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Athens News Agency: News in English, 96-12-13

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, 13/12/1996 (ANA)

MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece to lodge demarche over US statements on airspace
  • Farmers open northern borders
  • Greece sends humanitarian aid to Armenia
  • Greek, Dutch prime ministers find common ground on Turkey-EU relations
  • Shevardnadze: problems in the Aegean must be solved peacefully
  • MLRS missiles tested
  • Construction of Acropolis museum contract signed
  • National Bank aims for branches in Sydney, Melbourne
  • Names of tax-evading companies released
  • Four Greek firms get US business awards

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    Greece to lodge demarche over US statements on airspace

    The Greek government will lodge a demarche with the US State Department over a statement by a Pentagon official almost a month ago disputing the 10- mile limit of Greek airspace, Foreign Undersecretary Christos Rozakis told Parliament today.

    Replying to a question tabled by main opposition New Democracy (ND) party Vice President Yiannis Varvitsiotis, Rozakis said that Greece may not yet have extended its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles, ''but the 10 nautical miles which it uses are satisfactorily covered by the more general ability which the country has to extend its territorial waters to 12 miles.''

    Rozakis added that Greece was insisting and ''strengthening our argument concerning the 10 nautical miles, on the basis also of the fact that common law and contractual law provisions exist which enable us to extend our territorial waters to 12 miles''.

    Replying to a question from Varvitsiotis on what he called the role of mediator assumed by the US in Greek-Turkish relations, Rozakis said that any intervention by the US ''is evaluated on the basis of our national interests''.

    He added that the Greek government was not ''prey'' to the will of third parties.

    ''The government will listen to their views and either accept them or reject them in accordance with Greek interests,'' Rozakis said.

    Farmers open northern borders

    Movement to and from Bulgaria through the Promachona border station in Northern Greece was restored this morning after a roadblock set up 12 kilometres from the border was dismantled by farmers, who entered their 16th day of nationwide blockades of national highways and rail links.

    A huge convoy of stranded lorries began crossing the border to and from Bulgaria.

    The dismantling of the border blockade in effect opened up a channel of communication between thousands of Greek enterprises in Bulgaria and Romania with Greece, from where they procur merchandise and raw materials.

    Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas is due to meet in Thessaloniki this afternoon with farmers' representatives, and government sources said there was "contained optimism" that the way would be paved for dialogue.

    Farmers began setting up roadblocks with their tractors throughout the country on November 28, demanding cheaper fertilizer and fuel for agricultural use, higher produce prices, increased subsidies and favourable debt settlements.

    Greece sends humanitarian aid to Armenia

    Substantial quantities of humanitarian aid, including food and household items, have been sent to ethnic Greek communities in Armenia by the National Institute for the Reception and Resettlement of Expatriate and Repatriate Greeks.

    The aid, worth 64,000 US dollars, is part of efforts to support ethnic Greeks living in regions of the former Soviet Union. The aid was distributed, for the third successive year, among ethnic Greeks living in the capital Erevan and other areas of Armenia.

    The Greek Embassy in Erevan supervised the distribution of the 5,000 packages which each weigh 14 kilos, in cooperation with the chairman of the institute's board of directors, George Iacovou who visited Armenia for three days.

    Simitis, Kok find common ground on Turkey-EU relations

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his Dutch counterpart Wim Kok have stressed the need for Turkey to state whether it accepts a statement by the European Union Council on July 15, calling on it to build relations of coope ration with Greece and EU countries, as well as the need for dialogue between Greece and Turkey to resolve their differences.

    The two prime ministers were speaking at a joint press conference in The Hague yesterday, shortly after a working lunch given for Mr. Simitis by Mr. Kok.

    Replying to a question by the Athens News Agency (ANA) on whether the Dutch EU presidency, from January 1 until June 1997, will consider the possibility of convening the EU-Turkey Association Council, Mr. Kok said the priority is for Turkey to promote solutions to its problems on the basis of dialogue and to build good relations with EU countries.

    "This was the content of the discussion held during the meeting between Foreign Affairs Minister(Hans) van Mierlo and the Turkish Foreign Minister (Tansu) Ciller at The Hague about 10 days ago," Mr. Kok said, adding that "also with me, at the Dublin summit and specifically on Saturday, we will again discuss all these issues and Turkish Foreign Minister Ms. Ciller will have to state her position."

    Shevardnadze says problems in Aegean must be solved peacefully

    Georgia's President Eduard Shevardnadze yesterday said problems in the Aegean should be solved through peaceful means, stressing that the end of the Cold War era has given way to the creation of a suitable climate and necessary conditions for such settlem ent.

    The Georgian president met in Tiblisi with Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis, who is visiting the country to participate in the eighth Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Council, which began its sessions on Wednes day.

    Mr. Kaklamanis told the press that dialogue with Turkey will be initiated after the necessary guarantees for safety and protection of territorial integrity and respect of the borders have been ensured.

    The meeting also focused on issues concerning the Greek community in Georgia and the legal status of Georgian immigrants in Greece.

    In another development yesterday, Mr. Kaklamanis assumed the presidency of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Parliamentary Assembly, during an official ceremony. Greece is to hold the presidency for six months.

    MLRS missiles tested

    Two missiles were test fired at the Proskyniton firing range in the Thracian prefecture of Rodopi by the new and modern weaponry system known as MLRS, and concerning a missile-firing carrier mounted on caterpillar wheels.

    Each US-built MLRS missile contains 750 smaller missiles, costs 2.5 million drachmas and has a range of 32 km.

    Contract for construction of Acropolis Museum

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos expressed his satisfaction yesterday over the signing of a contract for the construction of the Acropolis Museum.

    Mr. Venizelos described the signing of the contract between Italian architects and the Melina Mercouri Foundation as "a step of decisive importance .....which had been delayed for a long time."

    "The architects Nicoletti and Pasarelli are assuming a great honour and a great responsibility," he added.

    National Bank aims at branches in Sydney, Melbourne

    The National Bank of Greece is trying to upgrade its representative offices in Australia into full branches and is conducting an expert study on the viability of such an enterprise.

    Bank officials Ioannis Papanikos and Ioannis Agathos recently visited Sydney and Melbourne to evaluate the operation of the representative offices and Australian financial markets.

    Mr. Papanikos said the bank had unsuccessfully tried to upgrade its presence in Australia in 1984 when the federal government deregulated the banking system and issued operating licences to 16 foreign banks.

    He said a new study with new figures and will be submitted to the Australian authorities as soon as possible... In our view the National Bank's two branch offices in Melbourne and Sydney will be viable despite strong competition after the deregulation of the banking system in Australia."

    Tax evading companies named

    The finance ministry yesterday released a list with the names of 481 companies which, according to the fiscal and customs authorities, were involved in instances of tax evasion or smuggling.

    According to the list, which states the violation committed by each company and the penalty imposed, 53 businesses were penalised for tax evasion by being closed down for several days.

    A total of 165 companies evaded tax by receiving or issuing false or forged invoices, with fines of over one billion drachmas being imposed in the more serious cases, while 189 undertakings violated the law on smuggling and their cases are pending befor e the administrative or judicial authorities.

    The list also shows that 36 companies illegally received agricultural subsidies.

    The ministry said it was obliged to give the list to Parliament and the press under the provisions of Law 2362/95. It said similar lists of tax and customs violations would be made public annually when the state budget is tabled.

    The list includes three leasing companies which belong to the Agricultural Bank of Greece, the Alpha Credit Bank and the Hellenic Industrial Development Bank.

    Another category concerns violations discovered during the processing of confiscations, with fines exceeded 500 million drachmas in some cases.

    Greek firms get US business awards

    The American Embassy in Athens today announced the names of four Greek companies that have won U.S. business awards for the promotion of American products and services in Greece.

    The "Business of the Year Award" for achieving "the best overall performance for American products and services" has gone to ALICO (American Life Insurance Company), which has been active 32 years in Greece and holds 14% of the Greek insurance market.

    The "New Product/Service Award" for "successfully introducing a new American product or service to the Greek market in 1995" has gone to Pouliadis Associates S.A., one of the primry information technology companies in Greece, which represents such American cmpanies as Autodesk, Conner, COMPAQ, Microcom, Netscape, Sun, Metrologic and Diamond. Pouliadis S.A. has also b een awarded COMPAQ Greece's prize for "Best and Loyal Distributor of the Year for 1995".

    The "Social Awareness Award" for "promoting a positive public image for an American company in Greece" has gone to Pharmaserve Lilly S.A. for its exemplary employee-centred focus, research grants for selected projects by the Universities of Athens, Crete, Ioannina, Thessaloniki, Alexandroupolis and Patras, grant to the Greek Association of Gastroenterology for the purchase of a major diagnostic devicde, a grant of post-graduate scholarships for young phyusicians in the field of gastroenterology and pediatrics, and donationcs of pharmaceuticals to the "Medecins sans Frontiers" NGO aid organisation and to the Hellenic Red Cross (destined for Albania), Christmas party and disribution of presents for children suffering from cancer at the Aghia Sophia Hospital in Athens, a special educational programme for patients suffering from diabetes, and the donation of a special vaccine for pediatric use to the Social Security Foundation (IKA) and private physicians.

    The company is also cooperating with the Municipality of Kifissia on a programme concerning organised and large-scale paper and aluminium container recycling.

    The "Emerging Company Award" for "demonstrating, as a new company, exemplary dynamism, growth and profitability in promoting American products" has gone to the Felous Fashion Group (FFG S.A.), which was formed in 1993, and represents Calvin Klein jeans, underwear and hosiery, and also DKNY.

    WEATHER

    Cloudy with sunny spells in most parts of Greece. Unstable weather in the rest of the country with local rain, especially in the west and the islands. Athens will be mostly sunny with temperatures ranging from 10-16C. Thessaloniki will be partly cloudy with temperatures from 6-12C.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    (Closing rates -buying) U.S. dlr 242.108, Can. dlr.178.143, Australian dlr. 192.136, Pound sterling 399.538, Irish punt 400.966, Cyprus pd 518.518, French franc 46.396, Swiss franc 184.016, Belgian franc 7.605, German mark 156.796, Finnish mark 52.421, Dutch guilder 139.748, Danish Kr. 40.948, Swedish Kr. 35.567, Norwegian Kr. 37.498, Austrian Sh. 22.287, Italian lira (100) 15.862, Yen (100) 213.935, Spanish Peseta 1.863, Portuguese Escudo 1.550.

    (M.P.)


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