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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-12-10

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.forthnet.gr/ape>


NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 10/12/1996 (ANA)

MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greek-Turkish business cooperation meeting opens in Athens
  • Cabinet meets today as farmers' protests enter 13th day
  • Premier: E.U. unification affected by 'considerable problems'
  • No changes in Cyprus moratorium issue
  • New wave of strikes begins this week
  • Parliament president at Black Sea meeting in Georgia
  • Greek homeopath awarded alternative Nobel
  • 50,000 new jobs in 1997

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    Greek and Turkish businessmen yesterday engaged in earnest discussion on how to overcome the often seemingly inexorable political obstacles to the development of trade and economic relations between the two countries, at the two-day conference of the Greek-Turkish Business Cooperation Council opened by President of the Association of Young Businessmen of Greece Athanasios Lavidas.

    The Council's sessions are being attended by the one of the largest delegations of Turkish businessmen ever to travel abroad.

    Describing the meeting as "historic", Mr. Lavidas, who is also President of the Greek-American Business Council, said closer ties must gradually be forged between the businessmen of the two countries.

    The President of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry,Yiannis Papathanasiou, said it was important for Greece and Turkey to improve their economic relations and called in both countries to be realists and to refrain from adding new problems to existing ones," he added.

    Mr. Papathanasiou expressed support for a "step-by-step" rapprochement in the economic sector underlining the importance, for Greek companies, of the vast Turkish market which could easily absorb Greek products.

    Federation of Greek Industries (SEB) President Iason Stratos noted that there was great potential for Greek-Turkish cooperation through commerce or joint ventures, particularly in the tourism sector.

    The President of the Panhellenic Association of Exporters, Christina Sakellaridi said the business world was forced to act within the framework set by the politicians.

    " The politicians cannot ignore us if our economic relations become stronger," said Rahmi Koc, president of Turkey's biggest business conglomerate, who is also President of the Turkish-Greek Business Council and heads the 60-member Turkish delegation at the meeting.

    Hussamedin Kavi, President of the Istanbul Chamber of Industry, appealed for "mutual understanding and good will among businessmen."

    "No more defence spending, with the focus on productive investments. Our children will accuse us if we do not build a new future," he added. The President of the powerful Association of Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen, Halis Komili, said war between the two countries would be "an act of madness."

    Stressing that the two countries were joined by a common destiny, Mr. Komili said that current differences could be resolved. "Let us not allow history to punish us. Businessmen can prevent this," he said.

    Farmers' protests continue as cabinet meets

    The Cabinet meets today to discuss the prospect of serious disruption in traffic and distribution of goods arising from almost two weeks of farmers' roadblocks throughout the country, as both sides refused to budge from their stated positions yesterday.

    The government, through its spokesman, Dimitris Reppas, reiterated its readiness to enter into structured dialogue after the farmers removed the roadblocks.

    Other ministers, and most prominently National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou, stressed that the government would not yield to blackmail, and it was inconceivable that the hard-won efforts for a drop in inflation would go wasted due to a group of farmers.

    Farmers are demanding higher crop prices, increased subsidies, cheaper fuel for agricultural use, the favourable settlement of outstanding debts and lower fertiliser prices.

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos and main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Miltiades Evert expressed concern over the continuing protests.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said later that the government was ready for "an institutional dialogue of a national nature" on the problems of Greek agriculture, but only on the condition that the farmers lift their blockades of the country's roads and rail links.

    Mr. Reppas said that the Cabinet would meet today, chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, to discuss the new uniform pay scale for civil servants. He clarified that the issue of the farmers' protests would also be examined at the meeting.

    EU unification affected by `considerable` problems

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday spoke of "considerable" differences in views and aims between European Union member-states, speaking at a pre- agenda debate in Parliament on Greece's aims concerning the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC).

    Mr. Simitis again referred to major problems facing the course towards European unification, focusing in particular on Turkey's destabilising role in the region and on the threat against Greek sovereign rights.

    Mr. Simitis said that the EU did not succeed so far in developing a common foreign policy (Greek-Turkish relations, the Cyprus issue, Yugoslavia and the Middle East), stressing that Greece supported the need for a policy which will consolidate the inviolability of the EU's territorial integrity and borders, the principles of peacefully resolving differences, respect for international law and solidarity between member-states.

    Cyprus overflights moratorium

    Commenting on a US-proposed suspension of military flights over Cyprus, National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos said yesterday that nothing had changed regarding the issue, adding that Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides had clarified the matter .

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said the government's positions on this issue had already been made clear. "The issue has been solved, judged and stated to the appropriate bodies," the minister said.

    New wave of strikes begins this week

    A new wave of strikes and protests began yesterday against the government's economic policy and its tough new state budget, with small manufacturers and professionals holding protest rallies in Athens and other major cities.

    Pensioners are due to hold rallies around the country today, while teachers in both the public and private sectors embark on a three-day strike tomorrow.

    Doctors and hospital workers have also announced a strike for tomorrow, while doctors of the Social Security Foundation (IKA) will begin their strike today until Friday, calling for productivity bonuses to be payed. If their demands are not met, they have said they may extend the strike until December 17.

    Construction workers are to strike on Thursday and dockers on Friday. Teachers and kindergarten staff have announced a 48-hour strike beginning on December 16, while tax officers and finance ministry employees follow suite on December 17-18. Customs off icials will hold their own three-day strike on December 17-19.

    Civil aviation unions are to hold four-hour work stoppages at airports begining at noon every day from December 12 to 14, demanding payment of remuneration due in October and November, overtime work and work done on Sundays and holidays.

    A nationwide 24-hour civil servants strike has been called for December 17 by the Civil Servants Supreme Administrative Council (ADEDY).

    Kaklamanis in Georgia for Black Sea meeting

    Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis leaves today for Tbilisi to attend the 8th plenary of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) organisation which will be held from December 10-12.

    Mr. Kaklamanis will address the assembly and take over the rotating presidency which will be held by Greece for the first half of 1997.

    During his stay in Tbilisi, Mr. Kaklamanis will have the opportunity for talks with Georgia's President Eduard Shevardnadze, Foreign Minister Irakliy Menagarishvili and his own parliamentary counterpart. He will also visit Patriarch Ilias II and attend a special event organised by the ethnic Greek community in Tbilisi.

    Greece is the only EU country among the BSCE's 11 member-states. The other countries are Azerbaijan, Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Romania, Russia and Turkey.

    Turkey's policy is "continuous shame for international community" Evert says

    "Turkey`s policy is a continuous shame for the international community, with the flagrant violation of human rights, both in Cyprus and domestically, " New Democracy party leader Miltiades Evert said in a message yesterday on the occasion of World Day for Human Rights today.

    "Respect and protection of human rights is a basic obligation of all states. It is not sufficient that states merely recognise human rights, " the ND leader said.

    "Especially for us Greeks, the problem of human rights violation is not a distant one, as we are witnesses of one of its most characteristic cases from neighbouring Turkey," he added.

    Greek Homeopath wins Award

    George Vythoulkas, a homeopathic practitioner yesterday won the Right Livelihood Award for alternative medicine "for his unique contribution to the development of knowledge regarding homeopathic practice..."

    Swedish Parliament President Brigitta Dal awarded the prize to Mr. Vythoulkas yesterday at a special ceremony held in the Parliament.

    Mr. Vythoulkas said the uncontrolled use of chemical pharmaceuticals and the diseases of the future will influence brain operations and lead to a "society of pshychopaths," adding that "homeopathic practice constitutes hope for renewal and prospect for better health standards."

    50,000 new jobs in 1997

    Labour and Social Security Minister Miltiades Papaioannou yesterday forecast the creation of 50,000 new jobs in 1997 through the linking of vocational training programmes with employment, significant employment incentives for many businesses and help from the European Social Fund.

    Speaking at the Thessaloniki Labour Centre, he also announced additional measures for 300 workers recently laid off by the Goodyear tyre factory in the city, including financial support with re-training supplements, or trial employment by businesses for varying lengths of time.

    WEATHER

    Overcast with rainfalls in most parts of Greece and rainstorms in the west. Same weather in the Ionian and northern Aegean sea and the mainland with backed by strong winds. Athens will be overcast with rainfall later in the day and temperatures ranging from 11-15C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 6-12C.

    SPORTS

    Results of three Greek First Division soccer matches played Monday:Paniliakos - Kalamata 4-0, Athinaikos - OFI 0-0 and Edessaikos - Kavala 0-0.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    (Closing rates -buying) U.S. dlr 242.484, Can. dlr.178.282, Australian dlr. 193.619, Pound sterling 398.387, Irish punt 399.677, Cyprus pd 517.626, French franc 46.235, Swiss franc 183.421 Belgian franc 7.577, German mark 156.190, Finnish mark 52.231, Dutch guilder 139.297, Danish Kr. 40.811, Swedish Kr. 35.543, Norwegian Kr. 37.398, Austrian Sh. 22.197, Italian lira (100) 15.851, Yen (100) 214.113, Spanish Peseta 1.856, Portuguese Escudo 1.547.

    (C.E.)


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