|Wednesday, 22 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-01-21
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Papandreou, Cem sign four cooperation agreements in Ankara
ANKARA, 21/01/2000 (ANA)Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou was received in Ankara Thursday afternoon by Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, who emphasized that the Greek ministers official visit to the neighboring country as a good beginning.
The ever-growing rapprochement between Athens and Ankara was, in fact, underlined in the Turkish capital throughout the day, as Papandreou not only signed four bilateral agreements but also returns home with an invitation for the Greek premier to visit Turkey.
In a meeting earlier in the day, Turkish Premier Bulent Ecevit conveyed the invitation towards his Greek counterpart, Costas Simitis, to officially visit Turkey, just before Papandreou signed the four low-level agreements with Turkish FM Ismail Cem - on tourism, environmental protection, citizens security and the safeguarding of investments. In return, Papandreou relayed a message from Simitis to the Turkish premier.
We must fully exploit the climate that has developed to Greek-Turkish relations, Demirel said in referring to Greek-Turkish relations. He added that Turkeys designation as a European Union candidate state also created a new climate.
On his part, Papandreou mentioned that the EU framework comprises a new field for dialogue.
Greece is in favor of the development of dialogue between the two countries, and on an international level the Greek minister added.
Demirel also expressed his faith that the agreements, which were signed this morning, will inaugurate a new phase in our relations, before stressing that from now on, visits should be more frequent.
Speaking earlier at a joint press conference after a signing ceremony, both countries foreign ministers - the point-men in burgeoning Greek-Turkish contacts over the past year - referred to the significant and successful outcome in a difficult procedure begun over the past six months.
"No one believed before six months that we could end up where we are today," Cem said, adding that differences between the two countries remain.
Both ministers also stressed that their goal is to formulate a procedure allowing for a different approach to current problems and their subsequent solution.
Referring to such a framework, Papandreou cited the idea of reviving the so-called "committee of wise men" to discuss certain issues now separating the two countries, as well as the creation of a committee comprised of armed forces representatives and experts from both countries to focus on military issues.
In regard to the long-standing Cyprus problem -- one of the paramount obstacles preventing full Greek-Turkish rapprochement and cooperation -- both ministers mentioned that the divisive issue was discussed, while simply noting that support for the current round UN-sponsored talks is necessary.
"No one supported that there aren't problems," Papandreou emphasized in concluding the press conference, before reiterating that the entire "successful and fruitful" procedure envisions the creation of conditions for the tackling of any problems that exist.
Other areas where cooperation, sans economic, could be sought included references to the joint holding of a European football championship; Turkey's participation in the first-ever "cultural Olympiad", slated for Athens in 2004; as well as the creation of a special committee to transfer Greek know-how to Turkey in regards to its European Union experience.
"We feel we can use Greece's experience and avoid possible mistakes Greece may have made in the past," Cem said.
Prior to the signing, Papandreou laid a wreath at the mausoleum of modern Turkey's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Greek Gov't spokesman: In Athens, meanwhile, the government called Papandreou's official visit to Turkey a "positive event".
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the positive climate now existing between the two countries should be proved, adding that the recent EU summit in Helsinki was a milestone for Athens as far as the course for Greek-Turkish rapprochement was concerned.
Cem proposes measures to decrease tension in Aegean: Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem proposed a series of measures to further decrease tension in the Aegean in talks in Ankara on Thursday with visiting Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou.
"We proposed a batch of confidence-building measures," Cem said at a joint press conference, adding that "the measures include a decrease in exercises, the disarming of military aircraft, courtesy visits to ports and the exchange of information."
Papandreou said the Greek defense ministry, from where a continuation of the relevant discussion would follow would discuss the proposals. Cem said tension in the Aegean had already decreased considerably and that further measures would help in eradicating it completely.
Papandreou addresses university students: Greece and Turkey are creating a new beginning with hope for the future, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou said Thursday in an address at the Orta Dogu Teknik Universitesi (Middle Eastern Technical University) in Ankara.
"We are creating a new beginning looking at the past with pride and at the future with hope," Papandreou said quoting late premier Eleftherios Venizelos' speech in Turkey 65 years ago.
"Honesty is the most important element in Greek-Turkish relations," Papandreou stressed, adding "I will be honest with you, Cyprus was and remains a 'wound' in Greek-Turkish relations".
"I was in Cyprus two weeks ago and I can reassure you that the Greek-Cypriot youth wants to meet with the Turks and Turkish-Cypriots, wants joint meetings and joint organizations with you. Regarding the Cyprus issue we should obey the diplomacy of the people," he said to the audience of mainly students.
"We convinced our European partners that Turkey should have a real and not nominal candidacy status. It is, however, very important that everyone of you understands, believes and lives by the principles and values of Europe," he concluded.
Turkish media awards to Greek Journalists: The Turkish Union of Radio and Television Journalists on Thursday in Ankara awarded Athens News Agency Journalist Anny Podimata and Alpha Television Newscaster Nikos Evangelatos with the Annual Turkish Television Oskars.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and his Greek counterpart George Papandreou handed the awards.
 US sees 'hopeful signs' for progress on Cyprus issue, envoy says
NICOSIA, 21/01/2000 (CNA/ANA)The year 2000 will provide the opportunity to make progress on the Cyprus issue, US Ambassador to Cyprus Donald Bandler said on Thursday adding that at the end of 1999 "some significant, positive things happened".
Speaking after a meeting with President Glafcos Clerides, he said the US "see hopeful signs" in regards to the Cyprus issue and are "working on practical areas of cooperation" between the two communities on the island.
He said his meeting with President Clerides was "excellent" and "very substantive" noting "we reviewed the Cyprus question, looking into building a substantive dialogue, which began in New York and to advance this process".
He added that they also discussed the European Union Helsinki summit results "which should facilitate our ability to advance this process", as he remarked.
Bandler pointed out that "there is an ongoing effort which we will be engaging with the parties working with the UN and other interested countries to identify areas of convergence and to narrow the differences".
The US Ambassador stressed that practical cooperation between the two communities is "very important and goes on all the time", noting however, that it "is not directly or indirectly connected with the talks" on the Cyprus issue.
"We are working here across the island on practical areas of cooperation, for example the recent announcement of phase one of the project to restore Apostle Andreas Monastery and the Hala Sultan Mosque," Bandler said.
 Money surpasses the Green Line'ANKARA, 21/01/2000 (CAN/ANA)
Turkey's Finance Ministry has issued a decree which determines the rate of exchange of the Turkish Lira against the Cyprus Pound for the first time since Turkey invaded the island in 1974 and occupied 37 par cent of its territory.
Turkish daily "Milliyet", in an article entitled "Money surpasses the Green Line" said the decree was published in the country's official gazette and said one Cyprus Pound equals to 952.000 Turkish Lira.
According to the newspaper, the decision was taken because many Turkish Cypriots are paid in Cyprus pounds and exchange their money in the black market.
 Karamanlis charges gov't with indifference, promises broad tax reform
Athens, 21/01/2000 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis on Thursday charged the government with following policies which ignored the everyday problems of ordinary citizens and with putting off the tackling of pressing economic issues.
"In order to achieve nominal convergence, it followed policies which ignored the problems of everyday life and put off serious economic issues, such as competitiveness, unemployment, public debt and the widening of social and regional inequalities until a later date, while also ignoring the dangers appearing in the new era," he said in an address to the Association of Greek Industries (SEB) on the Greek economy.
He accused the government of "listening only to Brussels," and said a basic principle of his party's government program would be the reaching of a broad consensus and the creation of a new framework of possibilities for the country, for the achievement of best results in the shortest possible time.
Setting out ND's economic program, Karamanlis said his party's prominent goal was fiscal streamlining through a reduction in public debt interest charges and a price-indexation of increases in primary budget spending.
"New Democracy is planning a deep tax reform which will provide relief to those who have been permanently subjected to an unfair taxation system and will serve the aim of growth. The taxation system today is not characterized only by an unfair distribution of burdens, but also by complexity and continuous changes, a high cost of management, inadequate auditing mechanisms and a lack of consistency and general principles," he said.
He further referred to the creation of a strong framework -providing tax incentives and easier access to sources of finance- within which small and medium-sized businesses, the self-employed, young farmers and the tourism industry would be able to flourish.
Karamanlis said the stock exchange was an investment and development tool, but the current situation betrayed a lack of maturity and responsibility on the part of the state, alongside an inadequate institutional framework, inertia in the application of the necessary measures and a lack of knowledge and experience on the part of thousands of small-time investors.
 Greek-Hungarian FM discuss Hungary's EU accession
BUDAPEST, 21/01/2000 (ANA)Alternate Foreign Minister Christos Rokofyllos and Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Herman on Thursday discussed Hungary's European Union accession and cooperation between the two countries in the Balkans.
Rokofyllos later received representatives of the ethnic Greek community in Hungary at the Greek embassy in Budapest, as well as Greek businessmen who are active in the region.
Rokofyllos will continue his talks with Hungarian government officials on Friday.
 Date for Parliament's election of new president expected in early February
Athens, 21/01/2000 (ANA)Greek President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos is expected to meet with Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis next week in order to finalize the date whereby a Parliament plenary will convene to vote for a new president.
Kaklamanis made the statement to reporters on Thursday, adding that the date will be set at around Feb. 8.
Stephanopoulos is expected to be easily re-elected as head of state, as both ruling PASOK and main opposition New Democracy have backed his candidacy.
 Gov't spokesman points to September as likely date for elections
Athens, 21/01/2000 (ANA)The government spokesman on Thursday pointed to September as the most likely month for general elections, without however, precluding the holding of an earlier poll.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas initially cited the Constitution in mentioning September 2000 as the most likely election date, adding that elections will "take place when the government's work is concluded."
He also noted that the PASOK government is dedicated to meeting its goals, although it is also ready to face any election challenge.
 PM chairs preparatory meeting on Armed Forces armaments program
Athens, 21/01/2000 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday chaired a preparatory meeting on the Armed Forces' armaments program ahead of a KYSEA government council on foreign affairs and defense session that will discuss the program.
The meeting, which was attended by the ministers of national defense Akis Tsohatzopoulos and national economy Yannos Papantoniou, also focussed on an amendment on the penalty interest rates to be tabled in Parliament early next week
 ND asks for roll-call vote on part-privatization of EAB
Athens, 21/01/2000 (ANA)The main opposition New Democracy party on Thursday asked for a roll-call vote on the bill regarding the part-privatization of Hellenic Aerospace (EAB), saying it was opposed to handing over the industry's repair program for the Hellenic Airforce to a foreign concern.
ND deputies who took part in the ongoing debate said the party was not opposed to the privatization of a 49 percent of EAB, as the bill provides, but only to the fact that it sets narrow time limits for the selection of a strategic foreign investor.
Defense minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said the question of who the strategic investor would be was still open, and that the government viewed it as separate from the issue of the order for 52 Eurofighter planes, although it appeared that if the consortium of European countries producing the plane was the one to win the privatization tender, this would offer the optimum solution, both economically and productively.
 Tsatsos appointed Europarliament representative for the revision of the Amsterdam Treaty
Athens, 21/01/2000 (ANA)PASOK Eurodeputy Dimitris Tsatsos was appointed on Thursday as one of the two Europarliament representatives at the intergovernmental conference on the revision of the Amsterdam Treaty. The conference of European Parliament political group presidents appointed Greek PASOK Eurodeputy Dimitris Tsatsos and Christian Democrat German Eurodeputy Elmar Pruk as the two-member delegation at the conference for the revision of the Amsterdam Treaty as was decided at the European Union's Helsinki summit in December.
 Greek stocks end flat, market nervous
Athens, 21/01/2000 (ANA)Equity prices ended Thursday's session flat on the Athens Stock Exchange reflecting lack of fresh incentives and investors' worries over developments in the inflation front.
Dealers said transactions were nervous with the general index fluctuating wildly for most part of the session.
The index ended 0.02 percent higher at 5.068.36 points, sharply off the day's highs of 5,135.56 and off the day's lows of 5,031.61 points.
Turnover was a low 217 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.09 percent lower at 2,642.47 points while the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index rose 0.16 percent to 941.60.
Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: 9,202.21 -0.16% Leasing: 1,346.92 -0.24% Insurance: 3,356.74 -0.89% Investment: 2,529.42 +0.20% Construction: 3,227.39 -1.03% Industrials: 3,133.83 +0.25% Miscellaneous: 6,600.78 +0.59% Holding: 6,282.80 -0.50%
The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended at 1,606.71 points, up 0.57 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 184 to 126 with another 18 issues unchanged.
Athinea, Tegopoulos, Daring, Lampsa, Eltrak, Kyriakoulis Yachts, Sarandopoulos, Korasidis Telecom and Petropoulos ended at the day's 8.0 percent limit up. Korfil, ANEK Lines, Constantinidis, Fintexport, Rilken and European Credit suffered the heaviest losses. Neorio Shipyards, ETBA, Techniki Olympiaki and Panafon were the most heavily traded stocks.
Leading shares' closing prices (in Drs): National Bank: 21,750 Alpha Credit: 23,630 Commercial Bank: 22,600 Eurobank: 13,310 Titan Cement (c): 16,350 Hellenic Petroleum: 4,580 Intracom: 14,150 Minoan Lines: 8,120 Panafon: 4,330 Hellenic Telecoms: 7,650
 1.8 billion drachmas investment in Patras by Belgian bottle maker
Athens, 21/01/2000 (ANA)The Greek Investments Center (ELKE) on Thursday announced the establishment of the Resilux Hellas, a subsidiary of Belgian based Resilux NV, which specializes in making moulds for plastic bottles and containers.
The new unit will be established in Patra, while the total investment will reach at 1.8 billion drachmas and will be financed by the Dutch subsidiary of the mother company, Resilux Holding BV.
The first phase of production was scheduled to be completed by April this year, while the entire project will be concluded in two years. The unit will also gear toward exports to Italy, the Balkans and north Africa.
 Finance ministry considering use of Internet and credit cards
Athens, 21/01/2000 (ANA)A new era promising less bureaucracy regarding the payment of taxes will dawn in Greece as the ministry of finance was studying the possibility to use the Internet in every-day tax services and the use of credit cards for tax payments, according to a ministry announcement on Thursday.
Ministry officials noted that "very soon" taxpayers will be able to access through the Internet forms of the tax service, with the exception of forms needed for the yearly tax returns, thus avoiding delays and long cues.
Meanwhile the ministry will have a series of information pages on the Internet regarding the filling out of tax forms, thus aiding taxpayers to avoid mistakes, which number 700,000 each year.
Finally, it was announced that the ministry is holding talks with the Union of Greek Banks to find ways for taxpayers to pay their taxes with the use of their credit cards, minimizing the use of cash.
 Latsis Group to enter real estate, tourism
Athens, 21/01/2000 (ANA)The general assembly of the listed "Christoforos D. Konstantinidis S.A." construction company, decided on Thursday to rename the company to "Lamda Development-Real Estate Holdings and Management S.A.".
The Latsis investment and banking group, which recently purchased a majority of the company, intends gear the company toward real estate, tourism and commercial building complexes, a company official said.
He added that the company would focus on real estate development and management, with emphasis on high-performance projects such as the development and management of commercial centers and hotel complexes, in light of the 2004 Olympic Games.
 Cost of calls to mobile phones reduced
Athens, 21/01/2000 (ANA)The Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) and Panafon, Greece's biggest mobile telephony provider, have agreed to reduce the cost of a call from a wired to a mobile phone from 120 drachmas to 110 drachmas per minute.
OTE will charge Panafon 18 drachmas per minute for connection fees in such calls, while connection fees for calls from mobile to wired phones will go down from 10.54 drachmas to 9.72 drachmas per minute.
 Completion of first 10 km of Skopje-Thessaloniki oil pipeline hailed by FYROM premier
SKOPJE, 21/01/2000 (ANA)The completion of the first 10 km of the Skopje-Thessaloniki oil pipeline, undertaken by the Hellenic Petroleum company, was hailed on Thursday by the Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) Ljubco Georgievski in the presence of Greek Minister of Macedonia and Thrace Yiannis Magriotis.
Georgievski said this "constitutes a reply to those who disputed the agreement", adding that Hellenic Petroleum, together with the Skopje-based OKTA refinery and the state electricity company "Elektrostopanstvo", would sign an agreement soon to export electric power to Kosovo.
Georgievski and Magriotis inaugurated the Greek-owned "NIKAS" cold-cuts factory outside the city of Skopje. The factory, built in accordance with European standards, will employ 100 people and its target will be to produce 20 tones on a daily basis and 60 different types of products.
Magriotis, who said the Greek government encouraged Greek businessmen to invest in FYROM, later attended the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Greek ET3 TV channel and the FYROM state MTV TV network.
 Greeks, Italians agree all roads lead to ... the Internet
Athens, 21/01/2000 (ANA)In the days of the ancient Roman empire the world used to say that "all roads lead to Rome". Today, Greek and Italian officials and businessmen agree that "all roads lead to the Internet and to electronic commerce".
This was the conclusion of the 5th Greek-Italian Symposium, organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce for Greece, on "Electronic Commerce-A Market With No Boundaries".
E-commerce is a rapidly growing market and it is expected to gain the biggest share in the world economy in the future, Haris Anagnostakis, an ANA journalist who coordinated the symposium, said echoing the unanimous view of speakers.
P. Benetatos, Hellenic Export Promotion Organizations president, in his speech referred to the organizations initiatives to promote electronic commerce, to efforts made in the previous year to adhere to United Nations' standards and measures taken to monitor and certify products offered through the Internet.
Paolo Corbelini, Milan's Chamber of Commerce representative, described the Internet as the "sixth power". He agreed on the significance of the project but added that there must be an effort to preserving each nation's characteristics and protecting the physiognomy of the Mediterranean people, "because the United States and other powers are trying to level everything and dominate in all levels."
Greece was moving slow in promoting e-commerce compared with other developed countries, S. Karapetsis, Electronic Commerce Committee's president, said in his speech.
"There are only 50 businesses offering products throughout the Internet in Greece with the largest registering around 15 sales daily.
According to latest data, there are 360,000 Internet users in Greece, but only one-sixth of them are shopping through the Internet and mainly from foreign addresses.
G. Epitidios, OTEnet's electronic commerce executive, said Greek businessmen were not prepared to adopt to the new market and stressed the opportunities offered by the Internet for smart buys.
V. Salapatas, Greek manufacturers' representative, complained over the high costs of using the Internet.
Luigi Troiani, representative of Italy's Business Union, said that according to EU estimates e-commerce's turnover would total 1.4 trillion drachmas in 2003.
 Thessaloniki hosts two-day conference on Southeast Europe
Athens, 21/01/2000 (ANA)A society of citizens, promoting democracy and participation in the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe are the topics of a two-day conference organized in Thessaloniki, January 21-22, by the European Economic Committee (OKE) and the Royaumont Initiative for stability and good neighborliness in the region.
The conference aims at promoting an exchange of views between various groups of social and financial interests from countries participating in the Royaumont Initiative, all seeking to establish a society of citizens, an aim acknowledged as necessary by the Stability Pact for SE Europe to promote social and economic restructuring.
The conference will be held at the Macedonia Pallas hotel. The agenda includes discussion on:
A society of citizens and social dialogue as a basis for economic and social development, the restructuring process for economic and social structures as well as means and procedures to support economic and social organization in the region.
Greece's Labor and Social Security Minister, Miltiades Papaioannou, will inaugurate the conference.
The second day's agenda includes a closed-door meeting between participating Labor ministers, who are expected to sign a memorandum of principles.
 OSE pilot Intercity train to Istanbul
Athens, 21/01/2000 (ANA)The Hellenic Rail Organization (OSE) is launching on Friday a pilot Intercity train link from Alexandroupolis, northern Greece, to the Turkish city of Istanbul.
The Intercity will leave Alexandroupolis on Friday for Istanbul, and the return route to Alexandroupolis will take place on Saturday.
OSE said the pilot route was being launched on the occasion of Greek foreign minister George Papandreou's current visit to Turkey, the first official visit by a Greek foreign minister to the neighboring country since 1962.
The train will be carrying the OSE management, businessmen and journalists.
OSE said that in this way it wished to contribute to the development of Greek-Turkish economic cooperation and prove the railway's ability, in its present form, to carry out speedy, safe and high-quality transports of passengers and cargo.
 Simitis receives delegation of Greek ship owners
Athens, 21/01/2000 (ANA)A delegation of Greek ship owners met with Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Thursday at his office, following a request by the premier.
Discussions, held in the presence of Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis, focused on the course of Greece's merchant shipping sector as well as the national registry of vessels, EU policy and Greek national policy in the shipping sector.
Another issue brought up by the Union of Greek Ship owners' (EEE) presidium touched on the issue seamen and officers' training, in order to attract more Greek youth towards a career in the merchant marine.
On his part, the Prime Minister called for greater cooperation between the ship owners' union and the merchant marine ministry. He also referred to the recent accident involving the Greek-owned, Maltese-flagged tanker "Erika" off the French coast, requesting of Greek ship owners to concentrate on upgrading the quality of shipping.
 WWF says Greece does not do enough to protect its forests
BRUSSELS, 21/01/2000 (ANA)Greece shows little care for its forests, according to a study conducted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and which was made public in Brussels on Thursday.
The study ranks Greece in 15th place (47 pct) out of 20 European countries concerning protection of forests.
Switzerland tops the list of the most caring country for forests with 62 per cent, followed by Finland (61 pct), Sweden (58 pct) and Austria (57 pct). Turkey ranked 8th with 53 per cent.
At the bottom of the table is The Netherlands (45 pct), Britain (45 pct) and Denmark (31 pct). The average of the 20 countries is just 51 per cent.
Taken into account in the ranking was the international and regional environmental agreements which the countries in the study have reached. Other factors taken into consideration were the level of pollution, the amount of protected areas and the level of precaution taken.
 Low temperatures forecasted for Friday
Athens, 21/01/2000 (ANA)The weather will be mostly sunny in the southern regions of Greece on Friday except in the north and west of the country, where cloud is expected with snow on high. Winds westerly, moderate to strong.
In the north, temperatures will range from -10C to 5C; in the rest of mainland Greece from -4C to 9C; and in the islands from 0C to 10C.
Mostly sunny in Athens with temperatures ranging from 0C to 9C.
Cloudy in Thessaloniki with a possibility of snow later in the day and temperatures ranging from -3C to 6C.