|Friday, 24 January 2020|
Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 00-10-25
From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Balkan countries' European prospect imperative, Simitis says
Athens, 25/10/2000 (ANA)Greece believes that the Balkan countries' European prospect and integration in Euro-Atlantic structures are a sine qua non in the current system of international relations, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said on Tuesday evening in a message broadcast through the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia's (FYROM) state television.
Greece believes that the European prospect of Balkan countries and their integration in the Euro-Atlantic structures of security and defense are a sine qua non in the current system of international relations, Simitis said, one day before a Balkan summit in FYROM's capital Skopje.
This is the first ever visit by a Greek prime minister to FYROM, taking place during the Balkan Summit, and this fact has its own self evident importance, Simitis said.
The Balkan Summit is taking place, this year, in light of the recent positive developments in Yugoslavia and signals the beginning of a new era for the sensitive region of Southeastern Europe, the premier said.
A period that brings closer to the international community and Europe all countries of the region, including Yugoslavia. It is a common belief of all countries in the region that the elimination of rivalries, nationalisms and inflexibilities of the past is an one way course toward the consolidation of a climate of peace, stability, friendship, common understanding, cooperation and development, Simitis said.
Simitis reiterated Greece's policy in actively contributing with initiatives toward overcoming crises in the region saying "we should not forget that we, the people of the Balkans, live in the same neighborhood and for this reason a common effort is needed to achieve peace, cooperation, friendship and cooperation, which is of vital importance for the development of our countries and the prosperity of our citizens".
Conditions in Yugoslavia at center stage in Balkan summit: Prime Minister Costas Simitis will travel on Wednesday to Skopje, in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) for a Balkan summit in which Yugoslavia also participates, following the recent political changes in that country.
At the sidelines of the summit, Simitis will meet with leaders of other Balkan countries, including the prime minister of FYROM, Yugoslavia's new president and the Albanian president.
According to reports, the central issue to be discussed during the summit will be the situation in Yugoslavia, as the summit is taking place only three days before local elections in Kosovo.
The Balkan summit last convened in its plenum, including Yugoslavia, in 1997.
ND leader addresses problem of Balkan democratization in letter to EPP president: Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis noted the problem of democratization in the Balkans in a letter addressed to European People's Party (EPP) President Wilfried Martens.
According to an announcement by ND, Karamanlis mentioned in his letter than the recent local elections in Albania were held under disappointing conditions and stressed the violations of the election procedure.
Karamanlis placed particular emphasis on the flagrant violation of the human and fundamental democratic rights of the ethnic Greek minority, as they were recorded by preliminary reports prepared by OSCE observers.
Karamanlis, the announcement added, called on Martens to include the issue of democracy in the Balkans in the agenda of the forthcoming EPP meeting.
Coalition leader criticizes government policies in regional foreign affairs: Coalition for the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos on Tuesday said that Greek foreign policy presented "dangerous weaknesses", during a press conference in light of the Balkan summit on Wednesday in Skopje, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Constantopoulos said that there was no common line on foreign policy issues among government members, saying that there were different assessments and tactics employed by ministers.
He added that he saw weaknesses in correctly assessing data and preventative management of crisis, as well as absence of alternative political planning and handling, on the part of the government.
He also claimed that there was no-systematic political use of the capabilities provided to Greece by the Helsinki agreement and a "self abandonment" to the general theory of "the good climate" between Greece and Turkey.
Constantopoulos said his party wanted to see Wednesday's Skopje summit contribute toward easing tensions and the finding of solutions to problems in the region.
 Gov't says defensive exercises on Cyprus necessary
Athens, 25/10/2000 (ANA)Greece on Tuesday again dismissed the latest Turkish foreign ministry criticism towards a military exercise on Cyprus, simply reiterating that maneuvers in the free parts of the island republic are solely defensive in nature.
In his regular press briefing, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that under the current situation defensive military maneuvers are necessary.
Roughly one-third of Cyprus' territory has been occupied by Turkish troops since an invasion in 1974.
Additionally, the spokesman said Greek warplanes will obviously continue to use air corridors over its islands in the eastern Aegean, as Greece's islands in the region are governed by the 1936 Montreux Treaty.
Reppas was referring to unprecedented demands by Turkey's military leadership last week during the course of the NATO exercise "Destined Glory 2000". Among others, Ankara demanded that Greek jets participating in the alliance exercise not flyover the Greek islands of Limnos and Ikaria because it claims the islands are demilitarized, whereupon airspace over the territory is demilitarized. Athens termed that view as unacceptable and void of any legal standing.
 Cem says efforts for rapprochement will not be wasted
ANKARA, 25/10/2000 (ANA - A. Ambatzis)Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said on Tuesday that efforts for rapprochement between Greece and Turkey "will never be wasted."
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and other Turkish government officials, Cem said "no effort will be wasted. If you mean the NATO exercise, this issue developed more between Greece and NATO. NATO proposed to Greece not to do certain things in this exercise."
Cem also referred to a statement by Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, saying that "the Greek government spokesman underlined that rapprochement is important and that there will be ups and downs in this process. I have underlined the same thing. There will be ups and downs. As long as we are not led to rivalries. It would not be right for us to be led there."
Greece on Sunday pulled out of a Turkish based NATO military exercise citing a ban imposed by Turkey on Greek warplanes and ships in its territory during the war games.
Meanwhile, a report by the Turkish Anatolian news agency on Tuesday spoke of "efforts aimed at easing tension between the two countries".
The report added that in Skopje, on the sidelines of a meeting of heads of state and government from countries of southeastern Europe, "a meeting between Ecevit and (Greek Prime Minister Costas) Simitis might take place", adding that "Turkey will try to place problems in the orbit they had, with the exception of the Cyprus issue, however."
 ND leader accuses government of abandoning principle of reciprocity in international relations
Athens, 25/10/2000 (ANA)Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis on Tuesday accused the government of making "unilateral concessions, of backtracking, lacking a clear voice and of even abandoning the basic principle of reciprocity in international relations".
Speaking after a meeting with the party's department leaders, which examined latest developments in national issues in the wake of Greece's pullout from the NATO exercise in Turkey codenamed "Destined Glory", Karamanlis said all that happened confirmed the concern expressed by ND, adding that Turkey's "undisguised provocations occurred at a moment when relations between the two countries were supposedly being normalized".
Karamanlis said such characteristics send mistaken messages to friends and opponents and that the country's stance is interpreted as a weakness, resulting in international pressures focusing on the Greek side, which appears more receptive and more vulnerable.
He said that at present, "more than ever, a unified, sustained and long-term national strategy is necessary, whose basic elements will be wisdom, boldness and determination".
In his address to the meeting, Karamanlis said the "mockery of 'earthquake diplomacy' is obvious after a year," adding that Turkey was not "watering down its wine and is also aggravating the atmosphere".
He said that a month before the partnership relationship between Turkey and the European Union comes up for discussion, instead of Ankara seeking a token of good conduct it is continuing to send messages of acrimony.
Karamanlis also said an issue existed concerning the allies' attitude towards Turkey.
 Public Order Minister concludes visit to London for talks on combatting terrorism
LONDON, 25/10/2000 (ANA)Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis on Tuesday concluded his visit to Britain for talks with government officials on combating terrorism, including the assassination in June of the British military attache in Athens Stephen Saunders, terming his visit to London "useful and substantive."
Chrysohoidis said the experience he and officials accompanying him acquired from the way the British handle terrorism at operational and legislative level was very substantive and useful.
He said the visit was also useful politically because Greece's volition to combat the phenomenon of terrorism was reconfirmed.
Chrysohoidis held talks with Interior Secretary Jack Straw and said afterwards: "Mr. Straw briefed me on the law recently ratified by the British government and on changes and improvements made. The remaining delegation was at Scotland Yard where it was briefed on operational issues. They were shown films on how the British police operate in cases of terrorist acts, such as how the area is guarded, a series of operational actions which have to be carried out, etc."
Straw thanked the Greek minister for the effort made by the Greek government to solve Saunders' assassination and said the British government is prepared to support and help the Greek government in its effort to bring the culprits before justice in every way it can.
Chrysohoidis also held talks with Deputy Foreign Secretary for European Affairs Keith Vaz on issues of anti-terrorist policy.
He later attended a luncheon with Deputy Defense Secretary Symons and reviewed the development of cooperation with the British police with her. Symons was in Athens on the day Saunders was assassinated.
"Needless to say that politically I evaluate this visit as being useful in the sense that, once again, our volition was reconfirmed to combat the phenomenon of terrorism which has also been inconveniencing the Britons for decades. On the other hand, we can promote our cooperation further. The Britons, due to the long experience they have on the problem of terrorism, have developed methods, systems and possess very developed technologies. I think this visit was an absolute success," Chrysohoidis said, summing up the results of his visit.
 Armaments program discussed by Simitis, Tsohatzopoulos and Papantoniou
Athens, 25/10/2000 (ANA)Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Tuesday discussed the course of the Armed Forces armaments program with defense minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and national economy and finance minister Yannos Papantoniou.
 Greece at forefront of SE Europe's evolution, Papandreou says SAN
FRANCISCO, 25/10/2000 (ANA-I. Afendouli)"Greece is at the forefront of SE Europe's evolution into an area of peace and prosperity," foreign minister George Papandreou said Monday night, addressing an event at the Western Policy Center in Sacramento, California, during his ongoing US visit.
Turning to the role played by Greece in the political change in neighboring Yugoslavia, Papandreou said Greece had the opportunity to be a protagonist in the creation of a "community of values" in the Balkans along the model of the European Community (forerunner of the European Union) established after World War II with the aim of setting up a model of peaceful coexistence and cooperation among the peoples who had lived through that tragic experience.
"The region must return to normality, and Greece is prepared to grasp this historic opportunity," Papandreou said.
"Relations among the countries of the region must be founded on the acceptance of common values. Without any border changes in the Balkans, we must create a region of democracy and prosperity," he said.
Turning to Turkey and its relations with Greece and the European Union, the foreign minister said that Greece sought of its neighboring country "to proceed within the framework of the common values we share with our European partners".
"We seek a small revolution: restriction of the army's role, respect of human and minority rights. We seek also the fall of the last wall in Europe, that which divides Cyprus," he said.
Papandreou met Monday with prominent Greek-American businessmen, while on Wednesday he is due to meet with US Republican presidential candidate George Bush's senior national security aide Condoleezza Rice, at Stanford University.
 Simitis hosts luncheon for Patriarch, Christodoulos attends
Athens, 25/10/2000 (ANA)A luncheon hosted by Greek PM Costas Simitis here on Tuesday in honor of Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos was the first occasion where the premier came face-to-face with Greek Church Prelate Christodoulos following the divisive "identification card" furore that erupted last June, an issue that has appreciably soured Church-state relations.
In addressing the reception, Simitis referred to the Ecumenical Patriarchate's history and role over the centuries, while praising the current Patriarch's international presence. In commenting on the effects of globalization, a topic Vartholomeos often refers to, the Greek prime minister said modern-day society is not one of "prosperity and harmony".
"Globalization of trade and technology does not lead to a international cultural model. Of course, significant room for communication between cultures and the expansion of cultural aspects are opened; however, the greater the interaction between societies brings to the surface cultural conflicts," he said.
On his part, the Patriarch stressed that he is detached from politics, while expressing a wish that leaders throughout the world arrive at correct decisions for the smooth and peaceful cooperation among peoples.
Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos will host a dinner for Vartholomeos in the evening, with Simitis invited as well. The Patriarch is on an unofficial visit to Greece.
Archbishop Christodoulos hosts dinner: Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos hosted a dinner for visiting Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Tuesday night. Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Education Minister Petros Efthymiou, Health Minister Alekos Papadopoulos, Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis and Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi attended the dinner.
Vartholomeos will leave Athens for Istanbul at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
 Greek president to visit the Czech Republic
Athens, 25/10/2000 (ANA)President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos will arrive in the Czech Republic on Nov. 14 for a three-day visit, following an invitation of his Czech counterpart Vaclav Havel, a press release of the Czech presidency announced on Tuesday.
This shall be the first visit by a Greek head of state since 1993, when the Czech Republic became independent.
 Ioannis Pyrgiotis appointed Olympic Games Organizing Committee member
Athens, 25/10/2000 (ANA)Architect Ioannis Pyrgiotis, 56, has been appointed by Prime Minister Costas Simitis a member of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee's Executive Committee, in replacement of Costas Liaskas following the latter's dismissal.
Pyrgiotis, who, according to press reports, has excellent relations with Simitis, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis and Athens 2004 Organizing Committee President Gianna Angelopoulou-Daskalaki, was previously a member of the Organizing Committee's board.
Simitis sacked Liaskas for disagreeing with Laliotis' policy regarding the Olympic Games.
 Six NATO ships to visit Souda
Athens, 25/10/2000 (ANA)A force of six NATO ships under the name of Mine Counter Measures Mediterranean (Mcmformed) sailed into the port of Souda, Crete, on Tuesday where it will remain until October 29.
The commander of the force is Lieutenant Commander Ioannis Grammatikakis.
The main purpose of the visit is to enable the force to meet and become acquainted with the port and to consolidate friendly relations of communication.
Mcmformed is part of NATO's rapid reaction force. It was organized on May 27, 1999, and is composed of warships from various allied countries.
 ICAP report says competition intensifying in air transport sector
Athens, 25/10/2000 (ANA)Competition in the airline company sector will intensify even more in Greece, while the future course of Olympic Airways will be a catalyst in developments in the sector, according to a report by ICAP on Greek air transport.
The report said the Civil Aviation Service granted 29 operating licenses to Greek air transport agencies over the 1992-1999 period, while the licenses of 10 other companies were revoked over the same period.
Deregulation of the Greek air transport market started gradually in 1992 and contributed considerably to the increase in passenger travel in the country.
The report said the average rate of increase in domestic passenger travel over the 1994-1999 period was 9 per cent. The total number of arrivals and departures in domestic travel increased 18 per cent in 1999, regarding the country's total air transport volume, compared to 1998. The increase in passenger travel is expected to continue this year, but to a lesser degree than in 1999.
 Ministers attend trial runs at new airport
Athens, 25/10/2000 (ANA)Road access to Athens' new international airport at Spata will be much better than the current access to the Ellinikon international airport, environment, town planning and public works minister Costas Laliotis said Tuesday after attending a test run of the new airport using "stand-in" passengers and luggage together with transport and communications minister Christos Verelis.
Laliotis reiterated that together with the opening of the new airport on March 1, 2001 a section of the Attica Freeway (Attiki Odos) from the airport to Gerakas would also be open to traffic, while substantial work will have been completed on an auxiliary artery.
The minister set a comprehensive operational study was under-way on the entire access network to the airport, which would be much better than that for Ellinikon airport.
Verelis announced that a tender would be called in the first quarter of 2001 for the suburban railway, which will have access from the Metro route.
Laliotis said the suburban railway, a project of the transport ministry, would be an independent project assigned via an international tender and will not be an extension of the Attica Freeway project.
He also said the decisions regarding the user fees for the new airport would be taken at the next meeting of the Athens International Airport S.A. managing company board of directors.
He noted that some 600 billion dr. had been spent so far on the airport project. "It is a productive investment that must, however, also be competitive," the minister said, adding that every effort would be made so that the new airport would be dependable and profitable.
Testing with stand-in passengers and luggage takes place every Tuesday and Thursday at the new airport.
Tuesday's trial run involved the simultaneous service of passengers, management of luggage, facilitation of aircraft and cargo, refueling of planes, and ground checks on aircraft.
The trial runs, which started October 3 and will run through February 29, will use a total of 3,500 stand-in passengers with 4,000 pieces of luggage. Some 120 stand-in passengers aged 20-60 take part in each trial run, and receive gift checks from various sponsors and commemorative gifts.
Testing will intensify during the holiday period, when trial runs for emergency situations will begin.
 Gov't postpones privatization of power corporation
Athens, 25/10/2000 (ANA)The government has postponed a part-privatization of the Public Power Corporation (DEI) until June 2001.
The firm's new business plan is due to be completed by November 10 this year.
Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis met DEI's general director to discuss the issue on Tuesday.
The minister told reporters after the meeting that the government had approved the creation of a telecoms subsidiary for DEI.
 European Union Council of Agriculture Ministers discuss policies on vegetables, rice, sugar
BRUSSELS, 25/10/2000 (ANA - V. Demiri)The European Union Council of Agriculture Ministers met in Luxembourg on Tuesday and discussed Union policies on vegetables, rice and sugar, as well as pricing policies and subsidies.
Greece was represented in the meeting by Agriculture Minister George Anomeritis, who stressed the need for the Union to support groups of producers, by the provision of funds for their common treasuries.
The ministers did not reach an agreement on policies for vegetables and the ministers decided to place the issue on the agenda for their next meeting, following the recommendation of the European Parliament on the subject.
Regarding rice, the ministers decided to delegate to the European Commission to negotiate with the basic exporters to Europe to strike deals for a unified percentage of import duties.
Anomeritis noted that 80 per cent of Greece's rice production is of the Idica variety, which is an import type for the Union, stressing that high transport costs to consumer countries render Greek production non-competitive and asked for additional subsidies.
Regarding sugar the ministers discussed the extension of present policies for two more years, which was proposed by the Commission to producers, who however did not accepted it as they considered it short, as investments in the sector need long-term planning as large sums are needed for such investments. This issue was tabled at the Special Agricultural Committee to be discussed.
 Commission to refer Greece to Euro-court over wholesale pharmaceutical prices
BRUSSELS, 25/10/2000 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)The European Commission on Tuesday announced that it would refer Greece to the Euro-court over its regulations governing the setting and approval of wholesale prices for pharmaceuticals.
According to the Commission, current Greek law effectively restricts imports from other European Union countries to Greece.
Specifically, the Commission charges that wholesale pharmaceutical rates in Greece are based on "approved prices" that equal the lowest prices in Europe, a yardstick used as a ceiling for the sale of pharmaceuticals within the Greek market. This formula, according to a Commission statement, often leads to regulations being applied in a prejudicial manner, mostly against other EU countries' imports.
The Commission cites a violation of Community law regarding the free distribution of goods (Article 28).
 European Commission calls on Greece to lift curb on cannabis-related goods
BRUSSELS, 25/10/2000 (ANA - M. Spinthourakis)The European Commission on Tuesday called on Greece to end restrictions on the sale of cannabis related clothing and other harmless goods related to the plant that produces the narcotic marijuana.
The Commission said that banning the sale of such products was against the European Union principles of free trade of goods within the Union.
"Part of the problem is that, in Greek, the word cannabis refers to both the illegal drug and the plant hemp, whose use is entirely legal," the Commission said, adding that Greece should not ban products just for displaying the leaf of the hemp as a logo.
 Greek, Yugoslav bourses launch cooperation
Athens, 25/10/2000 (ANA)The Greek and Yugoslav bourses are to launch cooperation that will help the Belgrade Stock Exchange to modernize, market officials said on Tuesday.
The agreement emerged during a two-day visit by Yugoslav bourse president Zoran Djeremic to the Athens Stock Exchange, invited by its president, Panayotis Alexakis.
Under the pact, the cooperation will include a transfer of know-how including trading and clearing systems and regulatory frameworks.
Greece among Yugoslavia's main trading partners: Yugoslavia's main trading partners in 1998 were Russia, Germany, Bosnia, Italy, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Austria and Greece, according to a study by the Association of Northern Greek Exporters released on Tuesday.
The study, carried out by the Association's Institute for Export Research and Studies, said that Yugoslavia was Greece's 15th most important trading partner.
Trade between the two countries showed major fluctuations in recent years due to international sanctions imposed on Yugoslavia that have now been lifted, it added.
 Trade, culture are the key to better Greek-Turkish ties
Athens, 25/10/2000 (ANA)The key to improving relations between Greece and Turkey is the development of economic and cultural links, Turkish vice consul Neazin Evren Akiol said in Thessaloniki on Tuesday.
Akiol was speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of business representatives from the two countries in the northern port city.
"Trust between the two peoples will be restored when these ties are developed," he told reporters.
A delegation of 68 Turkish representatives headed by the president of the Istanbul Union of Chambers of Commerce took part in the meeting, returning a visit to the Turkish city by members of the Professional Chamber of Thessaloniki.
 Federation of British Travel Agents to hold conference in Kos on October 28-31
Athens, 25/10/2000 (ANA)The Federation of British Travel Agents (ABTA) will be holding its conference, the first to take place in Greece, on the island of Kos on October 28-31, providing a considerable opportunity for the tourist promotion of both the island and the country in general.
The conference will be attended by about 2,000 British travel agents who will examine issues concerning the world tourist market. It will also coincide with ABTA's 50th anniversary.
On the part of Greece, the conference will be addressed by Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis and National Tourism Organization (EOT) Secretary General Evgenios Giannakopoulos, as well as by many businessmen who are active in the tourist sector.
 Contalexis Financial Services faces court action over trades
Athens, 25/10/2000 (ANA)The capital markets commission on Tuesday slapped fines of 360 million drachmas on Contalexis Financial Services and three businessmen for allegedly failing to disclose the real price of stock transactions to authorities.
The commission also said it would take the stock brokerage and its clients to court for disseminating false and misleading information.
The clients were identified as George Batatoudis, Panayotis Panousis and Konstantinos Stergos.
 Imported French beef seized for 'precautionary reasons' in wake of new 'mad cow' outbreak
Athens, 25/10/2000 (ANA)More than 15 tons of beef imported from France has been seized in Thessaloniki for precautionary reasons in the wake of an apparent new outbreak of mad cow disease on the European markets.
The Thessaloniki Prefecture's public health service confiscated the beef from three major supermarkets in the northern Greek capital on Monday, on suspicion that they could be infected with the deadly brain-wasting illness "bovine spongiform encephalo-pathy" (BSE), widely known as mad cow disease.
A senior public health service official told ANA that there was no cause for concern, and the beef had been confiscated for "precautionary reasons". He also said that the service would continue checks on the local market.
 Bourse fails to reflect corporate performance, study says
Athens, 25/10/2000 (ANA)The Athens Stock Exchange has failed recently to reflect the robust performance of listed companies in the current fiscal year, the Association of Listed Companies said in a study released on Tuesday.
Turnover, pre-tax profits and assets will post new records in 2000, Ioannis Steriotis, the association's president, told a news conference.
He said that the firms' turnover from the sale of goods and services had risen by 26.1 percent when consumer price inflation was below an average annual 3.5 percent.
In addition, more than 50 listed companies showed a rise in turnover of more than 50 percent, Steriotis added.
The profitability of listed firms grew by more than 14 percent in the first half of the year, reinforcing shareholders' equity and dividends for the whole of 2000.
Pre-tax profits totalled more than 550 billion drachmas, up 15.5 percent.
 Stocks rise led by blue chips
Athens, 25/10/2000 (ANA)Buying in blue chips and heavily traded stocks took equities higher on Tuesday in the wake of a sharp decline in the previous session.
The general index ended 1.02 percent higher at 3,754.90 points.
Players bought into banks, industrials and telecoms about half way through the session, reversing a decline.
Analysts said the market has found resistance at 3,850 points and predicted it would find support at 3,650 points.
Turnover was a 56.4 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavily traded stocks ended 1.06 percent higher; and the FTSE/ASE 40 rose 0.03 percent.
Sector indices ended as follows: Banks: +1.04% Leasing: -1.63% Insurance: -0.53% Investment: -1.27% Construction: -1.07% Industrials: +1.26% Miscellaneous: +0.89% Holding: +0.45%
The parallel market index for smaller capitalization stocks ended 0.21 percent lower.
Of 357 stocks traded, declines led advances at 188 to 147 with 22 unchanged.
Most heavily traded were Corinth Pipes, Viohalko and Hellenic Telecommunications Organization.
Leading shares' closing prices (in Drs): National Bank: 14,750 Alpha Bank: 14,260 Commercial Bank: 18,000 Eurobank: 10,350 Piraeus Bank: 6,025 Lambrakis Press: 6,805 Heracles Cement: 5,100 Titan Cement (c): 14,240 Hellenic Telecoms: 7,200 Panafon: 3,380 Hellenic Petroleum: 3,600 Attica Enterprises: 2,950 Intracom: 10,500 Minoan Lines: 2,285 Hellenic Bottling: 5,300
Equity futures end up, tracking Athens bourse: Equity futures traded on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished higher on Tuesday, in line with the bourse indices on which they are based.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index closed 1.08 percent up, and the FTSE/ASE 40 ended 0.03 percent higher.
Turnover was 12.1 billion drachmas.
A total of 2,301 contracts were traded on the FTSE/ASE 20 with turnover at 10.0 billion drachmas.
On the FTSE/ASE 40 index, 1,218 contracts changed hands on turnover of 2.1 billion drachmas.
Bond prices nose down in thin trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Tuesday finished lower in scant trade.
The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.948 percent from 5.945 percent a day earlier.
The Greek paper's yield spread over German bunds was 74 basis points from 75 basis points in the previous session.
Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 16 billion drachmas from 89 billion drachmas in the trading day before.
Of the total, sell orders accounted for 14 billion drachmas of trade.
Drachma up vs. euro, down vs. dollar: The drachma on Tuesday ended higher against the euro and lower versus the US dollar in the domestic foreign exchange market.
At the central bank's daily fixing, the euro was set at 339.500 drachmas from 339.540 drachmas in the previous session.
Also at the fix, the dollar was set at 405.550 drachmas from 404.430 drachmas a trading day earlier.
The drachma has lost 23.48 percent against the US currency since the start of the year.
 Onassis Foundation head details new NYC branch's mission
NEW YORK, 25/10/2000 (ANA - N. Voulelis)Promotion of Hellenic civilization in the United States in unison with the cultures of both Greek expatriates and their adopted homeland is the mission of the new Onassis Cultural Foundation of New York, the head of the foundation's parent organization said here Tuesday.
Speaking hours before the official gala inauguration of the Fifth Avenue-based center, Alexander S. Onassis Foundation President Stelio Papadimitriou said the first such Onassis cultural center in the United States was an idea considered as far back as the early 1980s. He also told reporters at a press conference that New York City was specifically chosen for the center.
According to Papadimitriou the new cultural center will focus on organizing seminars by professors at US universities on various Hellenism-related topics in order to promote the Greek language and culture, especially that of modern Greece. Cultural events at the center and development of its library are other priorities.
During the same press conference, National Gallery of Greece curator Marina Lambraki-Plaka touched on a ground-breaking art exhibition, "Classical Memories in Contemporary Greek Art", that will help inaugurate the Onassis Foundation's New Cultural Center.
In a related development, a concert by the Montreal Philharmonic featuring the works of noted Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis was held at New York's renowned Lincoln Center. Theodorakis, himself, was on hand for the occasion.
Among the Onassis Foundation's guests at the concert were Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, honorary New Democracy president Constantine Mitsotakis, Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos, Culture Minister Theodoros Pangalos and US Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns.
 Works of modern Greek photographers showcased in Montreal
MONTREAL, 25/10/2000 (ANA-I. Frangouli)The Karsh Masson gallery in Ottawa will showcase an exhibition of 80 photographs by modern Greek art photographers until Nov. 29.
The exhibition, entitled "Image and Idol: Modern Greek photography 1975-1995", was organized by the Ottawa municipality and the Greek ministries of Press and Culture and was initially shown at the Macedonian Museum of Modern Art in Thessaloniki, in 1997.
 De Soto says qualitative step achieved in fourth round of UN-led proximity talks
NICOSIA, 25/10/2000 (CNA/ANA)Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General Alvaro de Soto has said the parties here are firmly engaged in the substance of the Cyprus problem and a qualitative step forward was achieved in the fourth round of the UN-led proximity talks in New York in September.
De Soto was speaking to the press after a meeting with the President of ruling Democratic Rally (DYSI) Nicos Anastassiades, after which he met opposition left-wing AKEL General Secretary Demetris Christophias.
The UN official is on seven-day visit to the island in order to prepare the ground for the fifth round of UN-led proximity talks due to take place in Geneva next week.
Four rounds of talks have taken place so far in a bid to solve the Cyprus problem.
During his stay on the island, the UN official will continue his separate meetings with President of the Republic Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, as well as the party leaders of the two communities.
Asked to comment on reports that three additional rounds of talks have already been scheduled, de Soto said he could not foresee the number of rounds ahead.
Asked about the level of engagement of the parties in the substance of the Cyprus question in the fourth round of the talks in New York, he said "there is no question in our minds that we are firmly engaged in the substance and we took a qualitative step forward in that direction" in New York, noting however "this does not mean that we are out of the woods yet".
"A lot of work needs to be done, but clearly we are in a different phase now", de Soto added.
Asked whether he is concerned that recent problems in the "rapprochement" between Greece and Turkey could have a negative effect in the UN peace process, de Soto expressed the hope the rapprochement "will continue because it will help us".
Responding to a question, he said he had planned the meetings with party leaders "some time ago", noting he visits the island prior to every round of talks in order to prepare the ground for them.
On his part, Anastassiades said de Soto explained the methodology he would be using at the talks, noting the UN will continue to give ideas to the parties until they feel a comprehensive framework of a solution can constitute the basis for substantive dialogue, probably a face-to-face dialogue.
De Soto reassured that the UN officials cannot but act within the framework of the mandate given to them by the Security Council and with respect for the UN Security Council resolutions and decisions, Anastassiades noted.
DYSI President said he expects the UN officials to avoid making statements, which could be misinterpreted or exploited by the Turkish side.
In his remarks after the meeting, AKEL General Secretary said he outlined his party's views on the talks and pointed out that any documents the UN presents to the two sides must be really based on UN resolutions and secure that the end solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation solution safeguard human rights and fundamental freedoms.
"I would like to think that our views will be taken seriously into consideration by the UN and others," Christophias added.
Replying to questions, he said he did not believe the UN are likely to put forward a package of ideas in the Geneva round.
 Cyprus FM, visiting Chinese Vice FM hold talks
NICOSIA, 25/10/2000 (CNA/ANA)Cyprus and China have expressed satisfaction with the level of their bilateral relations and at the same time they expressed common desire in developing further their cooperation at international fora, China's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Ji Peiding said here on Tuesday after talks at the Cyprus Foreign Ministry.
The Chinese official was received in the morning by Cyprus House of Representatives President Spyros Kyprianou and later on he had a meeting with Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides followed by official talks between delegations from the two countries.
Cyprus Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretary Michalis Attalides said the two sides discussed bilateral relations. The Chinese official was also briefed on developments in the Cyprus problem.
There was also a reference to China's firm support, mainly at the Security Council, for the implementation of its resolutions on Cyprus.
Peiding said "Cyprus and China are friendly countries with diplomatic relations for 30 years," noting that those relations were being developed constantly.
He pointed out that "both countries are satisfied with the level of their bilateral relations something that was expressed during talks with the Foreign Minister".
Peiding noted that both countries "have expressed their desire to develop further their cooperation at international fora, such as the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement."
He said he had "a very interesting and thorough briefing on the Cyprus problem, which is very helpful."
The Chinese official said "China, as a permanent member of the Security Council, is ready to hear and to be briefed on the Cyprus problem".
On Wednesday morning the Chinese official, who heads a delegation, will call on President Glafcos Clerides.