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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-06-21

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Simitis says Greece has now entered the EU's central nucleus
  • [02] Round of applause for Simitis from EU leaders over EMU entry
  • [03] Greece to submit first stability and growth program in fall
  • [04] EMU entry a great, catalytic and historical event, government spokesman says
  • [05] Greek EMU accession a milestone in the country's history - PASOK
  • [06] Clerides congratulates Greece on euro zone entry
  • [07] US State Department congratulates Greece on its EMU entry
  • [08] Review of EU summit conclusions
  • [09] Parliament approves creation of Athens Islamic center
  • [10] Government spokesman rejects US paper's claims of Greek involvement in 'Milosevic retirement plan'
  • [11] Former PM meets Yugoslav ambassador
  • [12] UN envoy says Greece and Turkey should make more intensified efforts for Cyprus solution
  • [13] Ambassador Filon reiterates Greece's commitment to fighting terrorism
  • [14] SAE to launch campaign against disinformation
  • [15] Greek EU employment and social affairs Commissioner to visit Turkey
  • [16] Countdown to Church 'people's assembly' begins; traffic police warn motorists to stay away from town center on Wednesday
  • [17] Aegean minister criticizes Church for dividing Greeks for no reason
  • [18] NATO exercise in progress in Black Sea
  • [19] Navy chief to Romania, Army chief to Italy
  • [20] Defense ministry delegation from People's Republic of China visiting Greece
  • [21] Greek minority representatives brief secretary of US Embassy in Tirana on their problems
  • [22] Minister says microeconomics at the fore after euro zone entry
  • [23] Greek stocks end sharply lower on ASE
  • [24] Derivatives fall in line with stock market
  • [25] Bond prices down after euro-zone entry approval
  • [26] Drachma up vs euro, down vs dollar
  • [27] Drys to advise regional authorities on efficient spending
  • [28] Aspis Group and ETBAbank to establish new electronics business company
  • [29] Successful fire drill at Petrola refinery
  • [30] 'Black Star' group claims torching of UN car
  • [31] Greece-Israel Friendship Society in central Athens in early August 1999
  • [32] Police arrest three people for trafficking smuggled goods
  • [33] Navy Week to be held between June 25 and July 2
  • [34] 'The Breakup of Yugoslavia' now published in the English language
  • [35] Olympic Airways starts non-stop flights to Boston
  • [36] Separate half day strikes called by Athens trolley bus drivers, taxis
  • [37] Traffic police to begin sweep for 'pollution'
  • [38] UN announces Cyprus peace talks to resume July 5 in Geneva
  • [39] Cypriot, French defense ministers agree on signing military cooperation agreement
  • [40] Limassol to host Euro-Mediterranean industry ministers conference

  • [01] PM Simitis says Greece has now entered the EU's central nucleus

    FEIRA 21-06-2000 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Tuesday with the decision on Greece's accession to Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), the country is now entering the European Union's central nucleus, which is one of the most powerful political and economic poles in the world.

    The European Council unanimously approved Greece's entry into the EMU on the first day of the EU summit on Monday.

    Speaking at a press conference at the end of the summit here, Simitis said "today is a historic day."

    "This development permits us now to better exploit possibilities provided by European unification and constitutes a qualitative change since it promotes Greece to a higher level," he said, adding that accession to the euro means greater economic stability, better growth rates and more confidence.

    Simitis said this development creates new conditions both at political and social level, which can lead to wider understandings, which constitute a basic element of developed societies.

    "We will be solving and handling the problems and challenges of the new age together," Simitis said and referred, as an example, to discussions held during the European Council on taxation issues.

    Simitis said that "Greece's course towards unified Europe, which started in 1981, is being completed with today's decision" and added that after joining the euro Greece is not lagging behind in any sector and is stronger at present than it was in the past.

    Commenting on issues discussed during the Council, apart from the issue of accession to the euro, he referred to decisions on supporting employment and the EU's institutional reform.

    He said that following a Greek initiative and in close cooperation with Britain, the finalized communiqué includes reference to terrorism issues stressing the need for close cooperation between EU member-states on handling this international phenomenon.

    The summit reached specific conclusions in a number of sectors and, among others, decisions taken on joint European defense and security safeguard the EU's autonomy on the taking of political decisions, while the need was stressed for close cooperation and consultations between the EU and European countries which are not members but belong to NATO.

    Regarding EU enlargement, the summit expressed satisfaction over progress achieved in accession negotiations and called on Turkey to move decisively in the direction of democratization and meet criteria set out at the EU Helsinki summit.

    On the question of the western Balkans, the summit confirmed that its aim is to achieve the greatest possible incorporation of countries in the region in Europe's political and economic course. It also stressed the importance of the inviolability of borders and the hope for Serbia to move in the direction of democratization.

    Reference was also made to the Balkan Reconstruction Organization, which is headquartered in Thessaloniki, and that it should undertake the economic management of reconstruction and recovery programs, which satisfies Greece absolutely.

    [02] Round of applause for Simitis from EU leaders over EMU entry

    FEIRA, Portugal 21-06-2000 (ANA - D. Stamboglis)

    Minutes after noon on Tuesday, the assembled EU heads of state and government broke into hearty applause for Prime Minister Costas Simitis as the announcement of the summit conclusions reached the point where it said that Greece becomes a member of the euro zone on January 1, 2001.

    Each of the EU leaders then took it in turns to congratulate the Greek prime minister in person, as well as National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Alternate Foreign Minister Elisavet Papazoi.

    They then opened up a 1981 bottle of port, signifying the year that Greece first became a member of the European Economic Community, to celebrate.

    [03] Greece to submit first stability and growth program in fall

    FEIRA, Portugal 21-06-2000 (ANA - D. Stamboglis)

    Greece will enter the euro zone from January 1, 2001 at a central rate of 340.750 drachmas per euro and will have to submit a stability and growth plan instead of the convergence program.

    The country will have to submit its first stability and growth program next fall (October, November), according to a decision taken by a EU Council in Amsterdam, June 17, 1997.

    The decision envisages that all EMU member-states are committed to maintain a medium-term target for a balanced, or surplus, fiscal condition, as foreseen in national stability or convergence programs.

    Member-states will also have to take own fiscal measures to achieve these goals.

    A EU summit in Madrid (December 1995) had confirmed the decisive importance of maintaining fiscal discipline during EMU's third stage.

    [04] EMU entry a great, catalytic and historical event, government spokesman says

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    Greece's EMU entry is a great, catalytic and historical event acting government spokesman Tilemahos Hytiris said on Tuesday, adding that it signaled the country's move away from regression.

    Hytiris said Greece's EMU entry was the result of the stable and responsible policies implemented since 1994 and especially after that year.

    [05] Greek EMU accession a milestone in the country's history - PASOK

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    The European Council's approval at the Feira summit on Monday of Greece's application to join EMU is a milestone in the country's modern history, meaning that it now joins on merit a strong group of the most developed countries worldwide, the ruling PASOK party said on Tuesday.

    "Our accession to EMU represents a huge qualitative change for the country and opens up new horizons for progress... Greece is now a strong country, with a healthy economy, prestige and international recognition, and a stable democracy ... It has successfully met its biggest peacetime challenge, winning a place in the group of most developed and powerful countries on earth", Prime Minister Costas Simitis and the party's Executive Bureau said in a statement.

    The ruling party said that success could not mean the end of efforts.

    "We know full well that new battles lie ahead in the new era. Unemployment, social exclusion and social solidarity continue to be the important parameters for tomorrow. Our new position requires us to forge ahead even faster for a society with more opportunities for the citizen," said the statement.

    "We are seeking a Greece of development, social cohesion and solidarity. We promote the modernization of Greek society, for more democracy and stronger institutions in the service of the citizen, and the consolidation of the country as a factor of security, stability and peace in the region... We want Greece to be in the vanguard of European developments because this is what its interests dictate," it added.

    Other messages

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis said in a message that the Greek people now not only aspired to but also possessed the potential of leaving behind a poor past and joining the other European nations in the great adventure of a united Europe.

    The General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) welcomed the country's' accession to the euro zone as "a particularly important event, whose appropriate utilization creates new realities for its economic evolution and development". It added that the new era should not mean a compression of wages and pensions but a raising of the level of social protection and a just distribution of tax burdens.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) warned in a statement that the Greek people would now face a new period of austerity, more serious than any previous one.

    "The prime minister's big talk hides even new, more barbaric and inhuman measures that strengthen capital through the exploitation of labor ... The formation of a strong anti-imperialist and anti-monopolistic sociopolitical alliances at national levels and their coordination at European level is the only option for workers," KKE said.

    [06] Clerides congratulates Greece on euro zone entry

    NICOSIA, 21-06-2000 (ANA/CNA)

    Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides on Tuesday congratulated Greece and Prime Minister Costas Simitis on entering EMU, a decision made on Monday at the EU Summit in Feira, Portugal.

    Clerides described Greece's entry into the euro zone as "an historic event, of great economic and political significance" for the country, which he stressed was rapidly developing into a modern and powerful nation.

    Greece's now greater power, the Cypriot president continued, would also reinforce the efforts of the Cyprus Republic and Greek-Cypriots to find a peaceful solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Clerides also said that Greece's entry would make Cyprus' path toward EU accession easier, thus benefiting both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

    Cypriot government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou also referred to Greece's EMU entry on Tuesday, saying it made Greece "a leading player on the European scene", and that this would have positive results for Cyprus also. "The stronger Greece is as a country, the better it is for Cyprus," he said.

    [07] US State Department congratulates Greece on its EMU entry

    WASHINGTON D.C. 21-06-2000 (ANA - T. Ellis)

    The U.S. State Department on Tuesday repeated US President Bill Clinton's congratulations on Monday to Prime Minister Costas Simitis on the approval of Greece's entry to the EU's Economic and Monetary Union.

    The European Council on Monday, first day of the European Union's summit in Feira, Portugal, unanimously approved Greece's entry to the euro-zone.

    Commenting on Greece's accession, a spokesman said "we congratulate the Greek government and the Greek people on the decision which was taken in Portugal. It goes to show the impressive economic progress which Greece has achieved these past few years as well as its increased active political role in the European Union."

    [08] Review of EU summit conclusions

    FEIRA, Portugal 21-06-2000 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)

    During the EU summit, which ended here on Tuesday, a broad agreement on a series of issues was reached.

    On reforming EU institutions, the "15" have decided that the issue of enhanced cooperation - the ability, in other words, of a certain number of EU countries to develop closer ties and closer cooperation in specific areas - should be added to the agenda of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC). The IGC is currently discussing how to reform EU institutions and is supposed to reach an agreement by the end of the year, when the EU leaders meet again at Nice. They also decided that they would examine the progress that has been made at the special EU Summit in October in Biarritz.

    The summit has also confirmed that the EU's goal is to formulate a common European policy for security and defense and that the first "European army" for crisis management and humanitarian missions would be ready for deployment in 2003.

    The EU council noted the need for close cooperation between the EU and NATO in defense matters, while it expressed satisfaction that NATO members not belonging to the EU, such as Turkey and Norway, had expressed a desire to contribute to the EU's defense capacity.

    While making it clear that the EU would retain autonomy in decision-making for defense matters, the Council expressed a desire for closer consultation with non-EU states in NATO.

    Finally, the council called on the member-states to make voluntary contributions for the creation of a 5,000-strong EU police force that will be deployed in areas of crisis.

    The EU leaders said that negotiations with the countries in the so-called "second wave" of expansion might begin in 2001, but urged Turkey to speed up progress in human rights and other criteria set at the Helsinki summit.

    With regard to employment, the "15" noted the need for measures that focused on new technologies. Member-states were urged to coordinate economic policy, particularly macroeconomic policy aiming at development and stability, while the text underlined the need for strict adherence to the directions of economic policy recently published for 2000 by the European Commission.

    With regard to the Balkans, the EU leaders said they support every effort aimed at democratization and economic modernization of the countries in the region and noted a proposal by French President Jacques Chirac for an international summit for EU member-states and those Balkan countries that had made important steps toward democracy and a market economy. In relation to Serbia, meanwhile, EU leaders repeated known EU positions calling for a change in regime.

    [09] Parliament approves creation of Athens Islamic center

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    The Greek Parliament on Tuesday approved the creation of the first Islamic cultural center and mosque in the Athens area.

    The proposal, carried with 55 votes in favor, 40 against and three abstentions in Parliament's summer session, envisages the building of the complex in Paiania, some 15 km from the center of the city. Those voting in favor were deputies of the ruling PASOK party, the Coalition of the Left (Synaspismos) and one independent, while all those voting against belonged to the main opposition New Democracy party. The three Communist Party deputies who abstained said in a statement that they favored the creation of a mosque in the Gazi area of Athens, close to the city center, where a Muslim community of a few thousand resides.

    [10] Government spokesman rejects US paper's claims of Greek involvement in 'Milosevic retirement plan'

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    The Greek government on Tuesday denied a report appearing in the US newspaper "New York Times", which alleged that Greece was involved in a plan to allow Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw from power in Yugoslavia in exchange for guarantees.

    The report had earlier been denied by authorities in the US and Russia.

    Acting government spokesman Tilemahos Hytiris also denied all attempts made by the newspaper to link this scenario with a visit to Belgrade by former Greek foreign minister Karolos Papoulias.

    Visits and contacts of this kind, the spokesman said, were carried out in the framework of efforts to resolve the situation in the Balkans generally, after the war in Kosovo.

    [11] Former PM meets Yugoslav ambassador

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    Former prime minister and honorary president of the main opposition New Democracy party Constantine Mitsotakis met on Tuesday with Yugoslav Ambassador to Athens Dragomir Vucicevic and discussed developments in Yugoslavia.

    The meeting was not pre-announced to the press and no statements were made afterwards.

    [12] UN envoy says Greece and Turkey should make more intensified efforts for Cyprus solution

    ISTANBUL 21-06-2000 (ANA - A. Kourkoulas)

    The UN secretary general's special envoy Alvaro de Soto said on Tuesday Greece and Turkey should make more intensified efforts for a solution to the Cyprus issue, in the third round of proximity talks which start in Geneva on July 5.

    He also said Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots should find solutions on basic issues "dividing them", adding that helping the two sides agree on a solution is a priority for the UN. De Soto said problems in Cyprus can only be resolved through dialogue and that "we hope the Turkish Cypriot side will participate in the talks".

    He declined comment on whether the Cypriot leadership "approaches the idea of a confederation."

    The Anatolia news agency reported that De Soto said this "is the most crucial point of the issue".

    After meeting Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and referring to Turkey's reactions on the decision to renew the mandate for the UN peacekeeping force, de Soto expressed the hope that recent developments will not have a negative effect on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's efforts.

    [13] Ambassador Filon reiterates Greece's commitment to fighting terrorism

    WASHINGTON D.C., 21-06-2000 (ANA- T. Ellis)

    The suppression of terrorism is a top priority for the Greek government, which has intensified its efforts and cooperation with the United States in recent years, the Greek ambassador to Washington, Alexandros Filon, has said in letter to the "Washington Post", published Tuesday.

    "Combating terrorism is a top priority not only for the Government, but for the people of Greece as well, as evidenced by the public outcry and commentary in the Greek press following the (recent) appalling murder of Brigadier Saunders (British military attaché to Greece)", he said in comment to an editorial critical of Greece's anti-terrorist record, carried on June 13.

    Filon notes that the Greek government recently doubled the price on the heads of the members of the notorious November 17 group, which killed Saunders to $2.8 million, and is undertaking additional initiatives and measures, such as joint action in the European Union and improvements in the legal provisions.

    "The Greek government has moved rapidly to tighten and intensify those anti-terrorist resources and methods - including the impending signature of an agreement for police cooperation with the U.S., a new initiative for joint action in the European Union... as well as measures to increase the effectiveness of the legal framework, such as witness protection. In fact, Greek-U.S. antiterrorism cooperation has increased in the past few years, as repeatedly confirmed by the U.S. Administration," he noted.

    Filon dismisses claims, such as from former CIA director James Woolsey, that members of the ruling PASOK party have not acted on information that could have led to the apprehension of terrorists.

    "What possible incentive could there be for the ruling party to turn a blind eye to November 17 when its own members and premises have been targeted? ... The invitation from the Greek government for those accusers to tell what they claim to know has been open to them. So far, they have failed to respond," he says.

    [14] SAE to launch campaign against disinformation

    CHICAGO, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    The Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) will organize a campaign against the misinforming of the American public and of political officials concerning recent announcements on acts of terrorism in Greece, the Council's President Andrew Athens said on Tuesday.

    "As part of the SAE's programs for bridging relations between the US and Greece, we have invited a number of celebrities having key positions both in the US Senate and the government to visit Greece. The guests will receive information on Greece's role in the Balkans and the European Union and will exchange views with politicians and economic officials," he said, after returning from Athens where he briefed Parliament and government members on SAE's plans.

    "The Greek government is determined to do everything possible to eradicate every act of terrorism in the country," he added.

    [15] Greek EU employment and social affairs Commissioner to visit Turkey

    BRUSSELS, 21-06-2000 (ANA - Y. Zitouniati)

    European Union Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou will pay a two-day official visit to Turkey on June 22-23, at the invitation of the Turkish authorities.

    It will be the first time a Greek commissioner will be visiting Turkey and the second visit by a European Commission member since Turkey was proclaimed a candidate for EU accession at the Helsinki summit last December.

    Diamantopoulou will be meeting Turkish officials, including Labor Minister Yasar Okuyan and Family and Women's Affairs Minister Hasan Gemisi. She will also be addressing a seminar organized in Istanbul by the Economic Development Foundation on the social model and the EU's enlargement process.

    [16] Countdown to Church 'people's assembly' begins; traffic police warn motorists to stay away from town center on Wednesday

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    The government's decision with regard to the identity card issue is clear and concerns upholding the law, acting government spokesman Tilemachos Hytiris said on Tuesday, one day before a major "people's assembly" called by the Orthodox Church of Greece in protest over a decision to remove the religion category from state-issued ID cards.

    The previous protest rally - or "people's assembly" - organized by the Church over this issue, in Thessaloniki on June 14, mustered an estimated 100,000 faithful to the northern port city's central square.

    The Athens rally on Wednesday, which is generally expected to be much larger, is to take place in Syntagma Square at 7:00 p.m.

    The government decided to remove the religious beliefs' category in new identity cards at the recommendation of relatively new government agency for the protection of personal data, and to streamline Greek IDs with those issued to EU citizens. The Church objects, saying that the category should be retained but made optional.

    Hytiris told gathered reporters that the "fears and insecurities expressed over this issue are groundless" and once more reiterated that the government was prepared to talk with the Church on any issue that concerned its relations with the State - "but not the identity card issue, which is solely the concern of the State."

    Regarding Church-State dialogue, Hytiris pointed to an invitation extended by Education and Religious Affairs Minister Petros Efthymiou toward the Holy Hierarchy to begin talks and did not rule out the possibility of a meeting between Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Orthodox Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos.

    Kaisariani Metropolitan Daniel (a metropolitan is a high-ranking Orthodox cleric equivalent to a bishop), however, on Tuesday ruled out a meeting with the education minister.

    "There is a difference of opinion regarding the religion [category] on identity cards, since the State says that this is its own concern and the Church says the matter has a spiritual dimension," he said. Since the government has ruled out discussion on identity cards, we cannot go to the education minister."

    According to the metropolitan, 1500 coaches were scheduled to arrive in the capital for the "people's assembly" on Wednesday but he stressed that the gathering would be peaceful and that the faithful had been instructed to leave religious symbols at home.

    "The gathering will be won't be political nor opposed to the government. We simply want the voice of the faithful that disagree to be heard," he said. The Church, he added, does not want a political party nor to enter the political arena.

    Daniel also referred to reports that the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Fanar, Istanbul was allegedly uncomfortable with the tactics employed by the Greek Church in this matter and over not having been consulted.

    The metropolitan said that the Greek Holy Synod was unaware of this, and pointed to a statement by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos which said that this was an internal matter and that Vartholomeos didn't want to become involved because the regulations of the Church did not allow this. "Those who refer to and transmit such information should also present the evidence for it," he said.

    Meanwhile, traffic police have warned the public to expect major traffic jams in the town center on Wednesday because of the protest.

    A traffic police announcement said that after 3:00 p.m. they would gradually start blocking access to roads around Syntagma, including Fillelinon, Amalias, Olgas, Syngrou Avenue up to Vourvahi Street, Vassilissis Sofias up to the Hilton, Stadiou, Akadimias, Panepistimiou and Omonoia Square, Agiou Konstantinou from Karaiskaki Square, Patission from Alexandras Avenue and Pireos from Iera Odos.

    [17] Aegean minister criticizes Church for dividing Greeks for no reason

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    Aegean Minister Nikos Sifounakis on Monday criticized "the people who are bringing out people onto the sidewalks today" and who are attempting to divide the Greeks "without reason".

    Speaking at a press conference in Mytilene, Sifounakis also called on Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos to establish "his one way or another far-right, due to his views, political party".

    "During its history, the state has reserved special treatment for the Church. It turned its functionaries into civil servants and indeed with a productivity bonus. This situation will continue," he added.

    However, Sifounakis denounced what has been said against him over his alleged views on the changing of the flag and the removal of the cross from it.

    "What we have heard in Thessaloniki and what we will hear in Athens, demagoguery about the abolition of the cross from flags and all the rest, should stop," he said.

    [18] NATO exercise in progress in Black Sea

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    Ten NATO member-states and seven member-states of the Cooperation for Peace program are participating in NATO's exercise Cooperative Partner 2000 which got underway on Monday in the western part of the Black Sea and the region near Odessa as part of the program Partnership for Peace.

    Forces from Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey, Britain and the United States are participating in the exercise, as well as forces from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Sweden and the Ukraine.

    A total of 40 ships, 30 aircraft and 900 marines are participating. Greece is participating with a platoon of 30 marines, five paramedics, two staff officers and with ships belonging to NATO's naval forces. The exercise will end on July 1.

    [19] Navy chief to Romania, Army chief to Italy

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    Chief of Navy George Ioannidis began a four-day visit to Romania on Tuesday.

    He will discuss with his Romanian counterpart issues of mutual interest and the strengthening of naval relations between the two countries.

    Ioannidis will also visit Romanian naval installations.

    Armed Forces Chief Konstantinos Panayiotakis begins a three-day-visit to Italy on Wednesday. He will have talks with his Italian counterpart and visit installations and units of the Italian army.

    Officers and cadets of the foreign language center of the Romanian defense ministry began an official visit to Greece on Tuesday at the invitation of National Defense General Staff Chief Manousos Paragioudakis.

    During their stay, the Romanian students will be acquainted with the Greek language, history and culture.

    [20] Defense ministry delegation from People's Republic of China visiting Greece

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    A Defense Ministry delegation from the People's Republic of China is currently visiting Greece for a briefing on issues concerning the organization, operation, equipping and maintenance of Information Control and Computers Management systems.

    The Chinese delegation will be briefed by National Defense Ministry staff, as well as by general staffs. It will also visit the Hellenic Arms Industry, Intracom and the National Defense General Staff's war games department.

    The delegation, due to leave Greece on June 23, will also be given a guided tour of Corinth, Mycenae, Nafplio and Epidavros.

    [21] Greek minority representatives brief secretary of US Embassy in Tirana on their problems

    GJIROKASTER 21-06-2000 (ANA - P. Barkas)

    Lisa Teper, first secretary of the US Embassy in Tirana, made a three-day tour of southern Albania, including the prefecture of Gjirokaster as well as areas populated by the Greek minority, saying the reason for her visit to these areas is the overall interest of the US government and the Greek lobby in the US.

    The minority representatives briefed Teper on their problems related to violation of human and national rights. They also referred to the issue of education, recognition of Greek origin and the issue of their ownership status.

    During her tour of regions populated by the Greek minority, Teper visited cultural and religious monuments.

    [22] Minister says microeconomics at the fore after euro zone entry

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    Greece's entry into the euro zone, approved by a European Union summit in Portugal, will launch a new agenda for the country, focusing on microeconomics, Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Tuesday.

    "It opens a major new agenda for the Greek economy that mostly concerns micro-economic policies," Christodoulakis told a seminar on fair competition in Greece held by the Economic and Industrial Research Institute.

    In order to meet the shift away from macroeconomic policy, the government had set as a priority restructuring and reinforcement of the development ministry's competition commission to enable it to operate as a tool for micro-economic policy, he said.

    "Microeconomics will bear the brunt of structural adaptation, especially in Greece," the minister added.

    He said the main challenge for the Greek economy in the coming decade was to align domestic competitiveness with other EU member states.

    [23] Greek stocks end sharply lower on ASE

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    The Athens Stock Exchange ignored a EU summit's decision to accept Greece in the euro zone with equity prices ending sharply lower on Tuesday hit by lack of fresh capital in the market.

    Market sources said the Greek market followed the example of its Spanish counterpart, which also fell the day after the country's EMU entry.

    Share prices, of both blue chip and smaller capitalization stocks, came under strong pressure to end sharply lower. Traders said the fall did not reflect sell orders but lack of demand.

    The general index ended at 4,304.40 points, off 1.48 percent, slightly off the day's lows of 4,296.5, with turnover shrinking to 82 billion drachmas.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended 1.67 percent lower at 2,381.51 points and the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 2.17 percent to 622.04 points.

    The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended at 864.19 points, off 3.73 percent.

    Broadly, decliners led advancers by 292 to 49 with another five issues unchanged.

    Hellenic Telecoms, Alpha Bank, Naoussa Spinning, Klonatex and National Bank of Greece were the most heavily traded stocks.

    The Athens Stock Exchange announced changes in the FTSE/ASE 20 and FTSE/ASE Mid 40 indices, following a merger between Bank of Piraeus, Macedonia-Thrace Bank and Xiosbank. Lambrakis Press Organization replaces Macedonia-Thrace Bank in the FTSE/ASE 20 index, while Iaso Maternity replaces Xiosbank in the FTSE/ASE Mid 40 index, effective immediately.

    [24] Derivatives fall in line with stock market

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Tuesday, tracking the two indices on which they are based.

    The FTSE/ASE 20 closed 1.67 percent down, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 2.17 percent lower.

    Turnover was 6.2 billion drachmas from 8.8 billion drachmas a day earlier.

    A total of 707 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 index with turnover at 3.4 billion drachmas.

    Changing hands on the FTSE/ASE 40 were 1,153 futures on turnover of 2.8 billion drachmas.

    [25] Bond prices down after euro-zone entry approval

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Tuesday finished lower in light, sell-oriented trade in the first trading session after a European Union summit endorsed Greece's entry into the euro zone on January 1, 2001.

    The drop was explained by what the market sees as tardiness by the Bank of Greece in lowering interest rates, and to window-dressing by banks in order to show higher six-month gains, analysts said.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 6.025 percent from 6.02 percent in the previous session; and the yield on the equivalent German bund was around 5.114 percent.

    The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 90 basis points from 92 basis points a day earlier.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totaled 48 billion drachmas from 160 billion drachmas in the previous session.

    Sell orders accounted for 38 billion drachmas of turnover.

    [26] Drachma up vs euro, down vs dollar

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    The drachma on Tuesday rose against the euro and fell versus the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market.

    At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 336.540 drachmas from 336.700 drachmas in the previous session.

    Also, at the fixing, the US dollar was set at 351.990 drachmas from 351.540 drachmas a day earlier.

    [27] Drys to advise regional authorities on efficient spending

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    Deputy Finance Minister George Drys on Wednesday launches a tour of the regions with a trip to Thessaloniki in order to brief authorities on how to spend their budgetary funds more efficiently and make savings.

    Drys is expected to ask the supervisors of fiscal control departments closely to monitor grants given to local bodies, and then inform the finance ministry of progress.

    The move aims to achieve more efficient spending of funds in the budget for 2000, and pave the way for 2001's budget.

    [28] Aspis Group and ETBAbank to establish new electronics business company

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    The Aspis Group and ETBAbank will establish a new electronics business company providing solutions for companies and organizations in the specific sector.

    The new company will be named e-valley and its initial share capital will amount to one billion drachmas. The Aspis Group will have a 62.5 percent stake, ETBAbank 15 percent and business adviser Alexandros Garyfalos, who will be the company's managing director, 22.5 percent.

    [29] Successful fire drill at Petrola refinery

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    A firefighting drill was held Tuesday at the Petrola refinery installations in Elefsis, near Piraeus, the site of a 1992 explosion that killed six workers, and merchant marine minister Christos Papoutsis called the exercise "a success".

    The drill, involving the combined forces of the Elefsis harbor authority, the local fire brigade, and the Petrola security personnel, simulated the removal of a burning ship at the installations during refueling.

    Papoutsis said after the drill that "the exercise was a complete success", and congratulated all who took part, including the local prefect for originating the idea.

    The minister stressed the importance of such drills that "enable us to be prepared to respond immediately when accidents occur".

    He said that preparedness was apparent during the mid-June accident aboard the Greek-flag tanker "Slops" while docked off Kynossoura in the Bay of Salamis southwest of Athens, when the tanker caught fire after an explosion occurred, killing a 22-year-old cleaner. An all-night battle to keep the blaze from spreading to other ships anchored before it was extinguished was successful.

    "We have the obligation of using the best techniques and to be always prepared, while at the same time we must improve constantly," Papoutsis said.

    "Greek shipping, if it is to look to the future with optimism, must always be prepared to achieve the best, but also to respond to the difficult moments, and that was what was proved here, in the excellent result we had with the coordinated efforts of the Harbor Authority, the Fire Brigade and, naturally, the seamen," the minister said.

    An explosion and fire at the Petrola SA refinery in September 1992 claimed the lives of six refinery workers and the serious injury of another nine. The explosion was attributed to a leak at a crude oil refining unit.

    [30] 'Black Star' group claims torching of UN car

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    A private car belonging to the UN office in Athens was torched early Tuesday in the Kolonaki residential district of Athens, and shortly later, a group calling itself "Black Star" claimed responsibility.

    Unidentified persons doused the car, a Starlet, with gasoline and set it on fire shortly after midnight as it was parked on the corner of Deinokratous and Marasli streets.

    A short while later an anonymous caller telephoned the Athens daily "Eleftherotypia" and claimed the attack on behalf of the "Black Star" group.

    The little-known group first appeared in August 1999 when it claimed responsibility for a firebomb attack at the entrance of the

    [31] Greece-Israel Friendship Society in central Athens in early August 1999

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    "Black Star" has also claimed responsibility in the past for a home-made bomb outside the offices of the Alico and Interamerican insurance companies in Athens' Patissia district in late November 1999 in which a worker was injured, and the torching in late January, 2000 of a car belonging to Athens First Instance Court prosecutor I. Sakka in the Gyzi residential district of Athens.

    [32] Police arrest three people for trafficking smuggled goods

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    Economic Crime Squad police in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, have broken up a gang smuggling goods, primarily cigarettes, to neighboring countries in past years with the use of trucks equipped with forged registration plates.

    Two people so far have been charged with creating a gang, forgery and accepting and selling products of a crime, while a third person is charged with violating the law on firearms and traffic regulations.

    The first two are Evangelos Isaakidis, 50, and Ioannis Ioannou, 28, while the third was identified as George Constantinidis, for whom the police have not yet disclosed any further information.

    [33] Navy Week to be held between June 25 and July 2

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    Navy Week will take place this year between June 25 and July 2 with Alexandroupolis, northern Greece, being the focus of events.

    Among others, the programme includes the fleet sailing into various ports in the country, concerts at Lycabettus and Alexandroupolis and displays by frogmen and paratroopers.

    On July 2, President Kostis Stephanopoulos will inspect, on board the frigate Elli, the fleet that will be deployed at the Trokadero at Paleo Faliro.

    [34] 'The Breakup of Yugoslavia' now published in the English language

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    Papazissis Publishers S.A. announced on Tuesday the publication of the book by Pavlos Sarlis, a former European Parliament deputy, "The Breakup of Yugoslavia" in the English language.

    The book, which was published in Greek in 1993, chronicles the dissolution of Yugoslavia. It is a record of the events themselves, their causes, origins, and the reaction of the European Community and the United Nations, and makes reference also to the history of the region. The book ends with a chronological table of the events comprised in the Yugoslav crisis.

    [35] Olympic Airways starts non-stop flights to Boston

    Olympic Airways on Tuesday announced it was starting non-stop flights to Boston, USA.

    The national carrier was servicing the route via its scheduled flights to New York or Toronto, Canada.

    OA will operate two scheduled flights to Boston, Monday and Thursday, using the latest aircraft in its fleet, the Airbus A340-300.

    [36] Separate half day strikes called by Athens trolley bus drivers, taxis

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    Athens trolley bus workers will be on strike between 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, because of a union meeting, while the city's taxi drivers have also called a strike for Tuesday evening, between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

    [37] Traffic police to begin sweep for 'pollution'

    Áthens, 21-06-2000 (ANA)

    Systematic road checks to locate drivers whose car exhausts exceed emission limits or who have not yet acquired an "emissions card" will begin on Wednesday, traffic police have announced. Offenders will be fined up to 50,000 Drs.

    [38] UN announces Cyprus peace talks to resume July 5 in Geneva

    NICOSIA, 21-06-2000 (CNA/ANA)

    The UN has announced that peace talks to find a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus will resume on 5 July, in Geneva. "Alvaro de Soto, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Cyprus, arrived in the region last Thursday evening to discuss preparations for the next session of proximity talks, which start in Geneva on July 5," deputy spokesman of the Secretary-General Manoel de Almeida e Silva told the Monday briefing.

    The announcement came only a day after de Soto told a press conference in Nicosia the UN Secretary-General hopes and expects to see the leaders of the two communities in Geneva on 5 July but stopped short of saying whether Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash assured him of his participation to the talks.

    De Soto, the UN deputy spokesman said, "spoke to both (President) Glafcos Clerides and Rauf Denktash, first on Friday and then again on Saturday."

    "On Sunday, he left for Ankara and Athens. He will also be traveling to Brussels," the spokesman added.

    There has been intense speculation in the past week about the future of the talks, after Denktash' strong criticisms of the UN which dropped an addendum it had introduced last December to a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN peace-keeping force in Cyprus.

    The addendum referred to UNFICYP consultations with the Turkish Cypriot side for the modalities of the force's operation in the Turkish-occupied part of the island.

    The UN resolution 186 of 1964, which ordered the peacekeepers to Cyprus, stipulates the UN consults with the government of the Republic.

    [39] Cypriot, French defense ministers agree on signing military cooperation agreement

    NICOSIA, 21-06-2000 (CNA/ANA)

    Defense Ministers of Cyprus and France, Socrates Hasikos and Alain Richard, have agreed on the signing of a military cooperation agreement between the two countries, especially concerning the training of Cypriots in French military schools and the support of French weapons bought by the Cyprus National Guard.

    According to an official statement issued here on Tuesday, Hasikos is visiting Paris at the invitation of his French counterpart within the framework of the international military exhibition, EYROSATORY 2000.

    The two men had a private meeting on Monday.

    The defense minister conveyed Cyprus' willingness to participate in the European defense and security institutions.

    Cyprus opened accession talks with the EU in 1998 and is ahead of other candidate countries in normalizing its legislation with that in the European Union.

    Hasikos also welcomed a decision taken by the EU at last December's Helsinki summit to set up a European military force and urged France after assuming the EU presidency to make efforts so that the candidate countries participate in consultations on defense and security issues.

    He said this would allow the candidate states to be informed and be in a position to fulfill their obligations when they join the Union.

    On his part Richard said that during his country's EU presidency, in the second half of 2000, the defense ministers of all countries that are on an accession course will be invited to participate in two meetings with their European counterparts.

    [40] Limassol to host Euro-Mediterranean industry ministers conference

    NICOSIA 21-06-2000 (CNA/ANA)

    The promotion of investment, the development of small and medium enterprises are among the issues to be discussed at the third Euro - Mediterranean Conference of Ministers of Industry to be held in Limassol on June 22.

    Industry Ministers from the 15 member countries of the European Union and from 12 countries of the Mediterranean will participate in the Conference. The EU Council and Commission will also participate.

    The conference is organized by the Cyprus Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism in cooperation with the European Commission and the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union.

    According to an official press release, the conference is expected to promote Cyprus worldwide and to contribute to the recognition of the role Cyprus can play in facilitating the EU targets in the Mediterranean region and the broader Middle East region.

    President Glafcos Clerides will address the conference and opening statements will be made by Cyprus' Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Nicos Rolandis, Minister of Economy and Finance of Portugal J. Pina Moura, Minister for Economic Services of Malta J. Boccini and EU Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society E. Liikanen.

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