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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 98-02-12

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 1414), February 12, 1998

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


  • [01] Gov't says no activity underway in relation with Iraqi crisis
  • [02] Tsovolas calls for peaceful resolution to Iraq crisis
  • [03] Turkish interest in US-made F-15s
  • [04] Violations of Greek airspace by Turkish warplanes reported
  • [05] Ex-Turkish navy chief: Ciller favored confrontation during Imia crisis
  • [06] Simitis confers with defense minister
  • [07] Increased domestic participation in defense purchases a Gov't goal
  • [08] Gov't says no change in air corridors over Aegean
  • [09] PM's representatives at Italian Democratic Left Party meeting
  • [10] Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister on official visit to Athens
  • [11] Mitsotakis, Burns discuss US-Greek relations
  • [12] 'Factual error' in annual US State Dept. report on human rights
  • [13] Gov't promotes Greece's role in Balkans
  • [14] G. Papandreou speaks at event on Greek-Turkish relations
  • [15] Discord surfaces in PASOK Youth Organization
  • [16] Stephanopoulos sends telegram to Georgian president
  • [17] Papadopoulos presents new civil servants code to premier
  • [18] Gov't, opposition clash over 2004 bill
  • [19] Parliament dig reveals rare Herma column
  • [20] Avramopoulos to run as independent candidate for regions committee
  • [21] Archbishop Serapheim released from hospital
  • [22] Farmers bring demands to table with government
  • [23] ... Simitis: Farmers' demands unrealistic
  • [24] ... Karamanlis reaction
  • [25] Greece to give EU its euro plan by May
  • [26] Papantoniou sees rate decline in second half of '98
  • [27] Rates slip after central bank intervention
  • [28] Survival of Olympic Airways in jeopardy - transport minister
  • [29] Greek stocks jump on declining rates
  • [30] 16.6 billion drachmas for infrastructure works
  • [31] Qualitative control body for public works set up
  • [32] Formation of joint pipeline company in March
  • [33] Provision on sea men's benefits within EU discussed

  • [01] Gov't says no activity underway in relation with Iraqi crisis

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    The government yesterday described as "usual" the activity at air bases on Crete, saying it was in no way related to developments in the ongoing Iraqi crisis.

    Government spokesman Demetris Reppas said aircraft of foreign countries whose final destination was Cyprus had passed through the airports at Souda and Irakleio.

    He stressed that this activity was in no way related to the tension in the Persian Gulf.

    Asked about Greece's position on the crisis, Mr. Reppas replied that weapons of mass destruction should not be produced or used, UN Security Council resolutions should be implemented and solutions should be sought through diplomatic channels in order to avert military action.

    The government spokesman clarified that Greece had received no US request concerning co-operation over the crisis and Athens had not been asked to provide any facilities or to participate in any such co-operation.

    [02] Tsovolas calls for peaceful resolution to Iraq crisis

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Demetris Tsovolas yesterday expressed his party's complete opposition to the use of military force against Iraq, whether by the United Nations or any other country.

    Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Iraqi Consul Hazan Altayar, Mr. Tsovolas said "such problems must be resolved by peaceful means, through diplomatic channels and not by undertaking military action".

    "It is unacceptable that the civilian population of Iraq should have to pay, with a years-long embargo, the designs of the major powers and their economic interests in the region," Mr. Tsovolas said.

    At yesterday's meeting, Mr. Altayar briefed the DHKKI leader on the latest developments in the Persian Gulf.

    [03] Turkish interest in US-made F-15s

    Washington, 12/02/1998 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    Ankara has shown interest in purchasing F-15E warplanes from the United States and has requested information from the US Air Force on the specific aircraft, according to a report in the latest edition of the defense-related magazine "Defense News."

    The magazine said that Ankara's intention is the result of interest shown by Greece to purchase about 30 fighters of this type.

    A Turkish defense ministry official confirmed Turkey's intentions and told "Defense News" that Ankara is "viewing the issue as seriously as the Greeks are. Certain balances must be preserved. If Greece is interested in purchasing the F-15s, then we will also be interested in purchasing two squadrons. And since the US has given initial permission for a possible sale to Greece we do not expect to face problems if we wish to purchase the aircraft."

    With a relevant application sent on Feb. 5, Turkey requested that Turkish pilots visit the US to familiarize themselves with the F-15Es and receive relevant technical information.

    [04] Violations of Greek airspace by Turkish warplanes reported

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Several Turkish warplanes yesterday violated Greek national airspace and repeatedly infringed on Athens FIR regulations over the Aegean.

    According to reports, 18 Turkish F-16s, all armed, entered the Athens FIR between 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. without submitting previous flight plans. The Turkish warplanes infringed on flight regulations nine times, and violated Greek national airspace 19 times in the areas between Hios-Lesvos and Lesvos-Limnos.

    Violations and infringements also took place outside the areas designated by Turkey for its current aeronautical exercises. In all cases, the Turkish fighters were intercepted by Hellenic Air Force F-16s and Mirage 2000s, while in six cases the interceptions developed into engagements.

    [05] Ex-Turkish navy chief: Ciller favored confrontation during Imia crisis

    Istanbul, 12/02/1998 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Former Turkish prime minister Tansu Ciller and her foreign minister Deniz Baykal were in favor of a military confrontation with Greece during the Imia crisis in late January 1996, then Turkish navy chief G. Erkaya said during a Turkish television program yesterday.

    Mr. Baykal was in favor of a confrontation from early on in the stand-off, the admiral said in reference to a meeting on Jan. 29, but the idea "caused fear to the others".

    He also revealed that Ms Ciller was putting pressure on him to speed up the occupation of the smaller of the two Imia islets - an idea put forward at the meeting by ambassador Inal Batu, head of the foreign ministry department for relations with Greece and Cyprus - in an attempt to create fait accomplis before diplomatic efforts bore fruit. Later, however, when then US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke began his mediation efforts, Ms Ciller asked for a delay in the operation, the admiral said.

    "The idea to send marines to the second island reduced the danger of a direct confrontation, Mr. Batu said in the same program.

    Mr. Erkaya added the decision was finalized on Jan. 30, but when Ms Ciller asked for the delay he advised this was dangerous ("we couldn't leave the boys in the water".) The Turkish marines finally reached the island probably after swimming underwater from a nearby Turkish navy vessel.

    Holbrooke, who appeared in the same program, said Ms Ciller was friendly in their first contact ("hello Richard"), but would later not come to the phone.

    Turkey's dispute of Greek sovereignty over the Imia islets brought the two countries to the brink of conflict in late January 1996.

    [06] Simitis confers with defense minister

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday met with National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and discussed the ministry's priorities.

    Informed sources later said that the two men discussed "changes in the Greek armed forces' structure, mainly concerning the 2nd army corps in northern Greece, as well as the army's armaments program currently in process".

    They also discussed the annual process of promotions and retirements of officers in the Armed Forces, which begin on March 1.

    [07] Increased domestic participation in defense purchases a Gov't goal

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    The government aims to increase the participation of Greece's defense industry in procurements by the armed forces, National Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos reiterated yesterday.

    Such participation amounted to 400 billion drachmas, or 38 per cent in 1997, he specified.

    For 1998, he added, the Hellenic Aerospace Industry (EAB) aimed to eliminate its deficit, after having increased turnover to 49 billion drachmas last year from 31 billion in 1996.

    Already, EAB is participating in the upgrading of the Hellenic Air Force's F-4s (Phantoms), is entering the telecommunications sector through the Hermes system for the Hellenic Army, and is involved in an avionics program for the armed forces' C-130 transport planes.

    [08] Gov't says no change in air corridors over Aegean

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Three main air corridors within Greek national airspace, which had been temporarily suspended due to the Yugoslav crisis, will soon be brought back into service, government spokesman Demetris Reppas said yesterday.

    He also denied that the intergovernmental agency responsible for air corridors, Euro-control, has instructed that additional routes be created outside the Aegean, specifying that for any such changes Athens' agreement was necessary.

    The Athens daily 'Eleftherotypia' reported yesterday that relevant decisions will be made at a conference in Antalya, Turkey, at the end of March.

    [09] PM's representatives at Italian Democratic Left Party meeting

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    An advisor to the premier and a member of ruling PASOK's international relations bureau will represent PASOK leader Costas Simitis at an Italian leftist meeting organized by the Italian Democratic Left Party (PDS), beginning tomorrow.

    Nikos Themelis and Costas Stephanou, respectively, will represent Mr. Simitis.

    The Greek premier has sent a message to Massimo D'Alema, the national secretary of the PDS, thanking him for the invitation to participate.

    The PM is unable to attend due to previous commitments.

    "We need to give a contemporary substance to our founding values and principles, to pose again questions and given new responses. We need to choose new instruments for action, to reactivate our societies, to expand our abilities," Mr. Simitis' message t o Mr. D'Alema read.

    "In many European cities, the attempt to create the European reality of tomorrow on new bases is being attempted. We can and must succeed, even if in different countries we follow different paths," he said.

    [10] Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister on official visit to Athens

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Manh Cam will meet Premier Costas Simitis tomorrow in the framework of talks being held within the framework of bilateral relations between Athens and Hanoi.

    Mr. Kam, who is also his country's foreign minister, will meet with Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou today.

    [11] Mitsotakis, Burns discuss US-Greek relations

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Honorary New Democracy president and former prime minister Constantine Mitsotakis yesterday held talks on foreign policy and Greek-US relations with US Ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns.

    Speaking to reporters later, Mr. Burns described Mr. Mitsotakis as a "friend of the United States" and pointed out that he had previously held such meetings with main opposition ND leader Costas Karamanlis, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga, and MPs of the opposition parties.

    Asked whether he considered that the crisis in the New Democracy party could potentially destabilize the Greek political scene, Mr. Burns replied that "this is not a question to be answered by an ambassador, but should be answered by the Greeks, not the Americans".

    "We respect this country, with which we have a great friendship," he said.

    [12] 'Factual error' in annual US State Dept. report on human rights

    Washington, 12/02/1998 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    The US State Department yesterday expressed its regret for what it termed a "factual error" included in the recently released annual report it compiles on human rights around the world.

    US State Department spokesman James Rubin said Washington's embassy in Athens has issued an announcement explaining the issue in detail.

    [13] Gov't promotes Greece's role in Balkans

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greece is developing into a force of stability and economic growth, while it promotes democratic values, respect for human rights and co-operation amongst peoples, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou told a session of the "Association for Democracy in the Balkans" yesterday in Thessaloniki.

    The meeting was attended by academics, business figures and reporters.

    Mr. Papandreou pointed out Greece's good ties with Balkan states, telling participants that the government was making efforts to expand its role in the region, while that role should be supplemented by activities on the part of banks and the business world, as well as by universities.

    [14] G. Papandreou speaks at event on Greek-Turkish relations

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday spoke on the need to create channels of communication between the Greek and the Turkish peoples, at an event organized by the Coalition for the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) in Thessaloniki.

    Mr. Papandreou added that the governments of both countries should work for such channels so as to lead Turkey closer to the conditions set by the European Union on Turkey's accession.

    Mr. Papandreou defended the government's decision to take recourse to the International Court at The Hague to solve the problems between the two states.

    Main opposition New Democracy party deputy Marietta Yiannakou-Koutsikou, in addressing the event, said Greece should create a strategy through the study of Turkey and the international conditions and interests in the region.

    [15] Discord surfaces in PASOK Youth Organization

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    The "modernizers" faction will not participate in sessions of the forthcoming PASOK Youth Organization congress, according to the faction's spokesman.

    He made the announcement during an unscheduled press conference yesterday, while also accusing the leading organizing team of preparing a "parody congress".

    "We want a congress of essence and dialogue, not of backstage developments," Yiannis Papademetriou stressed.

    Mr. Papademetriou further said his "pro-Simitis" faction had collected registration applications by 8,000 new members, but in spite of a previous understanding, most of them were rejected by the group's leadership.

    The youth group's central council, the majority of which are influenced by current secretary Tonia Antoniou, decried the modernizers' decision, and called on them to reconsider.

    The crisis in the PASOK Youth Organization was sparked after disagreements over the limited preparation time for the congress, as well as over violations of the group's charter.

    [16] Stephanopoulos sends telegram to Georgian president

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's President Kostis Stephanopoulos yesterday sent a telegram to his Georgian counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze expressing relief that he survived the assassination attempt against him.

    Commenting Tuesday on the attempt against Mr. Shevardnadze's life, the government said it was unacceptable for differences to be settled in such a manner.

    "Mr. Shevardnadze is an international figure who ensures stability in his country and plays a positive role in international developments," government spokesman Demetris Reppas said.

    Approximately 15 assassins ambushed Shevardnadze's motorcade with anti-tank grenades and automatic weapons in Tbilisi on Monday night. Two of the president's bodyguards were killed in the attack while a further four traveling in the motorcade are reported to be in serious condition.

    One of the attackers was also reported killed.

    [17] Papadopoulos presents new civil servants code to premier

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister Alekos Papadopoulos presented the new civil servants code to Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday.

    The code contains important innovations concerning civil servants' ranks and the inter-ministerial and disciplinary sectors.

    Mr. Papadopoulos said the new code anticipates a mixed rank system (mobile and fixed) in which directors and general directors will be permanent, while mobile ranks will reach the rank of deputy director.

    Another innovation concerns the expansion of the implementation of inter-ministerial sectors, starting from certain basic specialties (such as the informatics sector).

    Mr. Papadopoulos said regular leave of absence will remain as it is, adding that in the case of special leave (such as pregnancy) the proposals of the ministry's relevant committee, which he will receive today, will apply.

    The text of the new code will be sent to the political parties, the Parliamentary Labor Sector of the ruling PASOK party and the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY) in the next few days before being forwarded to Parliament.

    Mr. Papadopoulos also briefed Mr. Simitis on Presidential Decrees concerning the transfer of duties to regional services.

    [18] Gov't, opposition clash over 2004 bill

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Despite public proclamations of national consensus from all political parties on the issue of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the sentiment failed to carry over into the first meeting of the parliamentary committee convened to discuss the bill on the organization of the games.

    Ruling PASOK party and opposition New Democracy deputies clashed over procedural issues at the meeting yesterday before going on to disagree on the competencies of the national and organizing committees.

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said the government would not allow the Olympic Games to become "the playing field of futile opposition".

    New Democracy deputy Fani Palli-Petralia said ND would vote against the legislation which, she said, "turns 2004 from a national goal and incentive for growth into a hothouse of scandals".

    She said the bill did not meet the three conditions for the success of the Games: transparency, unanimity and effectiveness.

    [19] Parliament dig reveals rare Herma column

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Archaeological excavations in the grounds of the parliament building have revealed an inscripted Herma column complete with a bust of Eupolis, the Athenian comic poet whose satirical plays were greatly admired by the ancients.

    The two-meter pillar, dating back to early Roman times, was enclosed in the wall of a Roman building which collapsed following an earthquake.

    The most common monument to the Olympian god Hermes, a Herma was a stone pillar, usually with a carved bust on top, often placed at the side of roads.

    A similar pillar with a bust of the prominent stoic philosopher Chrysippos was found in the same vicinity in April last year.

    The Eupolis find is considered to be of particular importance, since it provides the first image of the poet, a contemporary of Aristophanes, with whom he seems to have collaborated but also attacked.

    Although he is credited with at least 17 comedies, only fragments of Eupolis' work survive.

    Eupolis died in 411 BC when he was not much older than 19 years of age, possibly in a battle at Hellespont during the Peloponnesian War. According to historical sources, his death led to the passing of a law in Athens exempting poets from military service.

    [20] Avramopoulos to run as independent candidate for regions committee

    Brussels, 12/02/1998 (ANA- M. Spinthourakis)

    Athens Mayor Demetris Avramopoulos said yesterday he would run as an independent candidate for president of the regions committee, which will convene in plenum on Feb. 18.

    He made the announcement in a statement to Belgian media.

    [21] Archbishop Serapheim released from hospital

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Serapheim left an Athens hospital at noon yesterday after undergoing kidney dialysis.

    Archbishop Serapheim had entered the hospital on Monday to undergo dialysis, to which he has been subjected three times a week in past years. However, a sudden illness was the reason he was subjected to further medical tests.

    [22] Farmers bring demands to table with government

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    A crucial meeting is scheduled for today between farmers' representatives and a government delegation headed by Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas.

    The delegation includes the undersecretaries of finance George Drys; agriculture, Demetris Sotirlis and Vassilis Geranidis as well as the governor of the Agricultural Bank Panayiotis Lambrou.

    Although the meeting's agenda is open to a wide range of issues, farmers' representatives are expected to push for answers on matters related to lower fuel prices and lending rates, a doubling of VAT return coefficients and suspension of court action taken against several farmers from last year's protests.

    Mr. Tzoumakas will also brief them on the outcome of his meeting with EU Commissioner Franz Fischler and initiatives in regard to cotton, olive oil, rice etc.

    Meanwhile, during yesterday's continuing protests throughout Greece, farmers in Hania, Crete symbolically occupied an Agricultural Bank in the city to protest against the government's agricultural policy.

    At the same time, several groups of Hania farmers continued their blockade of the prefectural headquarters, to last until this afternoon.

    They said further action will depend on the results of today's meeting between farmers' representatives and Mr. Tzoumakas.

    Occasional roadblocks were set by protesting farmers yesterday in many regions around the country, most of them lasting for two hours.

    Protesting farmers in Larissa were joined yesterday by stock breeders, who spilled several tons of milk on the national road, disrupting traffic for an hour.

    [23] ... Simitis: Farmers' demands unrealistic

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Replying to questions in Parliament yesterday by ND deputy Demetris Sioufas, KKE leader Aleka Papariga and Coalition of the Left and Progress leader Nikos Constantopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis described the demands by protesting farmers as unjustifiable and unrealistic, as costs would entail an additional 920 billion drachmas.

    The PM further wondered how the state budget could secure the funds for such a huge amount.

    He said there should be a measure as to what demands the government was in a position to meet, adding however, that some of them, which he described as "special demands" could be dealt with.

    The main point in Mr. Simitis' speech was his disapproval of a re-nationalization of the policy on agriculture, saying that 49.5 per cent of farmers' income was currently coming from EU subsidies.

    He stressed that even though many member-states were demanding a cut in aid to agriculture, Greece had secured a preservation of current conditions through certain alliances.

    [24] ... Karamanlis reaction

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    On his part, main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday attacked the government for its "failure" in the agricultural sector which, it said, was characterized by "bad choices and poor negotiating at the European Union".

    He said Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas was incompetent not only to tackle but even understand farmers' problems, which ND would confront with a package of measures aimed at bringing down production costs and broad development in rural areas.

    Calling on the government to assume its responsibilities, Mr. Karamanlis accused Prime Minister Costas Simitis of "rejecting and avoiding dialogue" with the farmers.

    While stating his opposition to the blocking of roads, Mr. Karamanlis called for an end to legal proceedings against protesting farmers, lower prices for fuel used in agriculture, the payment of compensation, a specific policy on livestock farming and a final solution to the problem caused by compounding interest on overdue loans. When he visits Brussels next week, Mr. Karamanlis said, he will raise the problems faced by farmers before the competent EU bodies as a priority issue.

    [25] Greece to give EU its euro plan by May

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greece will submit to the European Union by May its plan to participate in the single European currency, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said yesterday.

    Mr. Papantoniou was addressing a national coordinating committee created to handle planning for entry into the unified European currency.

    Greece intends to join on Jan. 1, 2001.

    The government's entry plan, which includes clearing legal obstacles, is currently being drafted at the state's General Accounting Office, which belongs to the finance ministry.

    As far as the national coordinating committee for the euro is concerned, it will be responsible for preparing the nation's public administration as well as the private sector. In addition, sub-groups will consider specialized issues regarding the euro.

    According to Mr. Papantoniou, a work group will be established at the national economy ministry to cover issues related to the bourse, while a similar work group at the finance ministry will consider issues related to the public debt, payrolls and social security. Other work groups will focus on taxation, customs and banking issues.

    [26] Papantoniou sees rate decline in second half of '98

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Commercial bank interest rates on loans will begin falling again in the second half of 1998, Mr. Papantoniou predicted yesterday.

    Mr. Papantoniou said presently high interest rate levels would continue to June due to the prevailing uncertainty ahead of the official announcement in May of which European Union countries will participate in the euro, as well as the aftershocks of the recent monetary turmoil.

    He added that the government was not considering any change whatsoever to its exchange policy and that a new bill regulating the practice of compounding interest on overdue loans would be announced on Tuesday.

    [27] Rates slip after central bank intervention

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Interbank rates remained on a steady, although slow, declining trend with the help of an intervention yesterday by the Bank of Greece.

    The central bank's overnight intervention rate dropped to 17.5 per cent from 18 per cent last week. The bank drained 200 billion drachmas of excess liquidity from the market.

    The drachma was slightly higher against the deutschmark at the central bank's daily fixing in the domestic foreign exchange market. The Greek currency was stable against the ECU but fell slightly against the US dollar.

    [28] Survival of Olympic Airways in jeopardy - transport minister

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Transport Minister Tassos Mantelis warned yesterday that the future of state-run Olympic Airways (OA) was in jeopardy if, within a two-month period set by the government, efforts to revitalize the national carrier are not found.

    Mr. Mantelis made the statement when asked if OA management was ready to enter into talks with the various trade union groups representing the carrier's employees.

    He said OA management was already formulating a framework for talks and employees would soon be invited to state their positions on proposals.

    When asked to comment on a Supreme Council for the Selection of Personnel (ASEP) report citing irregularities in recent hiring procedures at OA and a recommendation by ASEP that the matter be referred to a public prosecutor, Mr. Mantelis said he did not intend to cover anything up.

    The government is determined to resolve the situation at Olympic Airways, spokesman Demetris Reppas said later.

    "Olympic Airways is a key public service and the state, Olympic's management as well as the employees must do their utmost to contribute and deal with the problems facing this major company," Mr. Reppas said.

    He said problems at OA were "pressing" and added that urban transport organizations, Greek Railways and the Post Offices were next in line for revitalization.

    [29] Greek stocks jump on declining rates

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greek equities ended sharply higher yesterday on the Athens Stock Exchange reflecting the market's relief over a steady decline in interbank rates.

    The general index closed 1.55 percent up at 1,532.62 points with most sector indices scoring gains.

    Banks rose 1.55 percent, Insurance surged 3.17 percent, Investment was 0.82 percent up, Construction increased 1.96 percent, Industrials rose 1.25 percent, Miscellaneous soared 2.71 percent and Holding was 1.47 percent higher. Leasing bucked the trend to end 0.28 percent down.

    The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.20 percent up. The FTSE/ASE blue chip index rose 1.40 percent to end at 858.69 points.

    Trading was heavy with turnover at 20.2 billion drachmas.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 138 to 72 with another 34 issues unchanged.

    Keranis, Hellenic Sugar, Endisi and Gener scored the biggest percentage gains at the daily 8.0 percent upper volatility limit, while Athinea, Fourlis, Pairis and Balkan Export suffered the heaviest losses at the daily 8.0 percent limit down.

    National Bank of Greece ended at 23,550 drachmas, Ergobank at 15,600, Alpha Credit Bank at 16,870, Delta Dairy at 2,985, Titan Cement at 14,490, Intracom at 15,800 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization at 6,015.

    [30] 16.6 billion drachmas for infrastructure works

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    Greece's public works ministry yesterday endorsed the release of 16.6 billion drachmas in funds in order to tender infrastructure works around the country.

    The main road, airport renewal and flood prevention projects are as follows:

    - Improvements to roads in the prefecture of Aitoloakarnania, budgeted at four billion drachmas. - Landslide repairs to the Evinos Dam and road repair works in the area, budgeted at four billion drachmas. - Extension of Aktio Airport, budgeted at 3.4 billion drachmas. - Extension of Skiathos Airport, budgeted at 2.7 billion drachmas.

    [31] Qualitative control body for public works set up

    Athens, 12/02/1998 (ANA)

    National Economy Under-secretary Christos Pachtas and Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Under-secretary Christos Verelis signed a joint decision yesterday, determining the method and operation of the Special Qualitative Control Advisor (ESPEL) for public works being carried out by all bodies in the public sector that are being jointly financed by the European Union.

    ESPEL will carry out on-the-spot controls at about 1,500 projects.

    Among others, ESPEL will conduct qualitative and quantitative controls at public works already carried out, which are being carried out and will be carried out in the framework of the 2nd Community Support Framework. Projects subject to control are regional or national ones as well as major projects.

    Secondly, it will select and propose works which will be subject to control every three months. The frequency and kind of controls depend on the contractual requirements and character of the project.

    [32] Formation of joint pipeline company in March

    Sofia, 12/02/1998 (ANA - B. Borisov)

    The joint firm Interbalkan Pipeline will probably be established in March with the participation of representatives from Greece, Bulgaria and Russia with the purpose of starting preparations for construction work on the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline, Deputy Prime Minister Yevgeni Bakarziev announced here yesterday.

    The strategic project is assessed at about US$750 million, according to the Bulgarian official, who referred to the project and other investment plans in an address at a conference for foreign investors.

    According to Mr. Bakarziev, the cost of building the pipeline between Burgas-Vlore, Albania, via the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) will exceed one billion dollars.

    Mr. Bakarziev and other members of the Bulgarian government presented programs to 70 foreign investors concerning the modernization of the ports of Burgas and Varna, Sofia airport and many other investment opportunities in the framework of Bulgaria's extensive privatization program.

    Greek executive Christos Katsanis, an executive director of the National Bank's branch office and president of the federation of foreign investors in the country, said the Sofia conference on investments was an important and useful initiative to attract foreign investments to Bulgaria.

    [34] Provision on sea men's benefits within EU discussed

    Brussels, 12/02/1998 (ANA - G. Daratos)

    Seamen working on passenger ships carrying out regular routes between European Union ports will have, regardless of whether they are citizens of EU member-states, the same social benefits anticipated by EU legislation in EU member-states.

    This is the focal point of a labor document by the European Commission whose content was discussed in Brussels yesterday by Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis and EU Transport Commissioner Neil Kinnock.

    According to reports, the measure is aimed at strengthening employment for EU seamen and regulates conditions concerning the manning of passenger ships carrying out sailings from one EU country to another.

    Mr. Kinnock appeared positive to an idea by Greece that the measure should be extended beyond passenger ships carrying out regular sailings between EU countries to cruise ships which employ many people who will benefit from this clause.

    End of English language section.

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