Athens News Agency

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