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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-06-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Simitis calls for ‘intensification’ of anti-terrorism efforts
  • [02] Symons says terrorist attack will not affect relations with Greece
  • [03] HATTA says no reason for concern for tourists from Britain visiting Greece
  • [04] Athens prosecutor's office appeals to US judicial authorities for assistance in combatting terrorism
  • [05] State Department spokesman says Greek government showing excellent determination and cooperation
  • [06] Premier calls for faster, more effective action from cabinet ministers
  • [07] Karamanlis calls for party unity, reiterates claim to "middle ground"
  • [08] British parliamentary committee hears testimonies on return of cultural heritage
  • [09] Cretan Archbishop disagrees with protest rallies, Church to issue pastoral letter for faithful
  • [10] Preparations for Church rally on June 14 underway
  • [11] Istanbul meeting between Orthodox Church and European People's Party
  • [12] Greek alternate FM holds talks with Cyprus president
  • [13] Greek EU Commissioner addresses 23rd special session on women NEW
  • [14] Gender equality discussed by Annan, Diamantopoulou
  • [15] France's Credit Agricole buys stake in Commercial Bank
  • [16] Greek stocks end the week with big gains
  • [17] Gov't to privatize ETBA, Skaramanga Shipyards:
  • [18] Thessaloniki hosts second Interbalkan Information Forum
  • [19] Tram to be built for southern Athens before 2004 Olympics
  • [20] Kavala to open info bureau in Istanbul for visiting Turkish businessmen
  • [21] Greek businessmen visit Tirana
  • [22] 18 percent of Greek youth against presence of foreigners in the country
  • [23] Sabah says Greek model tricked into going to Turkish-occupied Cyprus
  • [24] Homes complex for Turkish quake victims to be named "Intrasoft S.A"
  • [25] Explosion heard on Rhodes blamed on Turkish navy exercises
  • [26] Mayors of Athens and Sydney sign friendship and cooperation agreement
  • [27] Greek alternate FM says Cyprus' EU accession course can act as catalyst in solving Cyprus problem
  • [28] British envoy says weeks leading to July talks on Cyprus problem are decisive
  • [29] UN envoy de Soto due in Cyprus
  • [30] Turkish Cypriot illegal court 'orders' Greek Cypriot soldier to remain in custody

  • [01] Simitis calls for intensification of anti-terrorism efforts

    Athens, 10/06/2000 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis again on Friday expressed the Greek governments abhorrence for the murder, by the November 17 terrorist group, of Britains defense attaché in Athens and the Greek peoples condolences towards the victims family.

    Our efforts to crack down on terrorism are continuous and the (anti-terrorism) front is solid, Simitis said during a brief meeting with visiting British Defense Procurement Minister Baroness Symons.

    During an earlier Cabinet meeting, the Greek premier referred to an intensification of efforts in order to gain specific results in the battle against terrorism.

    He also called for closer cooperation between Greek authorities and their counterparts in other western countries, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas quoted the premier as telling the Cabinet.

    In a related development, an Athens prosecutors office sent an urgent appeal on Friday to relevant judicial authorities in the United States for assistance in investigations being conducted by the anti-terrorist service in Greece to combat terrorism. Such assistance was considered necessary to enable former CIA chief James Woolsey to be summoned and testify in connection with accusations he made this week in a weekly Athens newspaper. Woolsey had said that members of the Greek government know some of the members of November 17 organization.

    Meanwhile, the elusive November 17 terrorist group claimed responsibility early Friday morning with a proclamation sent to a daily newspaper for the murder of Britains defense attaché in Athens.

    Brig. Stephen Saunders was gunned down by an assailant riding atop a motorcycle in traffic-congested Kifissias avenue early Thursday morning as he was driving alone to the British embassy in central Athens. The gunman was the passenger on an off-road-type cycle, with an accomplice driving.

    In a long 13-page proclamation sent to the Athens daily Eleftherotypia, the text of which was fully published by the newspaper, the urban guerrilla group accused Saunders of "actively participating and coordinating the NATO air raids and bombings of Serbia" last year.

    The group also said that it had targeted a British citizen because Britain had played a leading campaign in air strikes against Yugoslavia.

    However, the British embassy in Athens denied that Saunders had "any direct role" in NATO's campaign.

    Cabinet meeting: In referring, during the cabinet meeting, to an as yet unsigned goodwill protocol between Greece and the United States, Public Order Minister Mihalis Chrysohoidis said it resembles similar such protocols Greece has signed with 34 other countries so far.

    He also said any delays emanate from the US side, saying certain "institutional obstacles" have been cited given the fact that the agreement will not come up for ratification by the legislative bodies of both countries.

    Additionally, Reppas said the government is not considering the possibility of altering the anti-terrorism law, "even though there are thoughts over minor improvements in court procedures but not in the substance of the legal framework, such as, for example, in the participation of jurors on the court panels that try similar matters."

    Stephanopoulos, Karamanlis: On his part, Greek President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos on Friday expressed his abhorrence over the killing of the British defense attache.

    Sources told ANA that the Stephanopoulos' condolences were conveyed to British ambassador in Athens David Madden.

    On his part, main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis sent a letter to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in which he expresses his condolences over the "abhorrent murder" of the British attache.

    "New Democracy, having grieved itself for victims of similar horrendous terrorist actions, unequivocally condemns terrorism, from wherever it comes from and wherever it is aimed," Karamanlis writes.

    Saunders' widow: Meanwhile, Heather Saunders, the attache's widow, on Friday thanked the Greek people for their support and appealed for any information whatsoever on the killing to go to police.

    Speaking to reporters outside her home in the Nea Erythrea district, Mrs. Saunders thanked doctors and nurses at the Erythros Stavros (Red Cross) hospital who, as she said, "did what they could in an impossible situation", in trying to save her husband's life.

    "Stephen was my life, and our lives were so deeply entwined that today I stand before you half the person I was yesterday (Thursday) morning.

    "Stephen was a wonderful, loving man. He was a man committed to peace and throughout his 35 years in the army, he never raised his gun to kill anyone. In fact, in the past, I know he hesitated once, when someone opened fire on him in Northern Ireland, in case he hit an innocent bystander...

    "I only hope the people that carried out this cowardly act on an unarmed man simply travelling on his way to work will realize the total devastation they have caused. Not only have they killed my husband, they have destroyed me and my family.

    "I would like to thank the Greek people for all their help and support at this awful time. I especially want to thank the doctors and nurses at the Red Cross hospital who tried so hard to save Stephen's live. They did what they could in an impossible situation.

    "We must make sure this never happens again. I appeal to the Greek people and to anyone who knows anything, because someone must know something about this terrible murder. We must prevent this kind of thing from happening again.

    "Anyone who saw anything, anyone who knows anything, please tell the police so that no one else has to go through what we are going through today. The Greek people are not responsible for what happened yesterday, but for the sake of the future of Greece these wicked men must be brought to justice.

    "Stephen was a forgiving man. As yet, I cannot forgive the perpetrators of this horrible crime. But God may help me to forgive in time. I don't know."

    Book of condolences opened: In a related development, a book of condolences was opened on Friday at the British embassy in downtown Athens for those wishing to convey their condolences to the attache's family.

    The book will be available for signature at the embassy's reception from Monday to Wednesday next week between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

    Additionally, the embassy announced that Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos was scheduled to visit the British ambassador's residence in Athens on Friday afternoon.

    Finally, British ambassador Madden announced that a reception scheduled for June 13 to celebrate the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II will be cancelled.

    "It would not be appropriate, or fitting to the memory of an outstanding officer, to hold a major celebratory event in the wake of a personal tragedy," Madden wrote in a statement released by the embassy.

    CoE condemnation: Council of Europe (CoE) parliamentary assembly president Lord Russell Johnston and secretary general Walter Schwimmer on Friday expressed "shock, abhorrence and anger" over Saunders' assassination.

    "One can react to such an act only with shock, abhorrence and anger. Whatever political motivations the perpetrators, or any other terrorists throughout the world, may have, they are nothing more than common criminals," the CoE officials said in a joint statement.

    "We have confidence in the capability of the Greek authorities, which will do their utmost to find the murderers," the statement read, adding: "Democracy in Greece is too solid to be threatened by such senseless acts of violence, but more innocent lives must not be lost ... Terrorism, anywhere, is a threat to the freedom of all of us. We must fight it decisively and mercilessly," the two CoE officials added.

    [02] Symons says terrorist attack will not affect relations with Greece

    Athens, 10/06/2000 (ANA)

    Britain's Minister for Defense Procurement, Baroness Liz Symons, on Friday expressed confidence that the terrorist murder of the British military attache in Athens on Thursday would not adversely affect her country's relations with Greece.

    "There are no difference between our countries, and a proof of this fact is my presence here, which aims to further strengthen and consolidate our bilateral relations," she said after meeting with Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    Symons stressed that the two governments were resolved to cooperate closely in order to shed light on the murder of Stephen Saunders, adding that there were very large numbers of British tourists who visit Greece every year and of Greeks who study in British universities.

    "I want all these people not to have the slightest doubt regarding our good bilateral relations," she said.

    Papandreou said links between Greece and Britain were very strong and "must not be upset, as this would spell victory for the culprits of yesterday's murder".

    He added that Greece condemned all forms of terrorism and that the government was doing all it could to deal with the problem in a "relentless" manner.

    "Terrorism undermines democratic institutions and is counter to all forms of freedom," he said.

    Symons thanked Papandreou for the expression of sympathy to the family to the slain official, stressing that his widow "appreciated your statements and those of the other members of the Greek government".

    [03] HATTA says no reason for concern for tourists from Britain visiting Greece

    Athens, 10/06/2000 (ANA)

    The Federation of Tourist and Travel Agencies (HATTA) on Friday unequivocally condemned the terrorist act against British military attache Stephen Saunders, saying that such acts are contrary to the country's long democratic tradition and respect for the value of human life.

    It also added that, according to a relevant announcement by the British Foreign Ministry, no particular reason for concern exists and Britons visiting Greece should take ordinary measures for their security.

    The federation notes that terrorist acts are carefully planned in advance and are directed at selected targets and never at anonymous tourists.

    HATTA said that proof of the above is a statement by a British travel agency representative that the tourist wave to Greece will not be affected and nor will their conference on the island of Kos in the autumn.

    [04] Athens prosecutor's office appeals to US judicial authorities for assistance in combatting terrorism

    Athens, 10/06/2000 (ANA)

    An Athens prosecutor's office sent an urgent appeal on Friday to relevant judicial authorities in the United States for assistance in investigations being conducted by the anti-terrorism service in Greece to combat terrorism.

    Such assistance was considered necessary to enable former CIA chief James Woolsey to be summoned to testify in connection with accusations he made this week in the weekly Greek newspaper "To Pontiki."

    Woolsey had said, among others, that "members of the Greek government know some of the members of November 17."

    In another development, the assassination of Brigadier Stephen Saunders in Athens on Thursday dominated talks held on Friday between Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis and Council of Hellenes Abroad President Andrew Athens which, otherwise, concerned support for Hellenism in the former Soviet Union.

    Athens later said cooperation between Greece and the US should be upgraded on the issue of cracking down on terrorism with the signing of a relevant agreement. He also called on Woolsey to name the members of the Greek government which, as he said, know November 17 terrorists.

    Athens said the assassination will deal a blow at Greek tourism and added that all Greeks are against terrorism. "And I, as a tourist, would not want to go to a country where I know I will be in danger," he said.

    On his part, Kaklamanis said the only side which is not served, but on the contrary is harmed in particular by terrorism, is Greece and the interests of the Greek people.

    "It is evident that the assassination of Brigadier Saunders is a systematic act aimed precisely at the country and its interests," he said.

    Justice Minister Mihalis Stathopoulos, currently in London to attend the conference of justice ministers from Council of Europe member-states, said that in the framework of judicial investigations launched in connection with Saunders' assassination it is very probable that Woolsey will be summoned to testify following his statements in "To Pontiki."

    The government spokesman also clarified that justice ministry officials are taking necessary action to have judicial assistance requested from the US to enable Woolsey to testify all that he knows about Greek terrorists.

    [05] State Department spokesman says Greek government showing excellent determination and cooperation

    WASHINGTON 10/06/2000 (ANA - A. Ellis)

    State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, referring to terrorism in Greece during a press briefing on Friday, said "we feel that excellent determination and cooperation is being displayed by the present Greek government."

    "Greece's capabilities and the combatting of terrorism could be more effective," he said, adding, however, that the US "intends to continue to handle these cases" through cooperation with the Greek government.

    Urged to comment on allegations of relations between the November 17 terrorist organization and the Greek government, Boucher said "it is not my position here to make assessments on the roots or bonds of the specific organization. On the question of cooperation at governmental level, Prime Minister Mr. Simitis assured us that his government shares our determination for a vigorous anti-terrorism program and we are continuing to cooperate closely with the Greek police."

    oucher said Washington expects Athens to handle the issue effectively and that "we support them in this effort."

    [06] Premier calls for faster, more effective action from cabinet ministers

    Athens, 10/06/2000 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Friday asked the Inner Cabinet for faster, better and more effective action on a series of issues, during a meeting in the afternoon.

    Among the issues he broached were the preparations for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, the furore over new state-issued ID's (which the Church objects to) and events marking Greece's entry into the Euro-zone.

    With respect to preparations for the Olympics, the prime minister said that a clearer picture of the problems had emerged following his meetings with the relevant ministers last week. He called for even closer cooperation between the ministers involved, in order for these problems to be solved.

    According to government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, meanwhile, Simitis rejected all suggestions that Thursday's terrorist attack against a British military attache might be linked to security issues during the Olympics, saying that "making this sort of connection has no logical basis and is completely unjustified."

    On the identity card issue, and whether or not new IDs should include a record of religious affiliation, Simitis reiterated that the roles of the Church and State were discrete, though there was a common field of action and cooperation in specific areas. It was not possible, he added, for the "Church to demand to have a deciding voice in matters that were the responsibility of the State."

    As before, however, he stressed that the State does not consider the Church an antagonist and he that he cannot see any basis for conflict over the specific issues.

    The prime minister also expressed certainty that the EU summit on June 19 in Portugal would officially ratify Greece's entry into EMU and he talked about events to celebrate this success for the government and the country, such as meetings with political leaders and a visit and speech by European Commission President Romano Prodi.

    In the same context, Simitis stressed the need for faster progress in structural reforms, such as partial privatization of the Olympic Airways national carrier and the Commercial Bank of Greece.

    These changes, he commented, "should not be swayed by political cost, but on the other hand they must protect the interests of the state and the employees in the businesses."

    He also touched on a number of lesser matters, such as the need for "more flexibility" in foreign policy, the results of the Berlin conference and making use of the 3rd Community Support Framework in the government's regional policy.

    [07] Karamanlis calls for party unity, reiterates claim to "middle ground"

    Athens, 10/06/2000 (ANA)

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis on Friday urged party members to close ranks in the face of attempts to undermine the party and reiterated the claim to the "middle ground" of politics as a viable ideological option.

    "We are not entitled to tolerate or remain silent vis-a-vis attempts to malign our image. The media may pronounce on politics but they cannot direct it. What we now need is to close ranks and show resoluteness and efficiency," he said at the party's special congress in Piraeus. He said the aim of the congress was to kick start a new form of party which would forge closer links with society.

    Karamanlis claimed that unofficial centers of power were bent on undermining New Democracy after seeing the party surge to 43 percent of the poll in the April 9 election, the highest percentage it has gathered in the last 20 years.

    "We are an obstacle to their designs and this is why they are losing their cool and focusing strong distorting lenses on us. But they cannot succeed against a party supported by three million Greeks," he said.

    New Democracy, Karamanlis emphasized, addressed all citizens without distinction and this was the meaning of the "middle-ground" which it represents.

    "New Democracy has been ideologically vindicated by developments. It is the party of liberalism and social solidarity. The middle ground is the area where all modern social currents meet," he stressed.

    Karamanlis called for radical structural changes of a liberal nature and said the party would put emphasis on the tackling of citizens' everyday problems.

    Gov't comments: Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that the only thing that New Democracy succeeded in with its successive congresses was exposing its utter political inadequacy.

    "When New Democracy occupies itself with the issues of Greek society it does so only in order to conceal its lack of constructive positions," he said.

    "It remains a prisoner of its introversion, bogged down in the mire of fruitless personal antagonisms," he added.

    [08] British parliamentary committee hears testimonies on return of cultural heritage

    LONDON, 10/06/2000 (ANA - L. Tsirigotakis)

    A special British Parliamentary Committee conducting an inquiry on the illegal trade of antiquities and works of art and issues concerning the return of cultural heritage completed its meetings on Thursday with testimonies by the British Museum curators' president Graham Green, the Museum's director Robert Anderson and Deputy Culture Minister Alan Howarth.

    Questions put to them by committee members primarily concerned Greece's request for the return of the Parthenon Marbles and pressure exerted by the British Parliamentarians on the British Museum representatives and the deputy culture minister for the start to some kind of dialogue with the Greek authorities for a solution to the issue was evident.

    Deputy Claire Ward told the deputy minister that problems are not resolved with Britain constantly refusing dialogue.

    "Questions of cultural treasures being contested will unavoidably arise all the more often in our times and Britain should process some ways of approaching these questions and show a responsible stance and a pioneering spirit," she said.

    Committee President Jerald Koffman observed that the British government purchased the Parthenon Marbles from Lord Elgin and assigned their safekeeping to the Museum's curators. Consequently, they belong to the British government and the issue of whether or not they will be returned is an issue for the government and not the Museum.

    Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou testified for the return to Greece of the marbles to the same committee last Monday

    [09] Cretan Archbishop disagrees with protest rallies, Church to issue pastoral letter for faithful

    Athens, 10/06/2000 (ANA)

    Archbishop of Crete Timotheos, head of the semi-autonomous Orthodox Church of Crete, on Friday expressed his disagreement with the form of protest adopted by Church leaders in the rest of the country.

    A meeting of Church leaders on June 6 decided to organize two protest rallies, one in Athens on June 21 and one in Thessaloniki on June 14, in response to the government's decision to remove indication of religion from new state-issued identity cards.

    The Church of Crete does not come under the jurisdiction of the Autocephalus Church of Greece, belonging instead to the Ecumenical Patriarchate based in Fanar, Istanbul.

    Timotheos, in statements after a meeting of the Holy Synod, said that "extremes" had to be avoided and that there were many ways in which the Church could communicate with the people and say what must be said.

    [10] Preparations for Church rally on June 14 underway

    Athens, 10/06/2000 (ANA)

    Preparations for a Church-organized rally in Thessaloniki, scheduled to take place on the evening of June 14 at Aristotelous Square, were well underway on Friday at the Thessaloniki Metropolis headquarters. A metropolis in Christian Orthodox parlance is the district under the jurisdiction of a metropolitan, a high-ranking Orthodox cleric roughly equivalent to a bishop.

    According to a spokesman for Thessaloniki Metropolitan Panteleimon, Father Vakaros, the northern Greek metropolitans were now organizing a fleet of buses to carry the faithful in their districts to the rally, while officials in local parishes were taking steps to ensure the rally would be orderly.

    Starting Friday morning, Alexandroupolis Metropolitan Anthimos, who is in charge of organizing the rally, set up a series of meetings with various northern Greece officials to fill them in on the details. Among those contacted were Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Pashalidis, the general secretary for the central Macedonia district, the Thessaloniki prefect and the city's mayor. On Thursday night Anthimos met with the Thessaloniki chief of police, Ioannis Panagopoulos.

    [11] Istanbul meeting between Orthodox Church and European People's Party

    ISTANBUL, 10/06/2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Friday stressed the need to respect all religions and to promote peace based on the universal moral values of humanity.

    Vartholomeos was speaking in Fanar, Istanbul during the fourth meeting between the Orthodox Church and the European People's Party and the European Democrats. The subject of this year's meeting is "Society of citizens, human rights and quality of life." A number of Europarliament deputies took part, as well as representatives of the Patriarchates of Moscow, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria and academics.

    As an example of how cooperation between religions could promote peace, the Ecumenical Patriarch mentioned an "inter-faith council" in Kosovo, in which the spiritual leaders of Kosovo's Orthodox, Moslem and Roman-Catholic communities all participated.

    Later during the meeting, main opposition New Democracy Eurodeputy Marietta Yiannakou-Koutsikou read out a message from ND party leader Costas Karamanlis, in which he noted that politicians "should refer to the values of Christian tradition, especially now that the future of Europe is being discussed at length."

    Former European Commission president Jacques Santer spoke about the importance of constant dialogue between politicians and people of the Church, saying that dialogue had much to offer the new European architecture.

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos earlier on Friday received Jacques Santer and the president of the European Peoples' Party (EPP) Hans-Gert Poetering.

    In addition, an eight-member delegation from the Greece-based Hellenica rescue group also visited the Patriarch. The group is in Turkey to assist rescue efforts in the Cerkes region and the town of Cantiri, both hit during the recent June 7 earthquake.

    [12] Greek alternate FM holds talks with Cyprus president

    NICOSIA 10/06/2000 (ANA)

    Greek Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi held what she termed a "very constructive" meeting with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides on Friday and said afterwards they reconfirmed common positions between Greece and Cyprus.

    Papazoi later met leftwing AKEL party secretary general Dimitris Christofias as part of contacts with party leaders.

    She said Cyprus' accession course constitutes a natural development which might change the factors of the (Cyprus) problem.

    Papazoi also met Socialdemocrat Movement leader Vassos Lyssarides, who later said an in-depth exchange of views was made and felt that cooperation between Greece and Cyprus, which constituted and would constitute the backbone of whatever success, would be strengthened continuously.

    Parliament President and Democratic Party (DHKO) leader Spyros Kyprianou was Papazoi's next interlocutor. He said their meeting was "interesting and very constructive."

    [13] Greek EU Commissioner addresses 23rd special session on women NEW

    YORK 10/06/2000 (ANA - M. Georgiadou)

    European Union Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou addressed the UN's 23rd special session on "Women 2000: Gender equality, development and peace for the 21st century" late on Friday night Greek time.

    Diamantopoulou expressed the EU's support for the Platform for Action, the commitments and three principles adopted by the Beijing Conference: the recognition that women's rights are human rights, the empowerment of women and the gender mainstreaming approach.

    "The struggle for equality is an ongoing one, requiring a sustained political effort over a period of decades. That is why gender equality has now been enshrined into the EU Treaty, as a fundamental goal. Women's rights are human rights and all policies must be designed to protect and promote them," she noted.

    Diamantopoulou said the key to success is equal representation since the participation of women in political and social life is fundamental for appropriate governance.

    Women's voices should be heard in the most important political sectors and the EU is ready to help all member-states in this direction, she added.

    [14] Gender equality discussed by Annan, Diamantopoulou

    Athens, 10/06/2000 (ANA)

    EU Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou was received by United Nations General Secretary Kofi Annan here this week on the sidelines of a conference to assess the last five-year period in terms of equality of the sexes.

    Diamantopoulou reportedly briefed the UN chief over a news program by the EU to improve equality, whereas other discussions focused on the conference.

    [15] France's Credit Agricole buys stake in Commercial Bank

    Athens, 10/06/2000 (ANA)

    Credit Agricole, one of France's largest banking concerns, said on Friday that it had agreed to buy a strategic 6.7 percent stake in the Commercial Bank of Greece for about 100 billion drachmas.

    Reports said the agreement, reached after protracted negotiations, provides for collaboration in bank assurance, investment banking and asset management.

    The French bank has a network of 8,000 branches with 86,000 employees in 60 countries, while the Commercial Bank is Greece's fourth largest banking group, with 380 branches.

    Credit Agricole was the only bank to express interest in becoming a strategic investor in the Greek state-controlled firm.

    [16] Greek stocks end the week with big gains

    Athens, 10/06/2000 (ANA)

    Equity prices ended the last trading session of the week with big gains on the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday reflecting improved market sentiment on signs of a positive outcome in negotiations to sell a minority stake in Commercial Bank to Credit Agricole.

    The general index ended at 4,436.45 points, up 1.12 percent, but off the day's highs of 4,449 points. Turnover was an improved 147 billion drachmas.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended at 2,455.56 points, up 1.21 percent and the FTSE/ASE 40 index rose 0.84 percent to 647.72 points

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended at 930.29 points, up 2.10 percent.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 219 to 115 with another 12 issues unchanged.

    Iaso Maternity, Hellenic Telecoms, ETBAbank and Altec were the most heavily traded stocks.

    Derivatives rise in line with stock market: Equity futures finished higher on Friday, tracking the two indices on which they are based.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 closed 1.21 percent up, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 0.84 percent higher.

    Turnover was 9.9 billion drachmas from 11.7 billion drachmas a day earlier.

    A total of 1,270 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index with turnover at 6.2 billion drachmas.

    Changing hands on the FTSE/ASE 40 were 1,430 futures on turnover of 3.7 billion drachmas.

    Bonds perky in buy-oriented trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Friday finished higher in brisk, buy-oriented trade.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.05 percent from 6.080 percent in the previous session; and the yield on the equivalent German bund was 5.48 percent.

    The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 90 basis points from 89-93 basis points a day earlier.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 172 billion drachmas from 272 billion drachmas in the previous session. Buy orders accounted for 114 billion drachmas of turnover and sell orders the remainder.

    Drachma down vs euro, dollar: The drachma on Friday dropped 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 336.670 drachmas from 336.510 drachmas in the previous session.

    Also at the fixing, the US dollar was set at 352.380 drachmas from 351.260 drachmas a day earlier.

    [17] Gov't to privatize ETBA, Skaramanga Shipyards:

    Athens, 10/06/2000 (ANA)

    Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis on Friday told shareholders of National Industrial Development Bank (ETBA), which is listed on the Athens bourse, that the unit would be privatized.

    The government would shortly hire a consultant to recommend the time scale and terms of the sale, Christodoulakis said.

    ETBA's shareholders are the state (65.5 percent), state-owned Agricultural Bank (9.9 percent), institutional investors (3.9 percent), and roughly 200,000 retail investors (20.7 percent).

    In addition, Skaramanga Shipyards, which is 51 percent owned by ETBA, will be privatized, Christodoulakis said. The remaining 49 percent is owned by the shipyard's workers.

    Finally, a new company called Greek Industrial Real Estate will be created to take control of ETBA's industrial zones, Christodoulakis added.

    [18] Thessaloniki hosts second Interbalkan Information Forum

    Athens, 10/06/2000 (ANA)

    The development of the Balkans needs huge steps like the one offering this forum, Thessaloniki mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos told delegates in his speech inaugurating the second Interbalkan Information Forum.

    The forum is organized by the Northern Greece's Information Business Association with delegates from the private and public sectors and academics from 12 countries in northeast Europe.

    Development ministry's secretary-general Dimitris Mardas, in his speech, referred to positive prospects for the information sector in Greece in view of increased funds included in a Third Community Support Framework. He predicted that the country's image would be totally different in the next six years, regarding new technologies.

    The government, he said, will announce the formation of a legislative committee, to prepare a bill on electronic commerce, on Monday, and that a new bill would be tabled in parliament by the end of August.

    Northern Greece's Information Business Association chairman, Anastasios Tzikas, reiterated his call for the creation of an Interbalkan Information Center, based in Thessaloniki, with the aim to bring together information businesses of the region.

    [19] Tram to be built for southern Athens before 2004 Olympics

    Athens, 10/06/2000 (ANA)

    The government on Friday decided to go ahead with the first phase of construction of a tram for southern Athens, due for completion before the 2004 Olympic Games to be hosted in the Greek capital.

    The decision to call an international tender for the project was taken by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Transport Minister Christos Verelis. The winner of the tender will also acquire a lease to run the tram for 30 years. Under the first phase of the project, a tram line will link Zappion in the city center to Syngrou Avenue, Nea Smyrni, Paleo Faliro and Neo Faliro. The second phase of the project will link Paleo Faliro with Aghios Kosmas and Glyfada.

    On completion of the second phase of construction, the tram line will total 20 kilometers at a cost of 105 billion drachmas.

    The decision to divide the project was taken to accelerate construction before the Olympics.

    The state will fund 45 billion drachmas of the project from its own funds and from the European Union's Third Community Support Framework. The remaining 60 billion drachmas will be sought from the private sector through the tender.

    [20] Kavala to open info bureau in Istanbul for visiting Turkish businessmen

    ISTANBUL 10/06/2000 (ANA-A.Kourkoulas)

    Local authorities in Kavala are to open a bureau in Istanbul that will provide information for Turkish businessmen interested in visiting the northern Greek municipality, Turkey's Anadolu news agency said on Friday.

    The municipality will work with the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce to set up and run the office, which will also provide information for students and tourists wishing to visit Kavala, the news report said.

    [21] Greek businessmen visit Tirana

    TIRANA 10/06/2000 (ANA - Ilir Patso)

    A group of businessmen, members of the Trikala Economic and Commercial Chamber, visited Tirana on Friday for talks with businessmen from the Albanian capital's Chamber of Commerce.

    The meeting was attended by Greek Ambassador to Tirana Alexandros Mallias and Albanian agriculture and transport ministers Lupter Juveli and Sokol Nako respectively.

    The Greek ambassador stressed the significance of Greek investments and said that "Greek investments in Albania will amount to 200 million dollars by the end of 2000."

    [22] 18 percent of Greek youth against presence of foreigners in the country

    BRUSSELS 10/06/2000 (ANA - V. Demiris)

    Young Greeks aged between 15-24, more than the youth of any other European Union member-state, are against the presence of foreigners in the country, according to a European Commission report publicized here on Friday and concerning educational systems in member-states.

    According to the report, 18 percent of Greek youth stated that citizens from third countries staying in Greece "should return to their countries of origin", while only eight percent expressed satisfaction over the presence of foreigners.

    Negative feelings over the presence of foreigners in their country are observed in Belgium, which follows with 15 percent, Austria 14 percent, France 13 percent, Germany 12 percent and Italy 11 percent.

    The report further revealed that 71 percent of young Greeks know a foreign language, while 18 percent said they are not interested in learning any foreign language.

    [23] Sabah says Greek model tricked into going to Turkish-occupied Cyprus

    ANKARA 10/06/2000 (ANA - A. Abatzis)

    A Turkish daily on Friday reported that a Greek beauty pageant contestant was fooled last week into believing she would compete in Istanbul before being taken to the Turkish-occupied third of Cyprus.

    A Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state declared in the Turkish-occupied parts of Cyprus in 1983 is recognized only by Ankara, which also keeps up to 35,000 troops in the occupied areas.

    According to a front-page article in the daily "Sabah", Katerina Deli was deceived by an executive of a beauty pageant, identified as the "Miss Globe" competition. The newspaper also refers to the man, listed as Turkish national Suha Ozgermi, as a "national charlatan".

    "Deli arrived in Turkey one week ago, where the representatives of the beauty pageant told her there would be a trip to Cyprus for a photo shoot, resulting in Deli being transported to the 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus', which is not recognized by Greece", Sabah wrote.

    The Greek model's arrival in the occupied territory and her appearance in front of the pseudo-state's flag as she disembarked a plane at an illegal airport sparked criticism both in Greece and Cyprus. She later told reporters she was unaware that she was headed to the Turkish-occupied areas.

    [24] Homes complex for Turkish quake victims to be named "Intrasoft S.A"

    ISTANBUL 10/06/2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    "Intrasoft S.A" will be the name given to a homes complex in the city of Kocaeli where the new homes for victims of the August 17, 1999 earthquake in Turkey will be inaugurated on Saturday.

    The complex, which is a donation of the Greek information technology company Intrasoft S.A., a member of the Intracom group, will develop activities for psychological support and social rehabilitation of children and adults affected by last year's devastating quake in the neighboring country.

    [25] Explosion heard on Rhodes blamed on Turkish navy exercises

    Athens, 10/06/2000 (ANA)

    A strong explosion near the SE Aegean holiday island of Rhodes, apparently emanating from Turkish naval maneuvers, broke windows and caused a minor panic among local residents on Friday.

    Officials at Greece's defense ministry later pinpointed the blast at around 20 nautical miles from the Greek island.

    Initially, authorities on Rhodes believed the explosion was caused from a bomb planted at the island's courthouse, as a crank caller had warned shortly before the blast was heard at around 1:45 p.m.

    In a related AP dispatch, a Turkish coast guard spokesman from the town of Marmaris was quoted as saying the blast was part of a routine naval exercise, code-named "Seawolf".

    The same source said the Turkish navy was attempting to sink an old vessel used for torpedo target practice.

    [26] Mayors of Athens and Sydney sign friendship and cooperation agreement

    MELBOURNE 10/06/2000 (ANA - S. Hatzimanolis)

    Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos and Sydney Mayor Frank Sartor signed an "Agreement of friendship and cooperation between the cities of Sydney and Athens" during a ceremony held at Sydney's Town Hall on Friday.

    The agreement mentions that since the two cities will host the Olympic Games in 2000 and 2004 respectively and since many Greeks live in Sydney and Greece and Australia are the only countries which have participated in all the modern-day Olympic Games, the two cities agree to build a spirit of close cooperation on the preparation and promotion of the Olympiads, examine and cultivate cultural and commercial activities between them, adopt a spirit of friendship and follow fields of mutual interest.

    [27] Greek alternate FM says Cyprus' EU accession course can act as catalyst in solving Cyprus problem

    NICOSIA, 10/06/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Greece's Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi said Cyprus' accession course to the European Union (EU) can act as a catalyst in solving the Cyprus problem and that the Turkish Cypriot leadership deprives the Turkish Cypriots from this "big and excellent capability which Cyprus has achieved".

    Speaking at a press conference after talks with Cyprus Foreign

    Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, Papazoi said they (talks) "affirmed that our two fundamental aims will continue, i.e. the solution of the political problem of Cyprus and the island's accession to the EU".

    She discussed with Kasoulides the third round of proximity talks due to begin on July 5 in Geneva, and "how Greece can cope with the problems that may possibly arise".

    The Greek alternate foreign minister sent a message to the Turkish Cypriots that "despite the difficulties for a solution to the political problem, we should not forget that Cyprus is a Republic in which its people prosper and its future prospects are excellent".

    "The Turkish Cypriots should think well how to use President Glafcos Clerides' generous proposal for participation in the accession negotiations because a positive climate opens up for Turkish Cypriots and secures them all their freedom and economic prosperity and will help in bringing peace in the region".

    The reaction of the Turkish Cypriot leadership, she said, "deprives Turkish Cypriots from this great and excellent capability which Cyprus has achieved by being the best candidate country for accession."

    Earlier on Friday Papazoi was received by President Glafcos Clerides and House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou and had meetings with party leaders. Kyprianou expressed certainty that the Greek diplomat will substantially help in promoting a Cyprus settlement.

    [28] British envoy says weeks leading to July talks on Cyprus problem are decisive

    NICOSIA 10/06/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Britain's Special Representative for Cyprus, Sir David Hannay, said on Friday that the weeks leading up to the July Geneva talks on the Cyprus problem are decisive and reflect the support of the international community for a settlement.

    Speaking at a press conference, Sir David said that the background against which foreign envoys are working has become a lot more favorable in the last year and that there are a number of developments that have contributed to that, one of which is the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations.

    Sir David said he has concluded his talks in Cyprus, noting that he is the first of a few envoys to visit the island over the next few weeks, before UN-led proximity talks on the Cyprus problem begin in Geneva, on July 5.

    A first round of proximity talks was held in December 1999 in New York and a second in February 2000 in Geneva, aiming at preparing the ground for substantive negotiations leading to a comprehensive solution.

    The British diplomat said these weeks "represent a period of very intensive preparation for the next round of talks", noting that "this is a reflection of the very great support by the international community and interest in a settlement of the Cyprus problem".

    Sir David said that "the background against which we (foreign envoys) are working has become a lot more favorable in the last year", adding that "there are a number of developments that have contributed to that, obviously the improvement in relations between Greece and Turkey is foremost amongst those".

    He added that "now that the electoral dust has settled" in both countries "we are all hoping, those friends and allies of Greece and Turkey, that the process will continue and certainly we believe that its potential for favorably influencing the climate in which we are trying to find a solution to Cyprus is real".

    Asked if there is a relation between Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus problem, Sir David said: "Of course there is and each of these issues has a capacity to affect the others in a negative or a positive sense".

    He said "all the principles involved in the Cyprus issue agree that the improvement in Greek-Turkish relations has been beneficial".

    [29] UN envoy de Soto due in Cyprus

    NICOSIA, 10/06/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    UN Secretary General's Special Advisor for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto will be in Cyprus for contacts with the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides from 15-18 June, and not later on as initially announced, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said here on Friday.

    The spokesman also said he would not facilitate efforts by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to raise obstacles in the UN process of proximity talks and would therefore restrain from commenting on Denktash's remarks about having to return to Cyprus in July, after he had made himself available to the UN for the entire month of July for peace talks. "It has been confirmed that de Soto has changed the dates of his visit here. He arrives on 15 June and will stay here until 18 during which time he is to have two separate meetings with President Glafcos Clerides," Papapetrou told his daily press briefing.

    De Soto's visit takes place only three weeks before the start of the third round of UN-led talks begins on 5 July in Geneva. The UN has asked President Glafcos Clerides and Denktash to be ready to remain in Geneva for all of July.

    In the past few days, Denktash has said he needs to come back to Cyprus between 14-22 of July to attend the so-called "celebrations" for 26th anniversary of the July 20 Turkish invasion of the island.

    [30] Turkish Cypriot illegal court 'orders' Greek Cypriot soldier to remain in custody

    NICOSIA, 10/06/2000 (CNA/ANA)

    An illegal court in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus "ordered" a Greek Cypriot soldier to remain in "custody" for 20 days after he was abducted by the Turkish occupation forces on Tuesday.

    United Nations Peacekeeping Forces Spokeswoman Sarah Russell told CNA that "the charges being founded are that 21-year-old George Kassianides was in a first class military area without permission".

    This, she added, "normally carries a two-year sentence".

    Kassianides' family was expected to visit the soldier in the Turkish- occupied part of Nicosia on Friday afternoon.

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