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MPA NEWS IN ENGLISH (12/03/1996)

From: Macedonian Press Agency <mpa@philippos.mpa.gr>

Macedonian Press Agency News in English Directory

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH

Thessaloniki March 12, 1996


TITLES

  • [01] GREEK PREMIER SPEAKS AT THIRD BALKAN BUSINESS CONFERENCE

  • [02] MINISTER OF INTERIOR ADDRESSES BALKAN BUSINESS CONFERENCE

  • [03] FOREIGN MINISTERS OF GREECE, BULGARIA AND ROMANIA WILL MEET THIS WEEKEND IN VARNA, BULGARIA

  • [04] THE PRE-CONDITIONS AND THE PROBLEMS IN THE INTER-BALKAN STOCK EXCHANGE COOPERATION

  • [05] THE IONIAN BANK WILL ACCELERATE ITS GROWTH IN THE BALKANS

  • [06] STATEMENTS BY THE GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN ON PRESS PUBLICATIONS CONCERNING SKOPJE

  • [07] ROMANIAN INFORMATION CENTERS TO OPEN IN THESSALONIKI, ATHENS

  • [08] CYPRIOT GOVERNMENT HAS RESERVATIONS TOWARDS AMERICAN INITIATIVE

  • [09] SPANISH EUROMEP: ACCESSION OF CYPRUS IS NECESSARY TO THE EU

  • [10] CYPRUS AND BULGARIA SIGNED A PROTOCOL OF COOPERATION

  • [11] FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATE REPORT


  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [01] GREEK PREMIER SPEAKS AT THIRD BALKAN BUSINESS CONFERENCE

    Greek Premier Kostas Simitis, speaking at the second day of the two-day Balkan Business Conference in Thessaloniki, stated that a basic prerequisite for economic co-operation among the Balkan countries is a secure and stable political environment in each country, as well as in the relations aong the countries.

    Regarding the development of economic and business trade in the Balkan region, Mr. Simitis outlined four axes which, according to the Premier, will be crucial to meeting the aims.

    The first axis refers to the balanced and productive investment business initiatives, since, as the Premier noted, the basic rule has been the assessment of the low-cost labour.

    The second axis, refers to investments in human capital, since a there is need to develop a labour force that is equipped with modern administration.

    The third axis is the conventionality of a macro-economic environment. According to Mr. Simitis, a stable environment must be created, free of intense differences among the countries.

    Fourth axis is the need of a combined structure policy, such as the inter-european energy networks, which will reduce the production cost and will contribute to the productive connections of the region's countries.

    [02] MINISTER OF INTERIOR ADDRESSES BALKAN BUSINESS CONFERENCE

    The Greek Minister of Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Akis Tsohatzopopulos stated today that "Greece must face Turkey with a firm position and an adequate detterent force," and avoid the placatory attitude or policy of appeasement.

    Speaking during the second day of Thessaloniki's Balkan Business Conference, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos stated that Greece should adopt a strategy with "clear content and direction."

    Regarding FYROM, the Minister said that the relations between Greece and Skopjie had entered a new stage with the interim agreement signed last year, while emphasizing that Greece will continue the dialogue process.

    "We insist on our positions on the name issue," Mr.Tsohatzopoulos said, adding, "but Greece will continue the dialogue and will discuss with FYROM, without any commitment, the prospect of rapprochement and seeking a permanent solution, without rushing, being pressured or coerced by anyone, and far removed from the rationale of closing the issue at any cost."

    [03] FOREIGN MINISTERS OF GREECE, BULGARIA AND ROMANIA WILL MEET THIS WEEKEND IN VARNA, BULGARIA

    Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Greece, Bulgaria and Romania will be held this weekend, March 16 and 17, in the bulgarian city of Varna as it was announced today by the bulgarian government vice-President mr.Dontso Konaktsiev in the Balkan Business Conference taking place in Thessaloniki.

    The meeting constitutes a follow up of the one held last August in the greek city of Ioannina and according to mr.Konaktsiev will be discussed issues concerning the foreign policy of the three countries, security and cooperation in the region.

    Speaking about the greek-bulgarian relations mr.Konaktsiev characterized them as traditionally good and added that there is optimism that they will further expand and develop in more spheres.

    The vice-president of the bulgarian government stated that this is the right time to lay the foundations for a more dynamic development of bilateral relations and presented figures according to which Bulgaria's exports to Greece reached 307 million dollars while the imports were 284 million dollars.

    Mr.Konaktsiev speaking to MPA expressed optimism on the issue of the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipe-line stating that yesterday the bulgarian government assigned him the coordination of the work for the materialization of the project's construction dening the views expressed from time to time on construction delays. He also pointed out that the bulgarian position has not changed and expressed the hope that the cooperation of Greece, Bulgaria and Russia on the issue will begin soon.

    Regarding the opening of three new border crossings between Greece and Bulgaria mr.Konaktsiev pointed out that both countries work toward the materialization of those plans and expressed optimism that their construction will be completed as scheduled by the year 1998.

    [04] THE PRE-CONDITIONS AND THE PROBLEMS IN THE INTER-BALKAN STOCK EXCHANGE COOPERATION

    The different pace in the development rate of money markets and privatization programmes in the Balkan states, the lack of the necessary foreign exchange stability and the delay in the development of the domestic money markets in each country of the region, are the three fundamental problems which Thessaloniki's Stock Exchange Center must overcome for a successful activation in the Balkans.

    The above were stressed by the Athens Stock Exchange President mr.Manolis Xanthakis, who presented the first conclusions of a special study on the inter-balkan Stock Exchange cooperation, speaking in the two-day 3rd International Conference on Inter-Balkan Business Cooperation that opened yesterday in Thessaloniki. The study began three months ago by a study- specializing company affiliated with the Athens Stock Exchange in cooperation with the Athens Economic and Financial Study Center. The result of those three problems in combination with the low cash, the lack of mechanisms for standardized and objective information and the obvious high variability of the Stock Exchange rates are making, according to mr.Xanthakis, international investors to stay away from the region.

    The basic target of the Stock Exchange cooperation in the Balkan region, according to the first conclusions of the study, must be the attraction of investment capital from third countries, while the first interim target for Thessaloniki's Stock Exchange Center, within the framework of the basic target, must be the exploitation of the greek stock market mechanisms for the attraction of capital and stocks from third Balkan states.

    A second interim target for Thessaloniki's Stock Exchange Center is the financial backing of joint Greek-Balkan ventures, already in operation, while a third interim target will be the use of the offered stocks with Balkan origin for the creation of new high standardization tools.

    The two economic and financial products initially offered by Thessaloniki's Stock Exchange Center are, according to the President of the Athens Stock Exchange, the "Greek Certificates - ELPIS" while on a second phase will be offered shares from closed mutual funds of Balkan stocks.

    [05] THE IONIAN BANK WILL ACCELERATE ITS GROWTH IN THE BALKANS

    The intention of Greece's Ionian Bank is to accelerate its growth in the Balkans through the creation of new branches and through an additional series of actions that will lead to the materialization of the vision of a Balkan cooperation, announced the Bank's President mr.Panagiotis Korliras speaking in the 3rd International Conference on Inter-Balkan Business Cooperation held in Thessaloniki.

    Within this framework in the Ionian Bank's intentions, apart from the upcoming opening of branches in Tirana, Skopje and Belgrade are included: the establishment of a mutual fund called "Balkan Growth Fund", the establishment of a Venture Capital company which will be based in Thessaloniki and will mainly deal with Balkan states and the hammering out of a plan for the establishment of an Inter-Balkan Investment Bank.

    Meanwhile, Bucharest's Stock Exchange vice-President Virgil Anastasiu referred to the importance of privatizations for Romania and announced that about 4.000 companies are scheduled to enter the Stock Exchange.

    Bank of Albania Monetary Policy Director Fiqiri Baholli spoke about the problems faced by the albanian government in the effort to privatize the albanian Banks of Commerce, while he expressed optimism that the problems will be overcomed with the development of the appropriate infrastructure.

    Finally, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Economic Chamber vice- President Milutin Cirovic proposed the creation of a Balkan Bank.

    [06] STATEMENTS BY THE GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN ON PRESS PUBLICATIONS CONCERNING SKOPJE

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas commenting on the publication of greek Foreign Ministry top secret documents by the newspaper "TIPOS TIS KIRIAKIS" on "the full normalization of relations between Athens and Skopje", insinuated that the documents are real.

    The press publication refers to the communication the Foreign Ministry had with the greek diplomatic mission in Skopje asking it to convey to the skopjan leadership the message that the greek government "looks forward to the full normalization of the relations between the two countries which presuppose the reaching of a compromise solution on the issue of the name". It is also added that an investigation is underway aiming at the exemplary punishment of those responsible for the circulation of the top secret documents.

    Commenting on the essence of the press publication, mr.Reppas said that Article 5 of the interim accord provides for the continuation of negotiations aiming at reaching an agreement on the name. Also, it provides for the cooperation of the two countries aiming at facilitating the bilateral relations.

    Within this framework, added mr.Reppas, the government implements the New York interim accord in which it had entered with its known positions.

    Referring specifically to the communication of the Foreign Ministry with the greek diplomatic mission in Skopje said that the "phrasing of positions in diplomacy must be made in a way that facilitates the final objective".

    Finally, the Press Minister stated that the only channel of negotiations on the issue of the name will be the one under the auspices of the United Nations and with mr.Cyrus Vance as mediator.

    [07] ROMANIAN INFORMATION CENTERS TO OPEN IN THESSALONIKI, ATHENS

    Romania's Vice President Mircea Cosea announced today the founding of Romanian Information Centers in Greece, speaking at the third Balkan Business Conference.

    As Mr. Cosea explained, these Centers will provide information to businessmen regarding investment opportunities in Romania and, specifically, on the privatization process of state- owned Romanian businesses.

    These Information Centers will function in Athens and Thessaloniki, while tomorrow, as Mr. Cosea said, he will inaugurate the Athenian Center, which will operate in co-operation with a private company. Thessaloniki's Information Center is expected to operate towards the end of April, in cooperation with Thessaloniki's Industrial Chamber.

    According to Mr. Cosea, Romania offers a fertile ground for investments in the areas of structures, telecommunication and industry, as well as the development of economic trade.

    [08] CYPRIOT GOVERNMENT HAS RESERVATIONS TOWARDS AMERICAN INITIATIVE

    "Cyprus cannot make any more concessions," stated tofay the president of the Cypriot Parliament Alexis Galanos, follwing a meeting he had in Athens with Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.

    Adding that there was never any political volition expressed by Turkey that would promote a solution to the Cypriot problem, Mr. Galanos also commended on the imminent American initiative regarding Cyprus.

    When asked if the US intitiative had taken a specific form, Mr. Galanos stated that "we do not know what this initiative contains."

    Mr.Galanos was notedly reserved against U.S.-bred optimism that the Cypriot issue will be solved within the year, and attributed the positive climate to the pre-election era in the United States.

    [09] SPANISH EUROMEP: ACCESSION OF CYPRUS IS NECESSARY TO THE EU

    The Spanish Europarliamentarian of the United Left Carlos Carnero has characterized as "mistaken" the European Union's decision to set forth Turkey's Customs Union.

    Mr. Carnero emphasized that Turkey has not offered anything in return in regards to fundamental issues set forth and asked by the European Union, and especially the European Parliament.

    In a press conference given in Nicosia, the Spanish europarliament member pointed out that, following this mistake, Cyprus' accession to the European Community is now more necessary than ever before.

    Mr. Carnero noted that Turkey must receive the clear message from the European Union that despite its Customs Union, Europe does not forget the Turkish violations of human rights in Cyprus.

    [10] CYPRUS AND BULGARIA SIGNED A PROTOCOL OF COOPERATION

    Cyprus and Bulgaria signed a protocol of cooperation today covering the trade, culture and social sectors while it was also signed and a trade agreement consolidating the cooperation between them.

    The protocol of cooperation was signed by the Foreign Ministers of the two countries Alekos Michailidis and Georgi Pirinski. Later, mr.Pirinski signed a trade agreement with Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism mr.Kiriakos Christophis.

    The bulgarian Foreign Minister responding to a question by a reporter stated that he can not say that Turkey constitutes a threat in the Balkans. According to his statements, the relations between Bulgaria and Turkey are based on International Law and on the good neighbourly principles but at the same time he stressed that if those principles are violated then Bulgaria will react accordingly.

    Earlier, the bulgarian Foreign Minister had a meeting with Cypriot President Glafkos Kliridis.

    [11] FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATE REPORT

    CURRENCY          FIXING      BUY         SELL
    ECU              302.9000   301.9910    303.8090
    U.S. Dollar      242.9050   242.1760    243.6340
    Deutsche Mark    163.5500   163.0590    164.0410
    UK Sterling      369.2700   368.1620    370.3780
    French Franc      47.7740    47.6310     47.9170
    Swedish Crown     35.5540    35.4470     35.6610
    Danish Kroner     42.3450    42.2180     42.4720
    Norwegian Crown   37.6300    37.5170     37.7430
    Italian Lira      15.5505    15.5040     15.5970
    Swiss Franc      201.7480   201.1430    202.3530
    Spanish Peseta     1.9464     1.9406      1.9522
    Finnish Mark      52.7730    52.6150     52.9310
    Yen              229.4950   228.8070    230.1830
    
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