|Sunday, 26 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-05-24
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Wide-ranging int'l conference focuses on Parthenon Marbles' return
Athens, 24/05/2000 (ANA)The campaign to loosen the British Museums grip over the exquisite Parthenon Marbles and achieve their return to Athens entered a more mature, yet intensified phase on Tuesday, with a wide-ranging international conference focusing on practically every facet of the complicated issue.
While nearly 50 addresses by scholars, archaeologists, journalists, attorneys and even an Euro-MP covering four general themes - ranging from the Acropolis significance to world culture to removal of the Marbles and awareness of the problem were scheduled to be delivered over the two-day conference, it was British author William St. Clairs comments on Tuesday afternoon that brought the British Museums stewardship of the priceless monuments under scrutiny. St. Clair again detailed the damage done to the Marbles by British Museum staff during the late 1930s through the scraping of the friezes brown surface, while he called the most recently devised defenses now aired by museum trustees as extremely patronizing.
He cited the London based museums defense of making the Marbles accessible to the man on the street as leading to a type of cultural Disneyland, whereas he also pointed to efforts at using semantics, for instance, the scraping being termed cleaning or the irreparable damage given as restoration.
St. Clair referred to an institutionalized cover-up over the past 60 years to keep the Parthenon Marbles within the British Museums walls, saying top officials there even considered contingency plans in the 1990s on how to deflect negative publicity and international efforts to gain the 5th BC Marbles return.
In terms of early 18th century British diplomat Lord Elgin, the mastermind behind the removal of the friezes from the Parthenon and their subsequent transport to England, St. Clair said Elgin and his agents used a mixture of threats and bribery to deal with local Ottoman administrators ruling Athens at the time.
In a partial defense of the oft-vilified Elgin, St. Clair simply noted that he was probably acting on the belief that he was saving the friezes from further destruction.
His 1998 book, "Lord Elgin and the Marbles", details how the friezes suffered "significant and irrevocable" damage some 60 years ago when museum staff attempted to restore the friezes to what was mistakenly thought to be their original color.
The international conference, entitled Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles and the European Union: A Historical Cultural Legal Approach, is being organized by the Ioannis Kapodistrias Center for European Research and Studies in cooperation with the Athens Universitys school of philosophy. It also falls under the aegis of Greeces cultural ministry, the press ministry and the Greek national UNESCO committee.
Other speakers scheduled to address the conference include Euro-MP Giorgio Ruffolo, NY Times correspondent Karl Meyer, NY law professor David Rudenstine and journalist-author Christopher Hitchens, among others.
Athens strategy: The Greek government last week unveiled what it called a series of principles to gain the Marbles return.
Greek Culture Minister Theodoros Pangalos stressed that the first principle was to emphasize that the matter was not a difference between the Greek and British governments but concerned the two countries' cultural and representative institutions. The second principle states that the issue is not one of administering justice.
"The point is not to establish a victor and a loser... There is no need to try and condemn anyone, Pangalos said.
"Third, the Marbles are an issue of cooperation between the British and Greek peoples, and one of European cooperation in the context of the new era And fourth, we consider that the issue of ownership is secondary. What is important is where the Marbles are and on this we possess a catalytic argument, namely the undisturbed cohesion of the work of art called Parthenon
Hillary Clinton: Finally, US First Lady Hillary Clinton in the midst of a US Senate race in New York -- also conveyed her support for the return of the friezes.
My husband, the president, has stated a position, that I agree with, and I hope that the conference which starts on Monday is able to reach a resolution as to the fate of the Marbles and that they can be returned to their rightful home, Clinton brief statement reads.
 Greek FM inaugurates UN meeting on the Middle East peace process
Athens, 24/05/2000 (ANA)Foreign Minister George Papandreou on Tuesday inaugurated in Athens the United Nations International Meeting in Support of a Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine and the Establishment of Peace in the Middle East.
It would be difficult for me to discuss the Palestinian issue, as if it were simply a political issue. It would be impossible to describe in few words, the struggle and the hopes of the Palestinian people. I believe, however, that the establishment of peace in the Middle East, is now a part of our recent history, Papandreou said.
He spoke for the building of a new era in the Mediterranean region, despite the belief of many that lasting peace in this region would be an unattainable aim.
The meeting is organized by the United Nations and the Secretariat and the Committee for the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. International personalities, officials, deputies and representatives of non-governmental organizations from the Middle East are among the participants.
 Sole difference between Greece and Turkey is the delineation of the Aegean continental shelf, Reppas says
Athens, 24/05/2000 (ANA)The sole difference existing between Greece and Turkey is the delineation of the continental shelf in the Aegean and this can be achieved by resorting to the International Court at The Hague, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Tuesday.
Reppas was replying to questioners on statements by Turkey's former navy chief who, among others, proposed the abolition of the Turkish Aegean Army to facilitate a discussion on problems between the two countries.
Reppas said the two countries have many challenges for cooperation in many sectors and that the signing of the nine agreements for cooperation was a positive step, but added that whatever cooperation should take place with respect for international legal order, international treaties and international law.
According to a Turkish daily report on Monday, a senior Turkish military aide recommended the abolition of Turkey's "Aegean Army" and the adoption of a policy of mutual concessions on Greek-Turkish issues. Turkey's former navy chief Guven Erkaya, an advisor to Turkish Premier Bulent Ecevit, in a letter to the latter also proposed referral of the Aegean continental shelf issue to international arbitration or a "freeze" on the issue, the daily "Sabah" reported in its Monday's edition.
According to an ANA dispatch from Istanbul, Turkish State Minister Sukru Sina Gurel, commenting Tuesday on the letter addressed to Ecevit by Erkaya, said "if Greece waives the demand for 12 miles (regarding the extension of its national territorial waters) and ceases to fortify the islands then a solution can be found that will address all issues in their totality.
Gurel, considered a representative of the nationalist sector of Ecevit's party, said "I do not address these issues as goodwill gestures", adding that the Turkish government has not discussed the issues raised by Erkaya.
Reports said that Ecevit referred Erkaya's memorandum to the Turkish Foreign Ministry and Gurel, evidently to examine the reactions of the nationalist sector.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry made no comment on the issue, the dispatch said.
Meanwhile, a written statement issued by the Turkish General Staff on Tuesday said General Hussein Kivrikoglu has not exchanged views with anyone concerning the issue of abolishing the Aegean Army and has made no statement indicating that he supports these ideas.
 Time Magazine report on terrorism in Greece unacceptable, Reppas says
Athens, 24/05/2000 (ANA)Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas reacted strongly to a report by US Time magazine, recalling the well-known reasoning on terrorism regarding Greece.
Reppas called the report unacceptable appearing in the beginning of the tourist period for Greece.
Regarding mention of security measures for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, Reppas said that no one should mention the word rope in the home of a hanged man, reminding of terrorist actions in the past in other countries during the Olympic Games, resulting in deaths and injuries.
 Papandreou to participate in NATO meeting in Italy
FLORENCE, Italy 24/05/2000 (ANA - A. Podimata)NATO Foreign Ministers are expected to meet here on Wednesday to discuss conditions in the Balkans with a focus on Kosovo and Yugoslavia, NATO-EU relations and NATO-Russian relations.
Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou may meet with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem on the sidelines of the event to discuss issues related to bilateral agreements, both those already signed and those pending.
On Thursday, Papandreou is scheduled to meet with U.S. Secretary of Stare Madeleine Albright and discuss conditions in Kosovo and policies toward Yugoslavia.
 Floridis, 2004 chief discuss issues concerning 2004 Games
Athens, 24/05/2000 (ANA)Deputy Sports Minister George Floridis and Athens 2004 Olympics organizing committee president Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki held talks on Tuesday focusing squarely on preparations for the 2004 Games.
"...We examined all issues preoccupying the organization of the 2004 Olympic Games, namely, those concerning the sports general secretariat.
"We ascertained that matters are now on a good path and that from now on positive and close cooperation at all levels will help so as to enable matters to develop in the best possible way," Floridis said.
"We are all preoccupied with the many and varied issues concerning the Athens Olympic Games, as well as the struggles in which Greece should give tests and I think with the decision we have taken, that they are serious issues which require management and a great deal of work, I think that we will achieve our target..." Angelopoulou-Daskalaki said.
New bill to deal with problems in Olympics preparations; Tzavela resigns for personal reasons: The government hopes to address the various organizational and other problems in the preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games with a new bill that will be tabled in Parliament in June, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said on Tuesday in response to questions.
The spokesman went on to announce the resignation of Niki Tzavela from the post of Olympics Organizing Committee vice-president, saying she had submitted her resignation to Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Monday night, citing her husband's ill health as the reason.
Commenting on an on-going spat between Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos and Greek Olympic Committee President Lambis Nikolaou over the bad organization of the ceremony to hand over the Olympic flame, Reppas said the Olympic Games were a matter of national importance that demanded a positive contribution by all parties and could not be the subject of political wrangling.
 Stephanopoulos briefed by Simitis on Olympic preparations, economy, foreign affairs
Athens, 24/05/2000 (ANA)Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis briefed President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Tuesday over issues ranging from the economy, foreign policy to preparations for the 2004 Olympics.
Afterwards, Simitis told reporters that discussions touched on efforts prior to Greeces expected entry into Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) as well as developments for the post-EMU period.
In terms of foreign policy, Simitis said Athens hopes for initiatives by Turkey, so we can proceed to adjustments that solidly consolidate regional cooperation.
Finally, in reference to preparations for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Simitis appeared optimistic, saying that the highly publicized problems and delays of late will be overcome by Greek organizers.
 NATO exercise begins throughout Aegean
Athens, 24/05/2000 (ANA)The aeronautical part of the major NATO exercise Dynamic Mix began over much of the Aegean on Tuesday.
Specifically, several alliance warships that had gathered in the Asia Minor port city of Izmir over the weekend have deployed in the central Aegean, where naval cooperation and support operations are being held. Some 143 NATO-member aircraft -- including two early warning radar platforms -- temporarily deployed at Greek air bases are also taking part in maneuvers.
Other NATO naval units that docked at the Souda anchorage on Crete have departed for training missions in the southern Aegean, while the Ionian Sea is their projected destination.
Finally, in response to recent reports in the local press, sources at the countrys joint chiefs of staff headquarters stressed on Tuesday that the entire exercise is conducted according to the Greek militarys specifications and planning. The same sources also pointed at a recent statement by the Greek defense minister, namely, that any NATO aircraft not submitting a pre-arranged flight plan with Greek authorities would be intercepted.
 Greek parliament speaker appeals for action on Cyprus issue, outlines Greek problems with organized crime
Athens, 24/05/2000 (ANA)The "continuing drama" of occupied Cyprus and Greece's special problems in combatting organized crime were the two themes on which Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis addressed his counterparts at the Euro-Med Parliament Speakers' Conference in Alexandria, a press release from the Greek Parliament said on Tuesday.
Kaklamanis told the conference that the "continuing invasion and occupation of Cyprus" burdened the worldwide political scene and that the international community could not claim to have succeeded if it continued to disregard the restoration of law and order where this is violated.
"It is an oxymoron bordering on the nonsensical for us to focus on measures and efforts to better combat organized crime when at the same time we turn our faces away from the armed, violent and illegal occupation of a member-state of the United Nations and the violation of the human rights of an entire people," Kaklamanis said.
The Greek parliament speaker went on to say that the measures taken to combat crime after the abolition of the EU's internal borders and the free movement of people and goods were insufficient.
In Greece, he added, the appearance of organized crime appeared to be connected to developments in the surrounding region, the new forms of economic penetration and to the fact that Greece is at the crossroads of three continents and has extensive borders that include large numbers of small islands.
So far, he added, such groups tend not to be highly organized in Greece, while better organization of the Greek police, close cooperation with foreign agencies and Greece's participation in the Schengen accord have recently caused organized crime to decline.
 Stephanopoulos to officially visit Canada this month
Athens, 24/05/2000 (ANA)Greek President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos will begin an official weeklong tour of Canada beginning on May 27, the first by a Greek head of state in 18 years.
Deputy National Economy Minister Yiannis Zafiropoulos and Deputy Foreign Minister Aggeliki Laiou, as well as a delegation of Greek business people will accompany Stephanopoulos.
While in the North American country, Stephanopoulos is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Jean Chretien as well as the heads of government for Ontario and Quebec. Stops include Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto, among others, as well as several meetings with groups of Canadas many ethnic Greek communities. A stop at the Niagara Falls and the town of Hamilton is also planned.
 Czech PM Milos Zeman starts three-day official visit to Greece on Thursday
Athens, 24/05/2000 (ANA)Milos Zeman, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, will arrive in Athens on Thursday on a three-day official visit.
Zeman will hold talks with the President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis and political party leaders. He will also tour archaeological sites in Athens and Crete, where he will arrive on Friday.
 Papazoi says Greece will seek implementation of ruling on Loizidou case
Athens, 24/05/2000 (ANA)Greece will systematically press for the full implementation of a European Court of Human Rights' ruling, ordering Turkey to pay compensation to a Cypriot refugee for the loss of the right to enjoyment of her property as a result of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, Alternate Foreign Minister Elisaet Papazoi said on Monday.
"Any other relevant position is rejected as illegal and undermining the prestige and the credibility of the institutions of the European Court... the Greek side will continue systematically seeking the implementation of the Loizidou ruling..." she said.
 Simitis tour of National Economy Ministry
Athens, 24/05/2000 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Tuesday pledged there would be no new taxes, continued government control of public-sector companies to be listed on the stock market and efficient implementation of the 3rd Community Support Framework (CSF).
Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the government's economic team, Simitis said that from now on Greece would be consolidating what has been accomplished in the economy so far, and that the government would adhere to its current economic policy in the coming years.
Satisfactory economic performance would be expanded, he added, to help a shift in government policy towards social issues.
Regarding the 3rd CSF, he said there would be more available funds and this would demand new initiatives. With respect to privatizations, he said the government had a plan that it intended to implement without hesitation.
Other topics touched upon by the premier were the need for more new businesses applying new technologies, the need for a strong and effective competition committee and further modernization of the TAXIS tax system at the finance ministry.
A former national economy minister himself, Simitis expressed joy at returning to his old haunts and spoke about that time period, saying that it had "left behind a correct attitude and perception that has helped the economy."
Since 1993, he continued, efforts to achieve Greece's entry into the "euro-zone" have peaked and the results would be seen next month.
"This will change the image of Greece and its economy abroad," he said.
 Greek, Polish businessmen meet in Athens
Athens, 24/05/2000 (ANA)Greek and Polish businessmen met on Tuesday at the Athens Handicraft Chamber (BEA) during an event aiming to strengthen the economic relations between the two countries.
Polands ambassador Wojciech Lamentowicz called on Greek businessmen to invest in Poland, noting the secure environment created in that country over the past 10 years.
About 50 Greek businesses are active in Poland at this time, mainly operating as outlets for their products in that northern European country.
 National Bank cited as winner in UBB sale tender
SOFIA, 24/05/2000 (ANA- B. Borisov)The Bulgarian government has decided to start negotiations with the National Bank of Greece (NBG) on the sale of UBB, one of the country's leading banks, a press report said on Tuesday.
The report, citing Bulgarian banking sources, added that NBG had offered around $150 million for UBB, while a Reuters dispatch said the Greek bank had won the tender as the highest bidder.
The other two short-listed bidders were Piraeus Bank and Italy's UniCredito.
UBB was privatized in 1997 and its basic shareholders are the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Bulgaria's Bulbank, each with a 35 percent stake. It has a network of 57 branches and 35 representative offices in Bulgaria and employs 2,300 staff.
 Countries in Far East look forward to foreign investments Asia Forum told
Athens, 24/05/2000 (ANA)The Asia Forum, taking place at the Ioannis Vellidis convention center in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, got underway on Tuesday and focused on international cooperation on the development of trade.
The forum, concluding on Sunday, is being attended by politicians and businessmen from more than 45 countries in Asia, the Middle East, the European Union, the Balkans and the Black Sea.
Speakers from Asian countries placed particular emphasis on the development of Eurasian cooperation, outlining developments and policies on changes being promoted in their countries to enable their countries to succeed in becoming members of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
According to addresses, in most Asian countries, despite efforts made in past years to attract foreign capital, investments by foreign businessmen continue to be limited, while the development was partly attributed to the economic and monetary crisis covering the 1997-1999 period.
The President of the Asia Forum, Marios Nikolinakos, commenting on the Asia Forum's contribution to the development of cooperation between Europe and Asia, said that the necessary framework to support Eurasian cooperation would have been created by autumn. He said this will be achieved through the creation of a non-profit organization, as well as individual institutions, which will contribute to rapprochement between European and Asian businesses having common interests.
An exhibition of industrial, agricultural and technological products and tourism is taking place in the framework of the Asia Forum.
 Greek stocks continue moving lower
Athens, 24/05/2000 (ANA)Equity prices continued moving lower for the second consecutive session on the Athens Stock Exchange on Tuesday, although at a more slower pace than Monday.
Dealers said a spectacular recovery in international markets helped sentiment in the Greek bourse which was currently on a correction course.
Analysts said that the 4,650 support level resisted pressures throughout the day. The general index ended at 4,672.23 points, off 0.42 percent, but off the day's lows of 4,612.91 points. Turnover was a moderate 220.1 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 0.20 percent lower at 2,573.33 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 1.65 percent to 685.20 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended at 979.43 points, off 2.77 percent.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 252 to 88 with another four issues unchanged.
Klonatex, Naoussa Spinning and Doudos were the most heavily traded stocks.
Derivatives prices move higher on ADEX: Derivatives prices moved higher on the Athens Derivatives Exchange on Tuesday despite falls in the two benchmark indices, FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE 40, reflecting confidence over the medium-term outlook of the Greek market.
Turnover was a moderate 9.1 billion drachmas in volume of 2,960 contracts.
A total of 612 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index, worth 3 billion drachmas. The June expiring contract ended at 2,565 points and the July at 2,562 points.
A total of 2,348 futures contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 40 index, with a turnover of 6.1 billion drachmas. The June expiring contract ended at 672.75 points, the July at 662.75 and the August contract at 658.50 points.
Bond prices edge lower: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market ended slightly lower in light trade on Tuesday with players across Europe awaiting a European Central Bank meeting on Thursday that may order a rate hike to aid the slumping euro.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.24 percent from 6.282 percent in the previous session; and the yield on the equivalent German bund was 5.41 percent.
The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was around 90.6 basis points from 89 basis points a session earlier.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 54 billion drachmas from 44 billion drachmas in the previous session.
Buy orders accounted for 42 billion drachmas of trade and sell orders the remainder
Greek bond yields rise 31 bp to 6.35 pct: Long-term yields rose moderately during a weekly regular state securities' auction by the Public Debt Management Organization on Tuesday.
The average weighed yield of a five-year bond, worth 200 billion drachmas, rose to 6.35 percent from 6.04 percent in the previous auction of same bonds on March 21, reflecting pressures in the eurozone market.
Bids submitted totalled 370 billion drachmas, 1.85 times more than the asked sum, a sign of continued interest for Greek debt. The organization finally accepted bids totalling 224 billion drachmas.
The auction was a re-opening of a March 24, 2000 issue paying an annual fixed coupon of 5.95 percent. Its average weighed price was set at 98.342 points.
Drachma drops vs euro, rises vs dollar: The drachma on Tuesday fell against the euro and recovered slightly versus the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market.
The central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 336.960 drachmas from 336.850 drachmas in the previous session.
Also at the fixing, the US dollar was set at 370.260 drachmas from 374.700 drachmas a day earlier.
The central bank intervened at the fix, selling around 130 million euros.
 Thessaloniki, Sen Yiang sign cooperation agreement
Athens, 24/05/2000 (ANA)The Thessaloniki municipality and the municipality of Sen Yiang, China, singed a friendship and cooperation agreement on Tuesday at the sidelines of the Asia Forum 2000, taking place in the capital of Greece's northern region of Macedonia.
The agreement between Greeces second largest city and Chinas fifth largest city was signed by the Mayor of Thessaloniki Vassilis Papageorgopoulos and the general secretary of Sen Yiangs Municipal Council Committee Hu Wensai, during a special event in the City Hall of Thessaloniki.
 President inaugurates new radiation therapy center in Athens
Athens, 24/05/2000 (ANA)President Kostis Stephanopoulos inaugurated a new radiation therapy center, one of the most modern of its kind in Europe, at the Agios Savvas hospital on Tuesday night.
President Stephanopoulos toured premises housing machinery as well as the accelerators delivered and installed, the first in September 1998 and the second in February 1999. Both machines, donated by the Angelopoulos family, with a capacity to treat about 90 cancer patients per day.