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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 96-11-29

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

From: The Greek Press & Information Office, Ottawa Canada <>

ATHENS NEWS AGENCY BULLETIN (No 1053), November 29, 1996

Greek Press & Information Office
Ottawa, Canada
E-Mail Address:


  • [01] Greece awaits explanation into allegations of Turkish arsons
  • [02] Reppas
  • [03] Skandalidis
  • [04] EU forum
  • [05] Nationwide 24-hour strike protests government's economic policy
  • [06] Gov't insists on 'realistic policy', appeals for understanding
  • [07] High participation rate, unionists claim
  • [08] Evert
  • [09] Nationwide actions
  • [10] Opposition
  • [11] Simitis, Tsohatzopoulos meet
  • [12] Meeting to focus on adaptation of Greek legislation to EU laws
  • [13] Pangalos holds talks with Uzbekistan's leadership
  • [14] Duma president Zelezniev reiterates his parliament's support for Greece
  • [15] Onassis Foundation to donate funds for new library at Metropolitan Museum
  • [16] Internal dissension continues in New Democracy
  • [17] Greece aims at alliances with other EU states on IGC issues, G. Papandreou says
  • [18] Vartholomeos concludes tour of Far East
  • [19] Archbishop Anastasios meets with premier
  • [20] Greek-Yugoslav investment agreement readied
  • [21] Survey reveals that one in 10 Austrians plans to spend 1997 vacation in Greece
  • [22] National Bank lowers interests rates for deposits
  • [23] Motion tabled to confiscate Delta Brokerage's assets

  • [01] Greece awaits explanation into allegations of Turkish arsons

    Athens, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    Athens expects Ankara to fully clarify recent allegations that Turkish secret services were responsible for several forest fires that devastated a number of Greek islands in recent years.

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou stressed yesterday that Greece would seek such "explanations".

    Turkish True Path (DYP) party deputy Sedat Bucak outlined in a recent television interview Ankara's involvement in the arson of Greek forests.

    Bucak was the only survivor of a fatal traffic accident earlier this month near the western Turkish village of Susurluk in which three people died, an incident that exposed connections between the Turkish underworld and state.

    The DYP deputy alleged that Abdullah Catli, one of the three victims, participated in the arson attacks in Greece. The following day, the right-wing publication "Yeni Safak" came out with a headline reading "We burned Rhodes", although copies of the newspaper were destroyed in a suspicious fire that destroyed the newspaper's offices the same day.

    Mr. Papandreou described as "worrying" Bucak's accusations, noting that they constituted "a confession to a criminal offense."

    On her part, Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller defended Catli, saying: "I don't know if he is guilty or not. However, those who shoot or are injured in the name of this country... will always be remembered by us with respect."

    Mr. Papandreou said Ms Ciller's statements should cause concern among the international community.

    [02] Reppas

    Athens, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    "The allegation by Turkish deputy Sedat Bucak that Turkish agents torched Greek forests is extremely serious," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said later.

    He added, however, that Greece must be particularly careful "because many things are going on at the present time in Turkey for domestic consumption."

    "The government is carefully examining the entire issue," Mr. Reppas said, adding that "the evidence presented to the security authorities does not lead to final conclusions as to the exclusive responsibility of Turkish agents in the fires last summer."

    Mr. Reppas stressed, nevertheless, that Athens intended to seek explanations from Ankara regarding the issue.

    Asked to comment on a statement by Ms Ciller, who claimed that Greece had created the Imia dispute, Mr. Reppas replied that "too much significance should not be attached to remarks by Ms Ciller who, because of her involvement in non-transparent affairs, is putting on a show of firmness."

    Greece and Turkey came to the brink of war earlier this year when Ankara openly disputed Greek sovereignty of the uninhabited Aegean islets of Imia.

    [03] Skandalidis

    Athens, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    PASOK Secretary and Dodecanese deputy Costas Skandalidis noted that "the provocative and cynical revelation by the Turks that they are behind the arson attacks on our islands opens a huge issue for the international community and law and order, particularly when it is done by a Turkish deputy."

    He added: "Greece calls for the clarification of the case and the denunciation of Turkey as an official source of terrorist activity. It is time to re-examine in depth the role of our 'responsible' services on the islands of the eastern Aegean and particularly on Rhodes, and their effectiveness. Drastic reorganization is needed."

    The main opposition New Democracy party also issued an announcement describing the Turkish deputy's statement as being "particularly serious" and said it must be examined.

    "The government must immediately ask for explanations from the Turkish government and to bring this serious issue to the relevant international fora," the ND statement read.

    The Political Spring (Pol.An) party, on its part, issued an announcement saying the government must bring the attention of international organizations to the information regarding organized arson attacks on Greek islands, adding that only with such organizations will "such a serious investigation be effective."

    [04] EU forum

    Brussels, 29/11/1996 (ANA - F. Stangos)

    In a related development, PASOK Eurodeputy Yiannis Roubatis raised the issue of Turkish involvement in arson attacks on Greek islands, during questions to the Ministers' Council and the European Commission.

    He also asked whether the Union intended to financially reinforce Greece's forestry services for "the more effective protection of European forests from the threat they face due to the activities of criminal Turkish organizations."

    [05] Nationwide 24-hour strike protests government's economic policy

    Athens, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    Public services, mass transportation and most industries came to a standstill throughout Greece yesterday during a 24-hour across-the-board strike to protest the government's economic policy and especially its new taxation measures, contained in a proposed 1997 budget to be tabled in Parliament today.

    The government, meanwhile, appealed to workers for understanding, maintaining that the social state is being strengthened, while the new taxes introduced in the 1997 budget burdened the higher income brackets exclusively.

    The strike action, involving both the public and private sectors and affecting utilities, transports, civil services, banks, municipal offices, industry and businesses, was called by the General Confederation of Workers of Greece (GSEE) and the Civil Servants' Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY).

    Strikes also shut down most schools and courts, while hospitals operated with only skeleton crews. In the transport sector, the stoppage caused delays in flights since Olympic Airways, the national carrier, staged a three-hour stoppage from 9 a.m. to noon, while ports shut down throughout the country as maritime workers joined in the 24-hour strike.

    Farmers also blocked national road junctures across the country, asking for higher prices for produce.

    One of the main demands of the unions is that the government index link tax brackets to inflation. The unions claimed that failure to do so would result in a drop in real incomes in 1997.

    A meeting later in the day between National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and the administrations of GSEE and ADEDY turned out to be fruitless.

    Immediately after the meeting, GSEE president Christos Polyzogopoulos said the minister refused to satisfy labor union demands concerning the index-linking of tax brackets to inflation and an increase in the amount of income considered to be non-taxable.

    Mr. Polyzogopoulos told reporters that GSEE's executive committee would convene next Wednesday "to take new decisions".

    [06] Gov't insists on 'realistic policy', appeals for understanding

    Athens, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    "The government was just recently given the popular mandate and has the responsibility to lead the country to an equal relationship with its European partners," government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said, replying to questions on the government's economic policy and yesterday's strikes.

    "The government is following a realistic policy while refraining from taking measures which would simply make it popular," Mr. Reppas said, adding that it had also secured the minimum consent for the measures.

    He expressed a view that the Greek people would eventually support the government's economic policy.

    The government, Mr. Reppas continued, understands the reactions of workers and those who are affected by the measures, "but the policy being followed is the only one which will provide a solution to the country's problems."

    The spokesman noted that participation in yesterday's strike and protest rallies had been small, "and this must be the basis for drawing any conclusions".

    The government later issued an announcement appealing to workers and particularly the weaker social strata for understanding for its economic policy.

    The announcement explains the government's new economic measures, stressing that the social state is being strengthened while the new taxes introduced in the 1997 budget burdened the higher income brackets exclusively.

    The government said Greece was waging four major battles -participation in EMU, development, the fairer distribution of income and efforts to enhance the deterrent capacity of the armed forces.

    "A prerequisite in order to win these battles... is the securing of additional funds by cutting state deficits and the more rational operation of the state. This is precisely what the 1997 budget aims to achieve," the announcement stated. It added that workers' real incomes (nominal remuneration less inflation) would continue to increase at a rate of 2 per cent, while the social state would be considerably strengthened in 1997 "as it was in the three previous years".

    Total expenditure on social protection would amount to 6.5 trillion drachmas in 1997, or 20.1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), compared to 3.9 trillion drachmas or 18.5 per cent of GDP in 1993, the announcement said.

    The Farmers' Insurance Fund (OGA) was being converted into a principal social security fund, the announcement said, noting also the "considerable" increases in farmers' pensions.

    The government also pointed to the introduction of the Social Solidarity Allowance for persons on low pensions and the strengthening of the education and health sectors, "with increases more than triple the anticipated rate of inflation."

    "This government feels for the problems of workers and particularly the weaker social strata and asks for their understanding," the announcement stated.

    [07] High participation rate, unionists claim

    Athens, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    In contrast to Mr. Reppas' assessment, trade union officials spoke in terms of 60 to 100 per cent participation in the strike. Compared with recent years, they said, the participation in the protest rally in central Athens and demonstration outside Parliament was also very high.

    Addressing workers at the rally, Mr. Polyzogopoulos stressed that if the government did not modify its economic policy, it would find itself "up against the resistance of the workers and trade unions, which will be forced to step up their struggle".

    The index-linking of tax brackets to inflation and the raising of the limit of non-taxable income to two million drachmas were now "central demands" of the workers, Mr. Polyzogopoulos said.

    GSEE's president also urged an end to what he called "the under-estimation of inflation for 1997."

    "The government's forecast of 4 to 4.5 per cent is a mockery and affects the unions' positions at collective negotiations," said Mr. Polyzogopoulos, who also called for measures to increase employment and protect labor relations.

    [08] Evert

    Athens, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    GSEE and ADEDY trade unionists also met yesterday with main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Miltiades Evert, to whom they handed a resolution protesting the government's economic measures.

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, Mr. Evert said "the country's problems are not solved with stabilization programs but only with development."

    "Before the elections the government promised that there would be no new taxes, with the result that it has now been exposed as unreliable. It cannot ask for the tolerance of the people with austerity. If it (government) continues the same policy, there will be recession and higher unemployment".

    [09] Nationwide actions

    Athens, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    In Thessaloniki and other cities around the country, the picture was similar. Workers laid-off from the Thessaloniki Goodyear plant earlier this year led the rally through the city's streets in the morning. The rally marched to the Macedonia-Thrace ministry where minister Philippos Petsalnikos was handed a resolution.

    Mr. Petsalnikos defended the government's economic choices, saying they were "difficult" but aimed to assist the country's growth at the same time as stabilizing the economy.

    Union representatives in the northern capital said participation in the strike was in the order of 50-65 per cent.

    There was traffic chaos in the city in the early afternoon due to the four-hour work stoppage by public transport workers. The 48-hour strike at the city's port meant serious delays for unloading. Some 20 merchant vessels are reported to be affected.

    In Thessaly, farmers protesting against a reduction in their incomes blocked the national Athens-Thessaloniki highway at a number of points. There have been similar blockades of major road junctions throughout the prefecture.

    Near Lamia, farmers blocked the road to Fthiotida with 120 tractors at 10 a.m. with another group blocking the old national Lamia-Domokou road at noon. Traffic to and from Trikala and Karditsa was forced to divert to side roads.

    [10] Opposition

    Athens, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos described yesterday's nationwide mobilizations as "a cry of agony", adding that it was the "deadlocked" policy of a government that was "socially rejected and did not enjoy political legitimacy."

    For Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas, the mobilizations were a "struggle for a life with dignity," but also "an act of resistance to Brussels and the economically strong."

    The Political Spring (Pol.An) described as "the joke of the day" a statement by government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, according to which, "the majority of working people supports the government measures."

    [11] Simitis, Tsohatzopoulos meet

    Athens, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday discussed a number of national and defense issues at their regular meeting.

    According to reports, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos briefed the premier on his recent visit to Ostend in Brussels to attend the Western European Union's Council and to Cyprus.

    Sources added that the NATO headquarters issue was also discussed. The sources said that the government remained steadfast on the issue of the activation of the NATO headquarters.

    [12] Meeting to focus on adaptation of Greek legislation to EU laws

    Athens, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    Issues of adapting Greek national legislation to Community law are to be discussed in Athens today between government officials and EU representatives.

    According to reports, the discussion will include issues concerning fertilizers, private vehicles and medicines.

    [13] Pangalos holds talks with Uzbekistan's leadership

    Moscow, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov requested Greece's assistance for his country's co-operation with European organizations in talks with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, who paid the first-ever visit by a Greek minister to the Central Asian nation.

    Apart from meeting President Karimov, Mr. Pangalos met Uzbekistan Foreign Minister A. Kamilov and Deputy Prime Minister and Petroleum Minister C. Hakulov. He also visited the offices of the Political Refugees Society.

    President Karimov called for the opening of a Greek embassy in Tashkent and the speeding up of the appointment of a general consul of Uzbekistan in Athens. He also requested preparation of the entire legal framework in which relations between Greece and his country will be based, so that it can be signed during his official visit to Athens in March 1997.

    President Karimov expressed his country's wish to co-operate with European organizations, saying that he considers Greece a natural channel and interpreter of the views of his country at the European union.

    He expressed his views on the situation prevailing in the region and on his country's domestic affairs, stressing that in the sector of democratic and economic reforms his government is making "flexible and not revolutionary changes."

    On his part, Mr. Pangalos said the Greek embassy in Tashkent will open in 1998. He also referred to the importance of Mr. Karimov's visit to Athens during which, he said, agreements will be signed which will constitute the framework of relations between

    Greece and Uzbekistan. Mr. Pangalos and Mr. Kamilov discussed the situation in Central Asia and Uzbekistan's foreign policy, while Mr. Pangalos set out Greece's relations with the Balkans and Turkey, as well as Greek positions on the Cyprus issue. At the end of their talks, the two ministers signed two agreements on the establishment of consular authorities and an airline agreement.

    Talks with Mr. Hakulov, who is responsible for energy issues, focused on issues of an economic nature and possibilities of co-operation between the two countries in the natural gas sector.

    Mr. Pangalos also met with representatives of Greek expatriates and held talks with a small number of Greek businessmen who are primarily engaged in trade and tourist activities in Uzbekistan.

    [14] Duma president Zelezniev reiterates his parliament's support for Greece

    Athens, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    Russia does not consider an act of aggression by Turkey against Greece in the Aegean likely at present, Russian Duma (parliament) President Gennadi Seleznyov said yesterday at the end of a three-day official visit to Greece.

    Mr. Seleznyov, who met President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis and political party leaders, said Russia is categorically opposed to the use or the threat of the use of force on the international scene.

    He stressed that the Duma has unanimously condemned the presence of a Turkish occupation army in northern Cyprus and has called for the demilitarization of the island republic in the most categorical manner.

    Referring to Russia's positions on the Cyprus problem, Mr. Seleznyov said a precondition for its solution, which he called a disgrace for Europe, is demilitarization, adding that the UN should be the venue where the problem is resolved and a peaceful solution found.

    On his part, Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis thanked Mr. Seleznyov for the positive stance observed by Russia and the Duma on Greek national issues.

    On the question of bilateral economic relations, Mr. Seleznyov said he inferred from his contacts in Greece that Athens is in favor of promoting co-operation with Moscow in the energy sector, stressing that this is the desire of the Russian government as well.

    Mr. Seleznyov announced a beginning to common business activities and said that in January a natural gas pipeline linking Russia with Greece will be inaugurated. He further said that in his talks with Greek officials he was pleased to ascertain a willingness by Athens to have a proposed project for an aluminum plant revived.

    Mr. Kaklamanis referred to close co-operation between the two parliaments within the framework of both the Council of Europe and the parliamentary assembly of Black Sea countries.

    [15] Onassis Foundation to donate funds for new library at Metropolitan Museum

    New York, 29/11/1996 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    The Onassis Foundation will fund the establishment of a new library of Greco-Roman art at New York's Metropolitan Museum.

    "This donation ensures the creation of a library that will give scholars, researchers and the public, the possibility to refer to valuable historical archives and the amazing collections of Greek and Roman art, which the Metropolitan has," the museum's curator, Philippe de Montebello, said during a ceremony announcing the donation.

    [16] Internal dissension continues in New Democracy

    Athens, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    Former main opposition New Democracy prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis yesterday accused ND leader Miltiades Evert of "trying to cause a rift that could lead even to a break up of the party".

    In a written statement, Mr. Mitsotakis charged that Wednesday's attack against him during a political council session by Mr. Evert, who said he would not be invited to future sessions as his public statements undermined the authority and history of the party, aimed at two things:

    "To cause a rift that could even lead to a break up of the party, and relegate to secondary place substantial discussion on terms under which an honest and representative congress would be held" next year.

    "This effort failed. I am not willing to become entangled in controversies, and I did not respond to the attack because I put above all else the interest of the party and the country," he said.

    Mr. Mitsotakis also claimed that the political council is slowly coming round to the view that the election of large number of additional delegates is the only way to go to a congress which will lead the party out of the deadlock.

    "It is characteristic that three former prime ministers supported this view," he emphasized.

    Further, he stressed his contribution to the party:

    "I am the only leader after Constantine Karamanlis who led the party to victory, with 47 per cent of the vote in 1990. This victory enabled me to propose Karamanlis for president of the republic in 1990, whereby he was morally vindicated... Now the rift is being attempted in his name".

    Replying to Mr. Mitsotakis' statements, the ND party press office said in a statement that, "at the time of possibly the largest mobilization in the country in recent years against PASOK's tax raid, Mr. Mitsotakis is continuing to busy himself with internal party matters. ND, as a responsible political force, is not going to follow him down the road he has consciously opted for," the statement read.

    The party's executive committee met a few hours after the new exchange, chaired by Mr. Evert, and discussed opposition tactics and deputy leader Ioannis Varvitsiotis' proposal for an enlarged representation at the party congress.

    Before the session began, Mr. Evert, referring to yesterday's nationwide mobilizations in protest against the government's economic policy, said:

    "Today, the Greek people have given a sound answer to the trustworthiness of the government with the strike mobilization which met with success at all levels. The success of this strike sends messages to both the government and opposition. We have an obligation to stand by the working citizen, beginning with the farmer who has mobilized in Thessaly, but also by the wage earner and pensioner."

    [17] Greece aims at alliances with other EU states on IGC issues, G. Papandreou says

    Athens, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday that his ongoing contacts with European counterpart s were aimed at establishing "alliances" between Greece and other EU member states in view of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC).

    One of the main issues of the "tough negotiations" being conducted by the 15 EU members, Mr. Papandreou told a press conference, is that of "flexibility".

    He said the issue concerned "the ability of certain countries to create an interest group and take advantage of Community institutions and funds as well as to create different speeds".

    "The Greek position is that a policy of flexibility would undermine the unity of the EU and lead to the creation of a 'directorate' and different speeds," he noted.

    A policy of flexibility is supported by France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

    In view of EU enlargement, Mr. Papandreou said problems in certain sectors could be resolved with the flexibility issue, but that such problems should be chosen on the basis of strict criteria.

    As examples, he cited the conclusion of defense agreements and incorporation of the Schengen Accord, aimed at removing border controls and enabling the free movement of people within an EU framework.

    The second major issue which is expected to occupy the IGC, Mr. Papandreou said, was that of "institutional reform".

    "On this issue Greece, together with the smaller states, believes that the existing balance in Community bodies satisfactorily reflects the demographic characteristics of the EU member-states, and in the event that there is a reduction in the number of Commissioners, this reduction should come from the larger countries, so that the smaller ones have at least one Commissioner," Mr. Papandreou said. Another important issue, he added, was that of a common foreign policy and "the prospect of developing a defense identity for Europe".

    "Greece acknowledges the difficulty of incorporating in the new treaty a clause providing for automatic defense support to a member-state, but has set as a target the inclusion in the treaty of a 'solidarity' clause and respect for the inviolability of borders and territorial integrity and political independence of member-states," Mr. Papandreou said.

    Replying to questions, he said that with respect to negotiations on security, Greece had a "strong card", namely the particular importance attached to the issue by the Greek Parliament, "which in the last analysis will ratify the new treaty."

    Regarding the further course of the IGC, he said the Irish presidency's final text will be issued in Brussels on Dec. 6 and 7, which will be evaluated and amended during the Dublin summit.

    The aim of the 15 EU member-states is for there to be a final decision in June 1997, during the Dutch presidency's summit meeting.

    Mr. Papandreou also noted that the forthcoming elections in Britain, scheduled for May 1997, could influence the course of negotiations.

    [18] Vartholomeos concludes tour of Far East

    Istanbul, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos returned to Istanbul yesterday after an extended visit to Australia, where he toured Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney.

    On his return, he praised what he called the "significant achievements in all sectors of the clearly ecclesiastical, educational, social and other activities of the Archbishopry," and noted the contribution of Archbishop Stylianos in the Orthodox Church 's achievements in Australia.

    In Canberra, Australian Prime Minister John Howard held an official dinner in honor of the Patriarch, who met with all prime ministers of the states he visited.

    Patriarch Vartholomeos also visited New Zealand during a tour of the Far East, while he earlier visited Hong Kong, where he founded the new Orthodox Metropolis of Southeast Asia.

    [19] Archbishop Anastasios meets with premier

    Athens, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    Archbishop of Tirana and all Albania Anastasios visited Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday, saying afterwards that the premier is particularly interested in relations in the Balkans and promotion of co-operation and friendly communication among Balkan countries.

    Anastasios said he has been in Albania for some five and a half years to restore the Autocephalus Orthodox Church of Albania and to promote friendship, co-operation and mutual understanding. Consequently, he added, the exchange of views and opinions in such a climate is always useful. Asked whether relations with the Tirana government have improved, the Archbishop said "there is a course of improvement in relations."

    [20] Greek-Yugoslav investment agreement readied

    Belgrade, 29/11/1996 (ANA - M. Mouratidis)

    A joint Yugoslav and Greek committee is scheduled to convene in Athens on Dec. 5 and 6 in order to discuss the drafting of an agreement for the mutual promotion and protection of investments as well as avoidance of double taxation.

    According to a Greek embassy official here, the agreements will be signed during Prime Minister Costas Simitis' visit to Belgrade, expected early next year.

    He added that a committee of Greek experts will soon be established to consider details of granting Yugoslavia export credits to the tune of US$100 million.

    Athens has also expressed a willingness to organize seminars for the briefing of Yugoslav businessmen on EU regulations, so as to make more effective its co-operation with European firms.

    [21] Survey reveals that one in 10 Austrians plans to spend 1997 vacation in Greece

    Vienna, 29/11/1996 (ANA - D. Dimitrakoudis)

    One in 10 Austrians over the age of 16 intends to spend their holidays next year in Greece, according to results from a survey.

    Greece is second on a list of preferred holiday destinations for Austrians with 10 per cent, behind Italy with 11 per cent and followed by Spain with 8 per cent.

    The survey's results, which were announced yesterday, revealed that 43 per cent of Austrians intend to spend their vacations in a European country, while 22 per cent will spend them within Austria itself.

    The poll's results are deemed to be particularly encouraging for the Greek tourism sector, particularly after pessimistic predictions made two months ago following the bankruptcy of the large Austrian travel agent Itas, which specialized in holidays to Greece and was owned by a Greek expatriate businessman.

    Last year, roughly 500,000 Austrian tourists visited Greece.

    [22] National Bank lowers interests rates for deposits

    Athens, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    The National Bank of Greece has announced a significant decrease in interest rates for deposits by half a percentage point, which fall to 10.75 per cent from 11.25 per cent, while the current accounts interest rate will be set at 9.25 per cent from 9.75 per cent.

    At the same time lending rates will decrease by 0.25 per cent.

    The Ionian Bank will also slash deposit interest rates by half a percentage point as of Monday, while similar moves by the Credit Bank are expected with interest.

    The National Bank's working capital lending rate will be 17.50 per cent; for fixed assets 16.25 per cent, and for fluctuating housing loans 15.25 per cent.

    Ionian's interest rates for deposits will be 11 per cent.

    [23] Motion tabled to confiscate Delta Brokerage's assets

    Athens, 29/11/1996 (ANA)

    A special judicial investigator is continuing the main investigation over a 2.6 billion drachmas default at the Athens Stock Exchange by the Delta Brokerage firm, while a motion was submitted to an Athens court yesterday by the bourse's common and consenting capital insurance.

    The motion, to be discussed on Dec. 17, calls for confiscation of Delta's movable and immovable assets up to the amount of four billion drachmas for losses sustained.

    The main lawsuit on the same issue will be examined in about four months' time.

    End of English language section.

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