|Friday, 17 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-06-09
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 British attache gunned down in Athens, Greek leadership calls act 'abhorrent'
Athens, 09/06/2000 (ANA)An unknown assailant on a motorcycle gunned Britains defense attache in Athens down Thursday morning on a congested Athens highway.
The attack on Brig. Stephen Saunders, 53, brought an immediate condemnation from Greeces political leaders, as many politicians and senior police officials rushed to an Athens hospital where the British officer eventually died just more than three hours after the shooting and ensuing emergency surgery.
No group had claimed responsibility for the assassination as speculation whirled throughout the country and the international media that the incident was the work of the notorious November 17 terrorist group.
Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis expressed "abhorrence" on behalf of the entire Greek people over what he termed the "barbarous killing" of the British defense attache.
In a statement, Simitis said: "This terrorist act is contrary to the elementary rule of social co-existence and respect for human life".
He added that the attack had come at a time when Greece was "on a successful course in all sectors" and "at a time when the countrys prestige has improved internationally".
The attack occurred a few minutes before 8 a.m. local time as Saunders was driving alone from his home in the northern Athens suburb of Nea Erithrea to the British embassy in downtown Athens. Police quoted eyewitnesses as saying that two men on a white off-road-type motorcycle, both wearing crash helmets, approached the British officer's vehicle before the passenger fired four shots through the passenger side window, hitting Saunders in the face and abdomen.
The two assailants immediately sped away into the adjacent upscale Filothei residential district, an embassy row, of sorts, in the Greek capital.
Police later found four shells from a 45-calibre handgun at the scene.
According to reports, Saunders climbed out of the Greek registration-plated Rover automobile as passers-by rushed to his aid. He was taken to Athens Erythros Stavros (Red Cross) Hospital where he underwent surgery.
A British embassy source later told the Athens News Agency that Saunders, the father of two teenage daughters, had been serving in Greece since May 1999. The source declined further comment, saying the embassy was "investigating all possibilities and was in constant contact with the Greek security authorities".
Police also found documents in and around the car and were investigating the possibility that a terrorist organizations proclamation had been left among them.
Condemnations pour in: "We will not allow anyone to overturn normality and progress or smear the picture of a modern, peaceful and democratic Greece," Simitis stressed.
The Greek premier postponed his prior engagements and spoke by phone with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, government sources said.
Simitis also sent a written message to Blair saying that the Greek government and the Greek people condemned "all terrorist acts in the most categorical manner". "We will not spare any effort to bring before justice those responsible and we are determined to continue actively our difficult struggle against terrorism," Simitis added.
Earlier, Foreign Minister George Papandreou was one of several Greek ministers that went to the hospital where Saunders was taken. He told reporters he spoke with the British officer's wife in order to convey the "sympathy of the Greek government and people".
"We have expressed the same sentiments to the British government," added Papandreou.
He declined to comment on speculation about the motive behind the shooting.
"Greece will mercilessly safeguard democracy and the country's name abroad, which has been dealt a serious blow with this act," the foreign minister said.
In addition, Papandreou spoke by phone with his British counterpart Robin Cook, to whom he expressed his "sorrow and abhorrence" over the "cowardly act", as he said, while assuring that "Greece would make every possible effort to locate and arrest the perpetrators."
Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis, who rushed to the hospital immediately after the attack, said the attack had not only resulted in the loss of a human life, but also attempted "to hurt the interests of the country".
Papandreou also briefed Greek Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos -- who is in Brussels for a NATO ministerial meeting -- by phone.
In the Belgian capital, Tsohatzopoulos discussed the incident with his NATO counterparts and expressed Athens' condolences to British defense secretary Geoff Hoon and NATO Secretary General George Robertson, Britain's former defense secretary.
British minister in Athens during attack: Britain's Minister for Defense Procurement Baroness Liz Symons -- who is in Athens for talks with Greece's defense ministry - visited the hospital accompanied by British ambassador in Athens David Madden.
"We must first of all think about the family ... I spoke with the Prime Minister of Britain and the Greek Prime Minister. Mr. Blair is shocked and has also expressed his belief that all Greeks will express their horror over this murderous act," Symons said.
Reppas says gov't resolved to eradicate terrorism: Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas on Thursday ex-pressed the anger and indignation of the Greek government over what he described as the cowardly murder of the British military attache to Athens, Brig. Stephen Saunders.
"Those who execute hit the interests of the country. The government is resolved not to allow anyone to undermine the country's progress. We shall not spare any efforts to eradicate the phenomenon of terrorism. Greece is a country of peace and steadfastly against such actions," he said.
Referring to a claim by former Central Intelligence Agency Director James Woolsey in an interview with the weekly newspaper 'Pontiki' on Thursday, that members of the Greek government had information that could lead to the arrest of terrorists in Greece but had not utilized it, Reppas said it was beyond any logic, arbitrary, undocumented and did not deserve any comment.
He said Greece would seek judicial assistance from the United States for Woolsey to come to Greece and submit his evidence on the matter. He added that the United States had not raised an issue for changes in the Greek legislation for the apprehension of terrorists.
Political parties: The ruling PASOK party said in an announcement that "Greece was, is and will remain a safe and calm country, a peaceful and democratic country which is forging ahead with success on the road of progress and prosperity and its prestige is recognized all the more by the international community."
PASOK condemned the criminal act and the objectives of the terrorists "which are nothing other than to blacken the image of our country and to harm the interests of the Greek people."
Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis also condemned the attack when he visited the hospital where Saunders had been taken.
"We wholeheartedly condemn this terrorist crime. We express our sorrow for the loss of the military attache. We must all display maximum sensitivity so that this evil may be uprooted. We must display determination and efficiency and finally take immediate decisions," Karamanlis said.
ND honorary president and former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis said the attack "puts Greece in an awkward position vis-a-vis the US and Europe", while he called for changes in Greece's anti-terrorism legislation and for collaboration with other countries combating terrorism.
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) said the killing "took place only a few days after the US Congressional report underlining that Greece must take steps 'against terrorism'.
"The purpose is clear. It is direct pressure from the United States so that the (Athens) government will adopt more openly and more formally the new method of suppressing reactions against US policy and other imperialistic powers in the region.
"It is also a method of preventing acts of protest," a KKE statement said.
"The moral instigators and perpetrators are not found among the people. They are those who want pretexts to exist for taking more reactionary measures against the people. The social and political forces of the country must not allow the killing to be used as a pretext for 'new measures against terrorism', and with the Olympic Games (in Athens in 2004) as an alibi," KKE added.
The other party represented in Parliament, the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos), expressed its abhorrence over the killing, saying that "such acts of blind violence -- and especially at a time when Greece is facing slanderous attacks -- represent provocation against the country and democratic normality.
"A suffocating moral and political isolation for these criminal practices is mandatory, but not sufficient. Greece must continue and intensify its fight to wipe out terrorism, because this is dictated by the interests of the country and of democracy," Synaspismos said in a statement.
Police find 17N link in murder of Saunders: One of the two 45mm guns used in the murder of the British Military Attache in Athens, Stephen Saunders, on Thursday, has been used in the past by the November 17 terrorist organization, police said.
A ballistic examination of the cartridges found at the scene of the crime revealed that the gun has been used in another five attacks during the 25 years since the elusive group first appeared, a statement said.
 Blair blasts November 17 attack
LONDON, 09/06/2000 (ANA)British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday condemned in the strongest possible terms the murder of his country's military attache to Athens, Stephen Saunders.
"It was an act of terrorism, it was contemptible as it was senseless, and will be condemned by all right minded people," he said according to a British Cabinet spokesman.
The spokesman said that Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis had phoned his British counterpart to express his sorrow over the killing and assure him that his government would do its utmost to apprehend the attackers.
The Foreign Office later advised British nationals traveling to Greece to take sensible precautions regarding safety and security.
In a statement in Brussels, European Commission President Romano Prodi expressed his utter abhorrence at the murder and the European Commission's full solidarity with the Greek government.
"An attack against a diplomat in such circumstances is an attack against democracy, the founding principle of the European Union," he added.
Greece's Defense Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said after a meeting with British counterpart Geoff Hoon on the sidelines of a NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels that Athens cooperates with other European and American security agencies in the fight against terrorism and supports all relevant initiatives.
Hoon described the murder as an abhorrent criminal act and announced an urgent review of security measures for British diplomatic staff in Athens.
Tsohatzopoulos said he believed the attack was unrelated to the NATO meeting, but noted that Greece was currently preparing to join the euro zone next year and to organize the Olympic Games of 2004, which also involved a consideration of anti-terrorist measures. He further said that the November 17 terrorist group, which according to initial indications was responsible for the murder, did not only hit diplomats but also personalities from other areas of public life.
British Assistant Foreign Secretary, responsible for European Affairs, Keith Vaz, told ANA that his government believed that Greek authorities would do their utmost to bring the perpetrators of the murder to justice and that Scotland Yard would send a team to Athens to assist in the investigations.
He said the British government had been fully reassured by what Simitis had told Blair.
"We thank the Greek government for what it is doing and we shall continue our cooperation with it," he said. Vaz later met with Greek Justice Minister Michalis Stathopoulos.
Travel agents see no effect: A representative of the British Travel Agents Association, Keith Baton, said in a statement that the murder of Geoff Saunders in Athens would affect neither the flow of tourists to Greece this year nor the association's conference on the island of Kos in the autumn.
"This incident, like other similar attacks in Greece, targeted officials, not tourists. Greece remains a popular destination for British tourists and there is big demand for holidays in Greece particularly this year... We do not see that this incident will affect the numbers of British tourists going to Greece, nor our conference on Kos," he said.
 State Dep't condemns murder of Saunders
WASHINGTON, 09/06/2000 (ANA- T. Ellis)The United States on Thursday condemned the murder of the British military attache to Athens, Stephen Saunders, and urged the Greek government to apprehend the culprits.
"The United States categorically condemn the murder of the British military attache... We urge the Greek security forces to find, arrest and punish those responsible for this terrorist murder. We are ready to assist in any possible way. This attack took place because in Greece there are still terrorists who remain free and go unpunished for 25 years," a State Department official told ANA.
Elusive November 17 terrorist organization started slayings in December 1975: The assassination of British military attache Stephen Saunders in Athens on Thursday morning is, according to all indications, the doing of the elusive November 17 terrorist organization which first launched its campaign of terror in December 1975. Following is a list of the group's terrorist attacks to date.
· Assassination of CIA chief in Athens Richard Welch.
· Assassination of cashiered police officer and junta-era torturer Evangelos Mallios.
· Assassination of Riot Police (MAT) deputy commander Pantelis Petrou and his driver Sotiris Stamoulis.
· Assassination of CIA official and head of the US military mission in Athens George Tsantes and his driver Nikos Veloutsos.
· Attempted assassination of US air force officer Robert Chad.
· Assassination of the publisher of the Athens daily "Apogevmatini" Nikos Mompheratos and his driver Panayiotis Rousetis.
· Riot Police (MAT) bus blown up, killing police officer Nikos Georgakopoulos and injuring two other policemen.
· Assassination of industrialist Dimitris Angelopoulos.
· Neurosurgeon Zaharias Kapsalakis shot and injured in the legs.
· Bus carrying US servicemen blown up, injuring 17 passengers.
· US military bus carrying nine US servicemen blown up, injuring all passengers and the Greek driver.
· Attempt to assassinate CIA official John Karos fails.
· Assassination of industrialist Alexandros Athanasiadis-Bothosakis.
· Assassination of US Embassy military attache William Nordine.
· Fatal injuring of prosecutor Costas Androulidakis. He died a month later.
· Supreme Court prosecutor Panayiotis Tarasouleas shot and wounded in the legs.
· Car carrying former Public Order Minister George Petsos blown up. Petsos and two of his bodyguards were injured.
· Assassination of New Democracy party Deputy and spokesman Pavlos Bakoyiannis.
· Booby-trapped car used in attempt to blow up armored vehicle carrying businessman Vardis Vardinoyiannis. Nobody was injured.
· Assassination of US sergeant Ronald Stewart.
· Assassination of Turkish diplomat (assistant press attache at the Turkish Embassy) Cetin Gyorgyu.
· Assassination attempt against Finance Minister Yiannis Paleokrassas. Pedestrian Thanassis Axarlian was killed and five others were injured.
· Assassination attempt against New Democracy party Deputy Eleftherios Papadimitriou. He was injured in the leg.
· Assassination of former National Bank of Greece governor Mihalis Vranopoulos and injury of his driver.
· Assassination of Turkish diplomat Omer Haluk Cibahioglu, an adviser at the Turkish Embassy in Athens.
· Assassination of shipowner and former shareholder and director of the Elefsina Shipyards Constantine Peratikos.
 Simitis says government will be relentless with terrorists
Athens, 09/06/2000 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis, addressing members of his PASOK party's enlarged Executive Secretariat on Thursday night, said the assassination of the British military attache was aimed at marring the country's image and creating a climate of insecurity among citizens, also in light of accession to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).
Simitis said the government will be relentless with terrorists and added that it will continue efforts. He said very good work has been done with the police and expressed satisfaction over his cooperation with Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis.
The prime minister referred at length to the issue of identity cards, and whether or not religious affiliations should be noted in them, and said that the identity of a country and its people does not depend on the citizens' identity card but on their education, traditions and civilization.
Simitis also said the Church has nothing to fear from the challenges of the future and reiterated that the issue of identity cards is an issue concerning the state exclusively.
 Archbishop Christodoulos announces Athens rally in Syntagma
Athens, 09/06/2000 (ANA)Speaking from the pulpit, Orthodox Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos on Thursday condemned the government's decisions regarding new identity cards before a large audience.
The Church has come into conflict with the Greek government over its decision to drop the religious affiliation category from new state-issued IDs, which the Church believes should be retained on a voluntary basis.
Castigating those who "don't believe in God and fight the Church," Christodoulos urged the Greek people to demonstrate against the decision, in order to "prevent the unraveling of moral values."
He also announced that a Church-organized protest rally in Athens would take place in Syntagma Square on June 21.
Alexandroupolis Metropolitan Anthimos, who was appointed by a plenary session of Church leaders to organize the Thessaloniki rally on June 14, arrived in the city by plane on Thursday afternoon and went directly to the Metropolitan Church offices, where he later gave a press conference.
He confirmed that a suggestion had been made at some point during the Church leaders' discussion that President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos be asked to resign - something that would lead the country to new elections but that this had not been adopted.
Asked about voices of dissent within the Church over the rallies, he said that it was natural for there to be different opinions and that the rallies would be peaceful, without extremist actions. To ensure this, he added, he would be meeting in the next few days with the Thessaloniki Chief of Police.
Theological School, Zakynthos Metropolitan: Students at Thessaloniki University Theology School expressed their support for the Church's positions on Thursday, and said that they would not attend classes next Wednesday in order to take part in the rally announced by the Church for that day.
In a letter to the Archbishop on Thursday, however, the Metropolitan of Zakynthos Chrysostomos declared his opposition to the Church's adopted course in no uncertain terms.
Saying he did not accept Christodoulos' jurisdiction outside Athens, he urged him to "look to the affairs of his own Archdiocese" and only those, adding that he would not take part in the protests, nor encourage his own congregation to take part.
 ND leader Karamanlis to inaugurate party's three-day special congress on Friday
Athens, 09/06/2000 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis will inaugurate his party's three-day special congress at the Peace and Friendship stadium on Friday after-noon, while 120 party cadres have delivered a six-page memorandum to the president of the party's organizing committee criticizing Karamanlis and calling for principles and rules safeguarding unimpeded intraparty democratic functioning. Criticism is focused primarily on the party's communication policy and the strategy of the political center.
The memorandum says the main target should be the processing of views and proposals, creative composition and not the effort to control agency majorities for the ratification of previously taken decisions and the promotion of personal aims.
Defining policy, opposition tactics and communication policy, it added, should be the exclusive responsibility of agencies and not the affair of certain people. It went on to say that issues such as those of age discrimination and far-rightists are contrary to the party's logic of cohesion joint mobilization and multiple collectiveness.
The memorandum argues that one of the main problems is communication policy and attributes responsibilities to those who, wanting to secure their personal promotion, did not contribute to the handling of the problem.
On the question of the political center, it says the relevant strategy creates confusion regarding the party's ideological identity and problems in defining effective policy.
 Turkish PM Ecevit wants start of dialogue with Greece
ANKARA, 09/06/2000 (ANA - A. Ambatzis)Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, speaking on Thursday at a delivery ceremony for warships at the Aksaz naval base at Marmaris, called for the start of dialogue between Greece and Turkey "even in the form of a non-binding exchange of views."
Ecevit, referring to the Aegean, spoke of "a vital problem" of Turkey's regarding the sea and claimed that in this complicated sea "Turkey is practically imprisoned in its own coast. We have no claims on another state's land or sea, but it is our right to want a just adjustment that protects our citizens' security and economy."
He mentioned, as an example, "the mutual restriction of territorial waters, the control of airspace, the definition of the continental shelf and the militarization of Greek islands close to Turkey."
Ecevit said "many coastal countries have resolved similar problems with a dialogue between friends", adding that "Turkey's corresponding problems in the Black Sea have been resolved in the same way."
"Greece has not yet given a positive reply to this just claim of ours," Ecevit said and went on to say that "the time is suitable for the start of a dialogue, even in the form of a non-binding exchange of views."
 Apostolakis meets British defense procurements minister in Athens
Athens, 09/06/2000 (ANA)During a meeting in Athens on Wednesday night, Deputy Defense Minister Dimitris Apostolakis and Baroness Liz Symons, British minister for defense procurements, discussed developments in Europe's defense industry and security in the southeastern Mediterranean.
Also present at the meeting were the British Ambassador and military attache in Athens and members of Symons' staff.
Apostolakis expressed Greece's desire to become actively involved in the process of strengthening Europe's defense industry, as witnessed by decisions to start up specific defense procurements programs.
The criteria for making these choices, he said, would be governed by the principles of mutual benefit, so that outflows offset inflows through co-production or subcontracted projects or offset benefits.
He also referred to the possibility of cooperation between the defense industries of Greece and Britain in emerging markets in the Balkans and the surrounding regions.
Finally, Apostolakis presented Greece's positions with respect to relations between Greece and Turkey.
 Hombach says Bill Gates is interested in investing in the Balkans
Athens, 09/06/2000 (ANA)Stability Pact special coordinator Bodo Hombach said on Thursday that Microsoft company founder Bill Gates appears interested in investing in the Balkans and desires to approach the region through the Stability Pact. Hombach was speaking at a press conference on the occasion of a meeting of the Stability Pact's bank in Thessaloniki.
Hombach said Gates showed interest in making investments in his own sector in the region of southeastern Europe. The investments concern both training and production.
"He would like to have the opportunity to discuss issues concerning locations for the establishment of his businesses with us. This was the first contact. I will find him to discuss the issue in greater detail," he said.
 Greek alternate foreign minister visits Cyprus
NICOSIA, 09/06/2000 (ANA - G. Leonidas)Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi arrived in Cyprus on Thursday night for talks with the Cyprus government on Cyprus' European Union accession course.
She will have talks with President Glafcos Clerides and Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides on the political and technocratic aspects of the procedure for Cyprus' EU accession.
Papazoi and Kasoulides will also discuss matters which will preoccupy Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and President Clerides during the meeting they will have prior to the start of the third round of UN-led proximity talks on Cyprus in Geneva on July 5.
 Labor minister scheduling measures for changing labor market
GENEVA, 09/06/2000 (ANA - A. Davanelos)Labor and Social Insurance Minister Tasos Yiannitsis said on Thursday the Greek government will respond to the changing international technological, social and economic frameworks with reforms in education, active forms of employment, the promotion of flexibility in the labor market and the restriction of the cost of labor not related to salaries. He was speaking at the 88th session of the International Labor Organization in Geneva.
Yiannitsis underlined the safeguarding of working people's true income and coverage of a big part of insurance contributions for those paid minimum wages and payment by the state and other agencies of the insurance contributions of the elderly unemployed to enable them to acquire pensioning rights.
He further noted the trend for an increase in new forms of employment in the social sector and the sectors of culture, health, care for the elderly, as well as the need for the creation of a security network against poverty and social exclusion.
Commenting on the issue of what will follow accession to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), Yiannitsis said the sole reply is the combination of economic performances and the increase in employment and the strengthening of social policy. He said the unemployed in the European Union have decreased from 18.5 million to 15.5 million, but added that a further decrease constitutes a complicated problem which is difficult to resolve.
 Greece to tender first commercial satellite telecoms system
Athens, 09/06/2000 (ANA)The Greek government on Thursday announced an international tender for the supply of the first commercial satellite telecommunications system in the country under the name "Hellas SAT".
All bids must be submitted by July 31, 2000.
The license for the system, expected to be operational in the first quarter of 2002, envisages the use and management of "Hellas SAT" for 20 years for an undisclosed sum and the supply of four transmitters to the Transport and Communications Ministry.
The system has to cover all the geographical area of the country, including Cyprus and the area including the seas of Ionian, Aegean, Myrtoon, Crete, Carpathion, Libya and Cyprus.
The provider must also ensure the undisturbed continuity in supplying telecommunications services in the country.
 Olympic Airways has a future, Transport Minister says
Athens, 09/06/2000 (ANA)Olympic Airways has a future despite its current pessimistic picture, Transport and Communications Minister Christos Verelis told a press conference on Thursday.
The national carriers' prospects were its relocation to a new Athens airport at Spata, the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and the anticipated increased tourist arrivals in the country, Verelis said.
"A period of tranquility, however, must prevail in the company and workers have to freeze their wage claims," he noted.
Verelis said that the money from the sale of a 20 percent equity stake in Olympic Airways to a private investor would be used to improve the carriers' financial condition.
"The need for private funds is an one-way road because Olympic can no longer be financed by the state," he noted.
Verelis said that the European Union should approve an increase of a state subsidy - worth 33 billion drachmas - aimed to finance the carriers' relocation at Spata.
He said that Olympic's new board would be announced in the next few days.
In the meantime, Olympic Aviation's ground staff will hold a 24-hour strike on Friday, demanding pay rises.
 BSEC parliamentary assembly ends 15th session, turned over to Armenian presidency
TIRANA, 09/06/2000 (ANA - P. Dimitropoulos)The 15th session of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation pact's Parliamentary Assembly (PABSEC) ended on Thursday with the hand-over of the speaker's gavel from the Albanian parliamentary speaker Shender Gjinousi to Armenian parliamentary speaker Armen Khachatryan, who will preside over PABSEC in the second half of 2000.
After the ceremony, Khachatryan stressed the desire of the Armenian presidency to reinforce relations between PABSEC and the equivalent European institutions, to widen cooperation between the national parliaments and to contribute in harmonizing legislative frameworks in BSEC countries on an international level.
Meanwhile, during a session of the Social Affairs committee, Kavala deputy Yiannis Tsaklidis (PASOK) referred to Greece's desire to extend cooperation between all BSEC countries in public health issues, saying that agreements for this had been signed with Albania, Bulgaria, Romania and Armenia.
 Zurich event focuses on business opportunities in Greece
ZURICH, 09/06/2000 (ANA - A. Zimetakis)A one-day seminar focusing on "Opportunities and Changes in Greece" was organized here recently by the Swiss-Greek economic chamber of commerce.
"As of July 1, Greece will be the 12th member of EMU because it meets the necessary criteria in numbers and not political machinations," the Union of Greek Banks' legal adviser, Christos Gortsos, told an audience of Swiss entrepreneurs.
He also noted that with the adoption of the euro currency, Greek banks would be eminently ready to compete with other international banks and expand into new markets, especially in the rest of the Balkans.
According to his estimates, although foreign banks' share of the Greek market may reach 16 to 17 percent, "something that will raise competitiveness".
In comparing the differences between the European and American economies, Beat Schumacher, an investment analyst for Credit Suisse, said they emanate from a "vulnerable" euro. Conversely, he said the new currency also has its positive attributes in terms of exports.
 Budget revenues up 16.9 pct in May
Athens, 09/06/2000 (ANA)Greece's budget revenues were up 16.9 percent in May for a surplus of 370 billion drachmas from the start of the year, finance ministry figures showed on Thursday.
The regular budget's revenues were up 12.6 percent in the first five months of 2000, exceeding a budget target for an annual increase of 3.5 percent.
Finance Undersecretary Apostolos Fotiadis attributed the positive results to a steady economic growth and to a more efficient inspection by the country's tax agency.
Tax agencies' revenues were up 26.3 percent in May, for a 17 pct increase in the period January-May. Customs' revenues rose 18.4 and 7.6 percent, respectively, while VAT revenues rose 40.5 percent in May and 14.4 percent in the five-month period.
 Hyatt, Lampsa to focus on Grande Bretagne Hotel
Athens, 09/06/2000 (ANA)Hyatt Regency (Thessaloniki) said on Thursday that Lampsa Greek Hotels Company's new board would give priority to refurbishing the historic Grande Bretagne hotel in Athens.
The company said in a statement that it would announce the details of its investment plan in the near future.
 Greek stocks rebound moderately on ASE
Athens, 09/06/2000 (ANA)Equity prices rebounded on Thursday recovering a small part of their previous three sessions' losses on the Athens Stock Exchange, helped by bargain-hunting and other speculative buying in smaller capitalization stocks.
The general index ended at 4,387.37 points, up 0.89 percent, after losing more than 4.0 percent in the previous three-day decline. Analysts stressed that the market has found a strong support level at 4,300 points. They said that a steady recovery of the market would need higher turnover.
Turnover was a low 129 billion drachmas. The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended at 2,426.23 points, up 0.55 percent, and the FTSE/ASE 40 index jumped 1.74 percent to 642.35 points.
Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: 8,262.02
+0.51% Leasing: 913.12 +0.57% Insurance: 2,882.47 +0.52% Investment: 1,769.71 +0.83% Construction: 2,478.57 +3.28% Industrials: 2,697.86
+0.92% Miscellaneous: 4,620.01 +0.64% Holding: 4,995.88 +1.55%
The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended at 911.18 points, up 5.14 percent.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 308 to 34 with another four issues unchanged.
Altec, Dionik, Naoussa Spinning, Lampsa and Goody's were the most heavily traded stocks.
Leading shares' closing prices (in Drs): National Bank: 15,795 Alpha Bank: 14,310 Commercial Bank: 18,200 Ergobank: 6,980 Eurobank: 9,690 Heracles Cement: 8,795 Titan Cement (c): 14,300 Hellenic Telecoms: 8,675 Panafon: 4,400 Hellenic Petroleum: 4,095 Intracom: 14,600 Minoan Lines: 5,505 Hellenic Bottling: 5,890
Equity futures rise in higher turnover: Equity futures finished higher on Thursday, tracking the two indices on which they are based.
The FTSE/ASE 20 closed 0.55 percent up, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 1.74 percent higher.
Turnover was 11.7 billion drachmas from 9.5 billion drachmas a day earlier.
A total of 1,172 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index with turnover at 5.6 billion drachmas.
Changing hands on the FTSE/ASE 40 were 2,428 futures on turnover at 6.1 billion drachmas.
Bonds end mixed in volatile trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Thursday finished mixed in roller-coaster trade, fuelled by the European Central Bank's decision to hike its main re-financing rate.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.080 percent from 6.067 percent in the two previous sessions; and the yield on the equivalent German bund was 5.17 percent.
The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 89-93 basis points from 91 basis points a day earlier.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 272 billion drachmas from 212 billion drachmas in the previous session.
Buy orders accounted for 120 billion drachmas of turnover and sell orders the remainder.
Drachma up vs euro, dollar: The drachma on Thursday rose against the euro and the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market.
At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 336.510 drachmas from 336.660 drachmas in the previous session.
Also at the fixing, the US dollar was set at 351.260 drachmas from 352.100 drachmas a day earlier.
 Orthodox Church reps to exchange views with EPP, European Democrats groupings
ISTANBUL, 09/06/2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)The theme of a fourth consecutive meeting between Orthodox Church leaders and the European Peoples' Party (EPP) and the European Democrats group is entitled "A Society of Citizens, Human Rights and Quality of Life".
The meeting will take place in Istanbul.
"During the two-day meeting we will examine issues that affect the European Union, such as expansion, social problems in Europe and bio-ethics, on which the Orthodox Church is called upon to express its views," a spokesman for the Patriarchate stated.
Former EU Commission president Jacques Santer, several Greek Euro-MPs, academics and representatives from the Ecumenical Patriarchate as well as from other Orthodox Patriarchates will participate.
 Cyprus government condemns murder of British military attache in Athens
NICOSIA, 09/06/2000 (CNA/ANA)The Cyprus government has condemned the murder of the military attache of the British embassy in Athens, stressing such actions serve no purpose but on the contrary they create problems for Greece.
"The government condemns the terrorist attack which killed the
British military attache in Athens. Such acts serve no purpose but on the contrary they create problems and expose Greece," Cyprus government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said here on Thursday.
This, he continued, concerns Cyprus as well in that Greece "has been and remains our main supporter in our effort to solve the Cyprus question."
"We condemn this act and convey our condolences to the British government and the family of the victim," he added.
 President Clerides meets Britain's envoy for Cyprus
NICOSIA, 09/06/2000 (CNA/ANA)President Glafcos Clerides on Thursday had a 90-minute meeting with Britain's envoy for Cyprus Sir David Hannay, here for discussions ahead of the Cyprus proximity talks scheduled to begin in Geneva on July 5.
Sir David refrained from speaking to the press after the meeting, in line with a request by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for a news blackout during this new effort that got underway last December for a settlement in Cyprus.
The British official, accompanied by High Commissioner Edward Clay and other diplomats at the embassy here, were later scheduled to go to the areas of Cyprus occupied by Turkey since 1974 for a meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.
On his arrival on Wednesday for a four-day visit, Sir David said one of his objectives is to prepare the ground for the Geneva talks, the third round of talks the UN will hold with the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot sides.
 Security Council urges comprehensive settlement of Cyprus problem
NICOSIA, 09/06/2000 (CNA/ANA)The Security Council has urged all concerned on Cyprus to "continue working for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem".
It said it is looking forward to the continuation of the proximity talks, scheduled to restart in Geneva next month.
Security Council President, French Ambassador Jean-David Levitte told reporters that Security Council members were informed on Wednesday during a closed-door meeting with the Secretary-General's Special Adviser, Alvaro de Soto and reiterating the Council's view that the "status quo in Cyprus is unacceptable, the UN SC today encouraged all concerned to continue working for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem".
"Council members welcomed the fact that the first two rounds of proximity talks had been held in a positive and constructive atmosphere, and without preconditions", he said.
"The Council looked forward to the continuation of the proximity talks on 5 July," Ambassador Levitte said, adding that Council members were following these talks closely and commended the parties for their commitment.