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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-10-29

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greece marks 58th anniversary of entry into WWII
  • [02] Greece submits memo on EU-Turkey relations, stresses Ankara's failure to follow terms
  • [03] Ankara peeved over Greek memo at EU
  • [04] NATO's 'Dynamic Mix '98' concludes
  • [05] EU funding for Turkey discussed at COREPER
  • [06] V. Papandreou: Social dimension of European unification imperative
  • [07] Samaranch-Fouras meeting in Lausanne
  • [08] G.Papandreou lauds Bulgaria's progress towards a united Europe
  • [09] Karamanlis warns internal ND opposition not to block path towards election victory
  • [10] Gov't denies reshuffle rumours
  • [11] Slovenian PM Drnovsek in Athens
  • [12] Kaklamanis-Kyprianou meeting in Athens
  • [13] Scuffles outside court between police, reporters during officer's arraignment
  • [14] Wooden vessel crammed with Kurdish illegals intercepted off Crete
  • [15] Athens conference on renewable energy sources
  • [16] Christodoulos postpones visit to Brussels
  • [17] Greek equities end higher
  • [18] Interest rates decrease

  • [01] Greece marks 58th anniversary of entry into WWII

    Athens 29/10/1998 (ANA)

    Greece yesterday celebrated the 58th anniversary of "Ochi" (No) Day, marking the country's entry into World War II after rejecting an ultimatum by the fascist Italian government.

    The Oct. 28, 1940 anniversary was celebrated with church te deums and parades in Athens and other cities, and a military parade in Thessaloniki before President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, who also took the salute.

    "National anniversaries should not evolve into empty, formal celebrations. We must revive the historical memory of the nation and rekindle patriotic sentiments not only for moments of major national need but because our nation lived through and lives through this great historical event of the heroic resistance to the invasion and protection of the freedom of Greeks in 1940 and 1941 and the subsequent national resistance. Our youth must study and learn from history - not just ancient history but the more recent history of the nation," Mr. Stephanopoulos said after the parade.

    National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who represented the prime minister at celebrations in Thessaloniki,said the large turnout for the parade indicated "unity and that the Greek armed forces are the best protection for a peaceful future".

    In Athens on Tuesday, Education and Religious Affairs Minister Gerasimos Arsenis and Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos reviewed a student parade in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

    Simitis : Meanwhile, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Tuesday that the country needed to show the same determination in meeting new challenges as that shown when it refused the Italian ultimatum to surrender and was dragged into World War II.

    Mr. Simitis said Greeks were "required to show the same decisiveness as the generation of the '40s".

    "In the world of today, whatever makes Greece strong is patriotic," Mr. Simitis' message read.

    "Greece must be strong so as to participate equally in all levels and procedures of the new European entity, to be active and have a dynamic presence in the Balkans, to deal with organised crime, drug trafficking, racism and xenophobia, to proclaim from all international podiums the need for respect and maintenance of international law and to avert any threat thanks to the worthiness of the Greek armed forces.

    "The Greek people are well aware that the Greece of new opportunities, development and social justice, the Greece of the 21st century demands sacrifices and hard work. And it is prepared to give all its forces to achieve this final aim. I am certain that the message of decisiveness of the generation of the '40s inspires and teaches all Greeks, who want to feel proud of their country at the threshold of the 21st century," the message read.

    Stephanopoulos : On his part, Mr. Stephanopoulos said yesterday's anniversary was a "crowning moment in Greek history and a source of national pride".

    Mr. Stephanopoulos's message said that Ochi Day served to remind Greeks that "with unity, we can achieve miracles."

    "National consensus is particularly imperative today, in light of the challenges our country is called on to meet as a member of the European Union and in the light of the uncertainty and instability noted in the region of the Balkans.

    "Greece has the standing conviction that the unreserved respect for international law, democratic values and human rights are the safest road for the promotion of peace, economic prosperity and social development worldwide, and is a factor of stability in the region of the Balkans," the president's message read.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos also mentioned that Cyprus would surely join the European Union, which would "contribute to the resolution of the Cyprus problem and the rapprochement of the two communities to the advantage of all."

    Earlier, the Greek president predicted a continuation of tension in Greek- Turkish relations, while speaking in Thessaloniki on Tuesday evening. Mr. Stephanopoulos, addressing a dinner held in his honour by the commander of the Third Army Corps, Lt.-Gen.

    Athanasios Skarafingas, linked Ankara's provocativeness to Turkey's upgraded role emanating from "oil interests." He also expressed concern over military cooperation between Turkey and Israel.

    "Turkey is considered an essential ally and associate of the US for the successful exercising of its policy in the Caspian Sea and having acquired a conscience of this important role it has acquired an arrogant attitude," he said, and warned that "Turkey's attitude will continue to be unyielding towards Cyprus and aggressive towards Greece."

    Tsohatzopoulos, political leaders : In his order of the day on Tuesday on the occasion of the Oct. 28 national holiday, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos stressed the need for the country's strengthening "politically, militarily, economically and diplomatically."

    "No complacency and no indifference is pardonable today. And today, just as then, we need the greatest possible unanimity, unity and national cohesion to safeguard national sovereignty from every foreign design. For a Cyprus which will be free, peaceful and democratic. To safeguard security and cooperation between the peoples in our region," he said.

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis said that the new era which is coming requires from all responsibility, unity and a disposition for creation and contribution.

    In his message on the same occasion, main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis said that in collective national conscience Oct. 28 has been registered as a significant symbol of the superiority of the moral and spiritual factor against material, of dignity, pride and self- respect against humiliation, of national resistance against compromise, of freedom against slavery and of perseverance against moral lacking.

    "Today, the dissentive dividing lines of the past are being swept aside by Greek citizens who are looking ahead to the future. However, despite steps taken, there is a long way to go, particularly with regard to the restructuring of the state which is tottering," he said.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said in its message that "popular unity, mass self-sacrifice, the sweeping aside of defeatism and fatalism emerge as a neacessity in the tough present moment of imperialist dominance."

    The message went on to say that "the contemporary "Ochi" is expressed with the 'no' to EMU, the euro, the profits of the few who create riches at the expense of the many, it is expressed with popular resistance and struggle for the creation of an anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly democratic front to overturn antipopular policy and to open the way for deep and radical changes."

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas said that this year's national anniversary finds the country's national issues at a crucial turning point due to continuous concessions, and the majority of the people in despair, due to the harsh and unfair neo-liberal economic policy.

    Mr. Tsovolas criticises plans for the promotion of the "new world order" in the Balkans, adding that Greece needs a united national strategy with a patriotic foreign policy and virtue and boldness for the Greek political and cultural leadership.

    Political Spring (Pol.An) party leader Antonis Samaras said that the living miracle of "Ochi" does not allow faint-heartedness, compromises and concessions.

    Issue of remains of soldiers fallen in Albania addressed : Representing the government at Ochi Day celebrations in the northwestern town of Ioannina, Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas referred to what he called the state's "unfulfilled duty" to recover the remains of Greek soldiers who died during the Second World War in Albania.

    "This effort, which is a national duty must be completed, in cooperation with the Albanian an outstanding issue which constitutes a national blemish, given that in the times that we live, examples are essential, and we give life to examples when they have flesh and bones. There is no longer any flesh. But the bones remain and these are the property of the Greek nation and people..." Mr. Reppas said.

    Athens News Agency

    [02] Greece submits memo on EU-Turkey relations, stresses Ankara's failure to follow terms

    Athens 29/10/1998 (ANA)

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos submitted a 48-page memorandum on relations between the EU and Turkey to the Union's Council of Ministers in Luxembourg on Monday, citing all parametres of the two sides' relations, as well as Greek-Turkish issues, the Cyprus question, the Kurdish issue, etc.

    The memorandum reminds Athens' partners of positions and views which have been expressed by Turkish officials against Greece. However, according to sources in Brussels, the memo can be described as an indirect reply to efforts by the European Commission to change the legal basis for funding Turkey.

    The European Commission is attempting to sidestep Greece's veto by changing the legal basis for funding Turkey and, to this end, it prepared two regulations the second of which includes Turkey in developing countries and anticipates funding amounting to 135 million Ecu, while in parallel it sets out that the relevant decision will be taken with a special majority and not with a unanimous vote.

    Circles in Brussels that are aware of what is going on in the European Commission noted that the impressive element resulting from the European Commission's efforts is that although its role is that of a protector of treaties, it is engineering plans, however, for their circumvention. In parallel, it is giving messages to member-states themselves on circumventing treaties, while at the same time the same messages are also passing to countries which are candidates to join the EU.

    In trying to sidestep Greek objections, it believes that it is a Greek- Turkish problem, while in essence the problem lies with the EU itself, which is an organisation established on respect for human rights and democracy with regard to relations with Turkey.

    Among others, the memorandum submitted by Athens mentions the following concerning the Customs Union between the EU and Turkey:

    "It should be underlined that the Customs Union was established on the political will of the member-countries of the European Union to promote relations with Turkey. This political will was based on the assumption that Turkey will behave in a way accept able to the European countries and will respond to their desire to see an amelioration in the Greek-Turkish relations, a positive attitude of Ankara towards the Cyprus problem, a sincere effort to ameliorate the human rights standards in Turkey and an acc eptable way to find a solution to the problem in the southeast part of the country.

    "In the two and a half years that have elapsed since the enter into force of the Customs Union nothing has happened in those fields.

    "The situation in southeast Turkey is becoming every day more tense, the human rights record of Turkey is one of the worst in the world, Ankara is obstinate in blocking all efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, and Turkey's attitude to Greec e is aggressive, provocative and hostile.

    "As far as the financial regulation is concerned, the bottom line for Greece lies in the fact that no obligation stands from the moment Turkey - immediately after the Customs Union Agreement was ratified by the European Parliament - formulated direct claims on the territory of a member state, landed troops on Greek territory in support of these claims, and risked military confrontation with Greece. This hardly constitutes an attitude of good neighbourliness and effectively absolves the European Union from any mechanistic contractual obligation of financial assistance.

    "In the absence of any constructive response from the Turkish side, Greece has no other option but to maintain its position on the financial regulation."

    Circles in Brussels also noted that the region of southeast Turkey is the one that must receive a big part of EU support. However, it is in this region that Turkey exhausts all its strictness (such as the imposition of martial law, etc.).

    Athens News Agency

    [03] Ankara peeved over Greek memo at EU

    ANKARA 29/10/1998 (ANA - A. Abatzis)

    Ankara launched a comprehensive verbal attack against Athens yesterday with an announcement by the Turkish foreign ministry referring to the Cyprus issue, the Muslim minority in Thrace, Greek-Turkish relations and the oft- repea ted claim of Greek aid to terrorist groups.

    The outburst emanated from a memorandum circulated by Athens earlier in the week at the European Union's Council of Ministers, entitled "Relations Between Turkey and the EU."

    In reaction, the Turkish foreign ministry termed the circulation of the document as "proof of Greece's hostile position in its relations with Turkey", further referring to an "immoral act by Greece."

    Athens News Agency

    [04] NATO's 'Dynamic Mix '98' concludes

    NAPLES 29/10/1998 (ANA)

    One of NATO's biggest annual exercises formally ended on Tuesday after involving, for the first time since 1982, joint ground manouevers by troops from the three countries of the alliance's southern wing.

    The exercise, codenamed 'Dynamic Mix '98', took place at a time when NATO was preparing for possible intervention in the troubled Yugoslav province of Kosovo.

    Speaking on the last day of the exercise, the newly appointed commander-in- chief of NATO forces in southern Europe, US Adm. James O. Ellis, said the initial assessment was that the objectives of the exercise had been fully attained.

    He added that the exercise would not be over until the conclusions had been discussed in Izmir, Turkey, by representatives of all participating countries. The exercise, conducted in Greece, Italy and Turkey, began on Oct. 1, with manouevers continuing until Oct. 21.

    Taking part were air, land, naval and amphibian forces from 11 NATO member- states: Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Britain and the United States.

    Some 5,000 military personnel participated in the exercise with 62 warships and 170 aircraft.

    Athens News Agency

    [05] EU funding for Turkey discussed at COREPER

    BRUSSELS 29/10/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The European Commission's proposals on funding Turkey were discussed yesterday at the EU's Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) where, according to sources, no substantive development occurred.

    The common positions of the "15" member-states regarding Cyprus, and in light of the start to substantive negotiations on Nov. 10, are still pending. Athens reportedly considers Paris' effort to insert a paragraph especially for Cyprus as 'unacceptable' . France has lobbied to insert the paragraph stressing that the Cyprus problem must not strike a blow at the EU's cohesion on the issues of common foreign policy and defence policy (KEPPA).

    France's insistence in including the above reference in the common position of the "15" on Cyprus and, in particular, in connection with KEPPA, has forced Greek diplomacy to set out its overall reservation on all common positions for all candidate countries. As a result, the EU will turn up at today's meeting of the heads of the EU and candidate countries' negotiating teams without being in a position to present a common text. On the part of Cyprus, the meeting will be attended by the island republic's chief negotiator, George Vassiliou, who arrived in Brussels yesterday afternoon.

    Athens News Agency

    [06] V. Papandreou: Social dimension of European unification imperative

    Athens 29/10/1998 (ANA)

    Development Minister Vasso Papandreou stressed on Tuesday that the recent informal EU summit in Poertschach, Austria had ascertained the imperative need to reactivate the social dimension of European unification, and signalled an essential turn and reorientation of EU policy towards that direction.

    Ms Papandreou, a former European Commissioner responsible for social policy, said that in recent years, the social dimension of European integration that had been promoted through the European Charter on Social Rights during her term of office had been abandoned due to the prevalence of a restrictive policy aimed at meeting Maastricht criteria, and due to a liberal perspective concerning the operation of the labour market.

    Following the adoption of the Social Charter by Britain, which had strongly opposed it at the time under its strict adherence of the rules of the market, Ms Papandreou said, "today Europe has a commonly accepted and cohesive social policy, which gives a nswers to the critical problems of its citizens".

    Naturally, the delay in activation of the Social Charter today made it imperative for Europe to move with speed and determination, she added.

    "The first steps have been taken. What was needed now was for acceleration of the pace and organised public intervention at all levels".

    "Activation is necessary of the entire 'arsenal' at the European Union's disposal. The means have been built and exist, and it only remains for them to be put to use," Ms Papandreou added.

    Athens News Agency

    [07] Samaranch-Fouras meeting in Lausanne

    Athens 29/10/1998 (ANA)

    Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras left for Lausanne yesterday to meet with International Olympics Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch. The agenda of the meeting will focus on issues related to the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
    Athens News Agency

    [08] G.Papandreou lauds Bulgaria's progress towards a united Europe

    LUXEMBOURG 29/10/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    The fourth meeting of the Association Council between Bulgaria and the European Union was held here on Tuesday.

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou represented Greece.

    The main conclusion reached from the meeting is that Bulgaria is achieving progress in certain sectors of its economy such as tax policy and industry. However, there are a series of problems which render its accession course difficult, including the operation of the Bulgarian nuclear plant at Kozloduy.

    Speaking to the press, Mr. Papandreou underlined Bulgaria's positive steps towards its accession to united Europe, adding that during Tuesday's meeting a series of issues of particular concern to Greece were discussed such as the Kosovo crisis and the repercussions of the Russian crisis on the Bulgarian economy.

    He said that the Russian crisis did not affect the Bulgarian economy in particular because to a great degree it has replaced its economic relations with Russia with corresponding relations with EU countries.

    Mr. Papandreou also said that the issue of illegal immigration was discussed at the meeting.

    Parliament delegation received by Bulgarian finance minister : SOFIA (ANA - B. Borisov) - A meeting between Bulgaria's Finance Minister, Muravei Radev, and a delegation of the Greek Parliament's European Affairs Committee, headed by chairman Loukas Apostolidis, lasted for an hour and a half yesterday. The delegation is currently on a three-day visit here.

    In statements to the ANA, Mr. Radev and Mr. Apostolidis said the atmosphere during the meeting was "friendly and constructive."

    The meeting focused on a mutual briefing and an exchange of views on issues of political and economic cooperation between Athens and Sofia.

    "The Bulgarian economy is on a good path. A small miracle has taken place here, at least according to the indicators and data presented to us," Mr. Apostolidis said after the meeting.

    Athens News Agency

    [09] Karamanlis warns internal ND opposition not to block path towards election victory

    Athens 29/10/1998 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis warned internal party dissenters on Tuesday night that on ND's course towards assuming the government's reins he will not tolerate disputes.

    "On the course towards tomorrow, which is aimed at creating a strong and dignified government that will give inspiration to the people there is no place for complacency and rest. Whoever thinks that he is tired of the past, either due to personal bitter ness or to other reasons can sit aside," Mr. Karamanlis told party cadres in Thessaloniki, adding that "all this is not just words as some might think." Mr. Karamanlis also referred to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), saying that Greece's accession is an unquestionable necessity. However, he said that what is of primary importance is protection of citizens' security and property as well as the problems of the economy and education.

    Athens News Agency

    [10] Gov't denies reshuffle rumours

    Athens 29/10/1998 (ANA)

    The government on Tuesday denied reports that a cabinet reshuffle was in the works "We are not occupied with any reshuffle issue. There is no such issue," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters upon his arrival in the northwestern city of Ioa nnina, where he represented the government at ceremonies marking the national "Ochi" Day holiday.
    Athens News Agency

    [11] Slovenian PM Drnovsek in Athens

    LJUBLJANA 29/10/1998 (ANA/STA)

    Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek begins an official visit to Greece today.

    Mr. Drnovsek is scheduled to meet with President Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and Athens Ma-yor Dimitris Avramopoulos.

    It will be the first official visit by a Slovenian prime minister to Greece and comes after visits by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos to Slovenia earlier this year.

    Mr. Drnovsek's visit is expected to focus on Slovenia's efforts to join the European Union. Greece is one of the countries that has not yet ratified the EU agreement with Slovenia but is expected to place the issue on Parliament's agenda soon.

    Athens News Agency

    [12] Kaklamanis-Kyprianou meeting in Athens

    Athens 29/10/1998 (ANA)

    Developments over the Cyprus issue were the focus of talks on Tuesday between the parliament presidents of Greece and Cyprus, Apostolos Kaklamanis and Spyros Kyprianou, respectively, in Athens.

    Both men reiterated that the goal of the Greek side was Cyprus's accession to the European Union, which would facilitate a settlement of the problem.

    "The Cypus problem will not be solved in Cyprus, but primarily in Washington, and then in London and Brussels, so efforts for (Cyprus') accession must be directed there," Mr. Kyprianou said.

    Talks on coordinated activities by the Greek and Cypriot houses will continue during Mr. Kaklamanis' official visit to Nicosia, in the middle of November.

    Athens News Agency

    [13] Scuffles outside court between police, reporters during officer's arraignment

    Athens 29/10/1998 (ANA)

    Dozens of plainclothes police officers scuffled with reporters on Tuesday outside a Thessaloniki courthouse in an attempt to stop came-ramen and photographers from viewing a colleague charged with killing a Yugoslav high school student last Friday.

    A senior police official sped to the scene following complaints from reporters and called on police to disperse.

    According to reports, the officers had on their own initiative gathered at the scene to prevent reporters and photographers from approaching Kyriakos Vandoulis, 32, or taking his picture.

    Mr. Vandoulis was released on bail after being formally charged with intentional homicide.

    The victim's father, Dragoslav Bulatovic, told reporters that the officer should be punished and kept in custody. He said on Monday that he would file a civil lawsuit for wrongful death against Mr. Vandoulis in Greek courts.

    The officer was released on bond of one million drachmas and prohibited from leaving the country.

    Sources said he told the prosecutor that his pistol had gone off accidentally while he held it in one hand and spread both arms out to prevent 18-year- old Marko Bulatovic from fleeing.

    The student, part of a group on a school trip to Greece, was killed instantly by a shot to the head.

    Greece said on Monday it would undertake all the expenses for Marko Bulatovic's funeral. His body was flown to Belgrade by a Greek military transport plane on Tuesday.

    Athens News Agency

    [14] Wooden vessel crammed with Kurdish illegals intercepted off Crete

    Athens 29/10/1998 (ANA)

    The coastguard yesterday detained 263 illegal immigrants, mostly Kurds from Iraq, that were crammed into the hold of a Lebanese-flagged wooden fishing boat.

    Authorities were alerted by the skipper of a Greek fishing boat, who had spotted a large number of people on the deck of the 25-metre "Santa Maria" as it was sailing off the southwest coast of Crete.

    A patrol boat located the vessel shortly afterwards.

    Apart from the 263 Iraqis, including 123 children of different ages, the coastguard arrested two Syrian nationals apparently piloting the vessel and suspected of masterminding the smuggling operation.

    According to initial reports, the "Santa Maria" sailed from a port in Lebanon. The two Syrians and the illegal immigrants will appear before a public prosecutor in Hania today.

    Athens News Agency

    [15] Athens conference on renewable energy sources

    Athens 29/10/1998 (ANA)

    The Athens Polytechnic will organise a conference in the Greek capital on the subject of renewable energy sources and their application in Greece, scheduled for Nov. 30 through Dec. 2.

    The conference will be attended by Development Minister Vasso Papandreou and EU Commissioner responsible for energy Christos Papoutsis, among others.

    The main focus of the conference is the further introduction of renewable energy sources in the country's energy balance and the shaping of an integrated national strategy on development of these forms of energy.

    Athens News Agency

    [16] Christodoulos postpones visit to Brussels

    BRUSSELS 29/10/1998 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    A visit here by Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos has been postponed, the Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Greece's representation at the European Union announced yesterday.

    Instead of the Archbishop, an ecclesiastical delegation will arrive in Brussels for contacts with high-ranking EU officials, according to reports.

    Athens News Agency

    [17] Greek equities end higher

    Athens 29/10/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities ended sharply higher for the second consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, reflecting strong buying activity in banks and industrials.

    The general index ended 1.71 percent higher to 2,140.39 points in heavy turnover of 46.2 billion drachmas. Volume was 11,483,000 shares.

    Traders said the market was expecting a new cut in the Bank of Greece's intervention rate by 25 basis points soon, in line with a climate of lower rates in the European Union.

    Sector indices were mixed. Banks rose 2.11 percent, Insurance fell 0.33 percent, Investment was 0.08 percent off, Leasing dropped 1.31 percent, Industrials increased 1.82 percent, Construction fell 1.01 percent, Miscellaneous ended 0.75 percent up and Holding jumped 2.4 percent.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 1.24 percent higher.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 137 to 90 with another 23 issues unchanged.

    Hellenic Petroleum, Mytilineos, Aspis Invest, Aspis Bank and Bank of Piraeus were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Daring, Connection, Bank of Central Greece, Lanakam, Marfin Invest, Dimitriadis and Ridenco scored the biggest percentage gains, hitting the daily 8 percent limit up.

    Nematemboriki, Boutaris, Corfil, Macedonian Plastics, Sportsman, Yalco, Nafpaktos Spin Mills, Avax and Atticat suffered the heaviest losses.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 38,900 drachmas, Ergobank at 24,600, Alpha Credit Bank at 21,690, Ionian Bank at 10,540, Hellenic Telecoms at 6,420, Delta Dairy at 3,330, Intracom at 10,900, Titan Cement at 17,500, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,345 and Minoan Lines at 6,085.

    Athens News Agency

    [18] Interest rates decrease

    Athens 29/10/1998 (ANA)

    Interest rates fell significantly in Tuesday's Treasury bills auction held by the Greek finance ministry.

    The average weighted rate in one year T-bills fell to 11.0 percent from 11.6 percent in the previous auction.

    Primary dealers offered 450.8 billion drachmas, more than double the original aim of 200 billion. The finance ministry finally accepted bids totalling 228.6 billion drachmas.

    The fall in T-bill rates is a favourable development for the government in its effort to contain inflation and cut long-term yields, two major EMU convergence criteria.

    A meeting held in the national economy ministry with the initiative of the ministry's council of economic advisors on Monday, discussed the country's monetary policy.

    Participants agreed that although Greek 10-year bond spreads remained high at 400 basis points above the Maastricht criterion of 6.0 percent, the situation could be easily improved on the condition that inflation would be contained to 2.0 percent by the end of 1999.

    Long-term interest rates would then follow the decline, they said.

    In the domestic secondary bond market the climate was positive.

    However, the government remained cautious and continued to examine defensive alternative solutions to strengthen the bond market.

    The Greek paper market remains vulnerable to moves by foreign investors. Experts say that bond prices could be hit again in future international turmoil and the government would like to avoid such a prospect now that the country has entered a final stretch towards the Maastricht criteria.

    Athens News Agency

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