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Athens News Agency: News in English, 97-03-28

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, 28/03/1997 (ANA)

MAIN HEADLINES

  • Greece, Romania sign two military-related agreements
  • New tourism chief named
  • Greek Tourism Organisation wins Russian award
  • Turkish National Assembly president to visit Athens
  • Premier holds talks with EU Commissioner
  • Mob breaks into Greek consulate in Gjirocaster
  • Bank of Crete tendering reopens
  • Greek trade mission to visit Havana

    NEWS IN DETAIL

    Greece, Romania sign two military-related agreements

    Greece and Romania yesterday signed two agreements,one in the technology and armaments sector and another concerning protection of military information, at the end of a visit by National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.

    The two countries also affirmed common views regarding the terms for the development of cooperation, peace and stability as well as economic relations in the Balkans, particularly in the context of European Union enlargement, according to statements by Mr. Tsohatzopoulos after his talks with Romanian counterpart Viktor Babiouk.

    "We ascertained common views regarding the terms for the evolution of cooperation in the Balkan countries, as well as peace and security in the region," Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said.

    "Greece and Romania constitute stabilising factors in the Balkans and we must promote the potential for cooperation, and the joint support for the new prospect for the European Union and enlargement eastwards. We believe, indeed, that Balkan countries are entitled to participate in this enlargement, with priority for Romania, in addition with the countries of central Europe..." he added.

    Mr. Babiouk said the two men discussed problems in the region and his country's plan to join NATO, which Greece supports.

    The Romanian defence minister added: "We sought sectors in which to develop our cooperation and we succeeded. The signing of these agreements has a logical character, for our countries to develop relations of cooperation, mainly in the military sector. Such agreements are necessary."

    Spyridon leaves for visit to Ecumenical Patriarchate

    Archbishop of America Spyridon left yesterday for a pilgrimage to the Ecumenical Patriarchate, along with 22 members of the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council, who will hold their spring meeting in the Patriarchate, the archdiocese announced.

    The visit will culminate in the celebration of the third Sunday of Lent with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos.

    The Archbishop is to meet with the Patriarch tomorrow in order to present the Presbyters Council and to discuss issues of mutual concern and an expected visit to the United States by the Ecumenical Patriarch in the autumn.

    New tourism head named

    The Greek National Tourism Organisation (EOT) may have a new secretary- general but its tourism policies will remain the same Development Minister Vasso Papandreou said yesterday.

    Ms Papandreou was speaking to reporters during an official ceremony appointing Nikos Skoulas to the post of EOT secretary-general.

    Mr. Skoulas, until recently the head of the national council on Tourism, replaces Vassilis Kourtessis, who resigned last week.

    Mr. Skoulas, who was a national economy undersecretary responsible for the tourism sector from 1987 to 1989 and EOT secretary-general from 1982 to 1985, pledged to continue the work begun by his predecessor.

    "The pace, however, needs to be increased because our competitors will not wait for us," he warned.

    He said he hoped to be in the post for a substantial period of time - such as five years - so that he could realise the plans he had and achieve more results.

    Indications for the tourist season so far this year, Ms. Papandreou added, were encouraging, with arrivals expected to increase significantly over last year's figures.

    Greek Tourism Organisation wins Russian award

    EOT yesterday won the first prize for best international pavilion at the Moscow International Tourism Fair, which began on Wednesday in the Russian capital.

    It is EOT's fourth consecutive year at the fair, joined this year by another 50 exhibitors from Greece, private organisations and local government bodies.

    Russian officials said 1997 would be a good year for tourism to Greece with the number of visitors from Russia expected to continue to rise. The numbers are expected to be helped by Olympic Airways new Athens-Moscow route.

    Turkish national assembly president to visit Athens

    The president of Turkey's National Assembly, Mustafa Kalemli, is to visit Athens in order to attend the meeting of Mediterranean countries' parliamentary presidents on April 6-7.

    According to Mr. Kalemli's office, the Turkish parliament president accepted an invitation extended by his Greek counterpart, Apostolos Kaklamanis, to attend the meeting.

    Diplomatic sources attributed Mr Kalemli's visit to Athens to efforts to improve Greek-Turkish relations, and stressed he has already discussed his visit with Gen. Karadayi.

    Meanwhile, military sources told the Turkish press that Gen. Karadayi's gesture of appearing at the reception aimed to change the impression that the Turkish general staff is provoking tension in bilateral relations.

    "We proceded with an important step with the aim of showing this is not how things are. From now on, Athens and EU countries must make the required steps for friendship between the two countries," the same sources told the Turkish daily "Cumhurriyet".

    "The non-military sector has not managed to forge the same friendly relations which we military have forged," the same sources said.

    Premier holds talks with EU Commissioner

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday discussed relations between Greece and the European Union as well as improving cooperation between EU member- states on transport issues with visiting EU Transport Commissioner Neil Kinnock.

    Mr. Kinnock also held talks with Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis earlier yesterday on the EU's foreign relations in the sea transport sector and issues to be examined by the Transport Council in June, such as registration of passengers travell ing with ships and the lowest levels of training for merchant seamen.

    Mr. Soumakis briefed Mr. Kinnock on Greece's positions on these issues and on the country's general positions in relation to the EU's shipping policy, stressing the importance of shipping for Greece and the EU.

    Mr. Soumakis stressed the need for an EU maritime shipping policy which will take into account the views of all member-states.

    Mr. Kinnock said excellent cooperation exists between the European Commission and Greece in promoting the EU's shipping policy and agreed with Mr. Soumakis on the adoption of an EU shipping policy to benefit all member- states.

    Mob breaks into Greek consulate in Gjirokaster

    Serious scuffles broke out at the Greek consulate here yesterday when armed individuals demanding passport visas broke down the main door, threw tear gas grenades and threatened staff by firing automatic rifles in the air.

    The incident occurred after several thousand people gathered outside the consulate, the second day that it opened following the unrest of recent weeks.

    Staff members were eventually evacuated to the consular residence, while the incident ended after about two hours.

    Alpha Credit Bank assembly approves 76.2 bln capital increase

    Alpha Credit Bank held its regular general assembly of shareholders yesterday which focused primarily on an increase in share capital and the ratification of annual financial statements and the bank's balance sheet for 1996.

    The general assembly decided to increase the bank's capital by 72.6 billion drachmas with a lumpsum dividend payment and the right of purchase by old shareholders at the price of 11,000 drachmas for every new share in exchange for four old ones, and by giving one share free of charge for every four old ones resulting from the capitalisation of reserves. Registrations will take place from April 7 to May 9, 1997.

    The bank's Administrative Council President G. Kostopoulos said revenues emanating from the increase in capital will be used to develop the network of the bank's branch offices, which currently amount to 190, and informatics systems, participate in shar e capital increases of the group's companies, strengthen the capital yield and activate new products.

    Referring to results achieved in 1996, Mr. Kostopoulos said that profits after tax increased by 18.8 per cent and amounted to 54 billion drachmas. Loans granted increased by 25.1 per cent and reached 890.6 billion drachmas, while deposits totalled 1,996 .1 billion drachmas (an increase of 32.1 per cent).

    Bank of Crete tendering reopens

    A joint decision by the National Economy and Finance Minister and the Director of the Bank of Greece was signed on Monday for a repetition of tendering for the sale of the Bank of Crete, according to an announcement issued by the Bank of Crete.

    According to the decision, the floor price for the purchase of the bank has been set at 30 billion drachmas, with payment to be made either in cash or with a down-payment of at least 30 per cent, with the remaining amount being paid within three years.

    Offers, along with all required paperwork, must be submitted by June 6, 1997, while the three shortlisted candidate buyers will be notified by June

    New issue of zero coupon bonds on April 1st

    The Finance Ministry yesterday announced the issue - the fourth in a row - of two-year bonds with zero coupons. The interest rate will be 10.1 per cent and public registration will take place on April 1. The announcement by the Finance Ministry said the n ew security appeals to the entire investing public, but primarily to small investors since they are provided with the possibility of replacing treasury bills with a similar security of a longer duration (two years).

    Given that inflation and interest rates are following a continuous downward trend, the investor choosing these securities avoids the risk of reinvesting his money with a smaller yield for two years, since the interest rate for the two-year bonds will re main stable throughout their entire duration.

    Greek-Cypriot business symposium scheduled next week

    A two-day Greek-Cypriot business symposium will take place on March 31 and April 1 aimed encouraging business ventures between Greek and Cypriot enterprises, especially in the Balkans, the Black Sea region and the Middle East markets. The symposium, held under the auspices of the national economy ministry, is being organised by the Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and the Athens Industry and Trade Chamber. The symposium will be attended by the Cypriot Economy Minister, Christodoulos Christodoulou.

    Greek trade mission to visit Havana

    The Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) yesterday announced the visit of a trade mission to Havana from May 6-11 to coincide with the official visit to Cuba of National Economy Undersecretary Alekos Baltas.

    According to HEPO, the main purpose of the mission will be to further develop bilateral relations at a business level.

    At a recent meeting organised by HEP on the possibilities for further expanding economic and commercial cooperation with Cuba, opportunities were identified in the sectors of construction and infrastructure, foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, cloth ing, footwear, plastic household items and stainless steel kitchen utensils.

    Athens chamber delegation in Belgrade

    A delegation of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry is paying a three-day visit to Belgrade for talks with the Yugoslav Chamber of Finance on specific forms of cooperation, joint participation in third markets and cooperation in projects of strategic importance in the southern Balkans.

    The president of Belgrade's Chamber of Finance, Branislav Vujosevic, said that in the first two months of the year trade transactions between the two countries amounted to US$30 million, while the figure is expected to reach 400 million by the end of the year.

    He said the new law on changing the ownership status of businesses and state-run corporations in Yugoslavia will contribute to further promoting Greek-Yugoslav economic and trade relations.

    Greek businessmen are expected to sign specific agreements on cooperation in the sectors of industry, trade and building, stressing that tourism and small enterprises constitute suitable ground for future cooperation.

    WEATHER

    Mostly sunny weather is forecast for most parts of Greece today, apart from the Cyclades islands and Crete where it will be overcast in the morning. Winds will be northerly, moderate to strong in the Aegean which will gradually subside. Fair weather in Athens with temperatures between 5-16C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures between 1-14C.

    SPORTS

    Professional basketball in Greece

    Professional basketball in Greece - officially - will very soon be a fact, Sports Undersecretary Andreas Fouras stated yesterday.

    Basketball clubs will be converted into societes anonymes with a minimum equity capital of 100 million drachmas.

    Regarding the issue of foreign players who acquire Greek citizenship, he said the undersecretariat will toughen its attitude and tighten procedures.

    Olympiakos beats rival in European League game

    The Olympiakos (Piraeus) basketball team beat its crosstown rival Panathinaikos (Athens) yesterday evening 69-49 for the semi-finals of the European Championship League.

    The halftime score was 30-29 in favour of the Piraeus club, which played on Panathinaikos' home court at the Olympic Indoor Arena.

    FOREIGN EXCHANGE

    Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 263.723 Pound sterling 429.536 Cyprus pd 524.470 French franc 46.562 Swiss franc 181.333 German mark 156.944 Italian lira (100) 15.714 Yen (100) 213.409 Canadian dlr. 191.555 Australian dlr. 205.979 Irish Punt 415.450 Belgian franc 7.608 Finnish mark 52.963 Dutch guilder 139.555 Danish kr. 41.194 Swedish kr. 34.785 Norwegian kr. 39.734 Austrian sch. 22.300 Spanish peseta 1.851 Portuguese escudo 1.561

    (C.E.)


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