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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-11-26

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

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

NEWS IN ENGLISH

Athens, Greece, 26/11/1997 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Premier stresses gov't adherence to drachma's stability, EMU target
  • Need for integrated shipping policy stressed
  • Simitis leaves for London, Paris today
  • No repercussions from bankrupt Japanese securities
  • Athens' stance conveyed to Ankara by Juncker, gov't says
  • Cumhurriyet: Turkey to revise regulation governing straits
  • Greece re-elected to IMO's 'Category A'
  • Albanian justice minister in Athens
  • European Respiratory Society's tobacco campaign
  • Mass Media conference concludes in Thessaloniki
  • SE European firms to discuss creation of trade chamber, lobby
  • Greek stocks edgy over short-term outlook, fear of turmoil
  • Athens to host seminar on marketing in Eastern Europe
  • Minoan Lines seeks to join bourse
  • Petsalnikos receives Israeli, European and US chief rabbis
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Premier stresses gov't adherence to drachma's stability, EMU target

Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday reiterated the government's steadfast adherence to the stability of the drachma, stressing that it was "equal to the stability of the whole of the economy" and that the current exchange policy would provide the best results for the economy, businesses and consumers.

Adressing the Hellenic-American Chamber of Trade and the Federation of Greek Industry (SEB), he stated that normality was returning after the recent currency crisis, and that stricter combination of fiscal, monetary and incomes policies, apart from the positive results, would also boost confidence in the economy and the national currency.

He stressed that the economy was now entering "the most delicate and decisive phase of its adjustment" to the requirements for Greece's participation in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

"This phase will not be easy, as the previous ones were not. But it requires greater resoluteness, responsibility and particularly collective confidence," he said.

"We cannot stand in the middle of the road and negotiate whether we shall proceed or not, the attainment of our strategic options is a duty for us. Otherwise, we shall suffer the consequences of destabilisation, regression and undermining of the accumulated sacrifices of many years," he continued.

The prime minister said that next year's aims were the attainment of the criteria of the fiscal deficit and the scaling down of inflation to 2 per cent at the end of 1999, so that Greece would be able to join EMU in 2001, before the launching of th e single currency.

"If we do not want to be the failed child of European unification and suffer the consequences, it is necessary to cover the gap separating us from the European Union," he said.

Need for integrated shipping policy stressed

Merchant Marine Minister Stavros Soumakis said yesterday that Greece should develop a shipping policy that would take into account the needs of coastal and ocean-going shipping, both important factors in the growth of the national economy.

He outlined a series of measures taken by his ministry to improve competitiveness in shipping and in employment issues affecting merchant seamen and crews.

Mr. Soumakis said the country's ports could be developed into "transport hubs" for a region encompassing the Balkans, Black Sea, Middle East, North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean.

He said his recent visit to the United States and meetings with Greek shipowners there and to the US Coast Guard and merchant marine academy had highlighted the need and willingness to cooperate with other agencies around the world to improve the compet itiveness of the Greek fleet.

Simitis leaves for London, Paris today

Prime Minister Costas Simitis today leaves for London and Paris for talks with counterparts Tony Blair and Lionel Jospin, expected to focus on current developments in the European Union.

The Greek premier is also expected to set out Greek positions on the issue of convening a European Conference with Turkish participation.

Mr. Simitis will also meet French President Jacques Chirac on Monday. The meeting is expected with particular interest,in view of the fact that it was the French side which first set out the idea for the Conference, with the proposed participation of the European Union member-states, the 11 candidate countries and Turkey.

The issue of Greek-Turkish relations is likely to be at the centre of Mr. Simitis' visit to France, in view of the Western European Union's (WEU) parliamentary convention in the French capital on Tuesday and Wednesday. A meeting with Turkish counterpart Mesut Yilmaz was not being ruled out.

The prime minister's schedule in London includes meeting Tony Blair tomorrow, the external affairs committee of the House of Lords on Friday and Conservative Party leader William Hague. On the same day, Mr. Simitis will also meet Orthodox Archbishop of Thyateira, Gregorios, and be honoured at a special dinner by the London-based Greek shipowners' Committee.

No repercussions from bankrupt Japanese securities

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas told reporters yesterday that bankrupt Japanese securities firm Yamaichi had no investments in Greece and that no Greek investors or businesses were connected to the firm. The fall of Yamaichi earlier this week has caused concern amongst Asian and Europe an markets that it could trigger another crisis on money markets.

"The government's monetary policy has not changed and is ready at any time to deal with all possibilities," Mr. Reppas said.

Athens' stance conveyed to Ankara by Juncker, gov't says

The Greek government's views on relations with Turkey are being conveyed to Ankara by current European Union Council president Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg, who will visit the Turkish capital tomorrow, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.

Greece's stance, presented to Mr. Juncker by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, was that Turkey should recognise the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice at The Hague, contribute in every possible way towards a speedy resolution of the Cyprus problem and to restore a climate of good-neighbourly relations with Greece. Both the Turkish Cypriots and the Turkish government, he said, should comply with the framework created by the releva nt UN resolutions and the summit agreements of 1977 and 1979 on a resolution of the Cyprus problem. The Greek government, he reiterated, wished to take a step-by-step approach to its relations with Turkey.

Cumhurriyet: Turkey to revise regulation governing straits

Ankara is preparing to revise the regulation governing the straits in the direction of Russian and Greek demands and following US pressure, the Istanbul daily "Cumhurriyet" reported in a front-page story yesterday.

The paper stressed that as a result of pressures following the implementation of the new regulation since July 1994, Turkey is preparing to revise it and lift several of its restrictions, including those concerning two-way sea traffic and ship tonnage. Ankara was also expected to proceed with the long- delayed installation of radar, which will enable move speedy navigation through the straits, the paper added.

Greece re-elected to IMO's 'Category A'

Greece was unanimously re-elected to the eight-member Category A of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), held in London recently.

Other member-states elected in the first category during the 20th session of the general assembly were: China, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, Britain and the United States.

Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands and Sweden were elected to the eight-member Category B.

Sixteen countries were elected to the third category.

Greece was elected unanimously to the presidency of the Council of Europe's Agreement of Major Natural and Man-made Disasters, during the 7th meeting of member-states in Monte Carlo.

Albanian justice minister in Athens

Albanian Justice Minister Thimio Kondi arrived in Athens yesterday on an official visit at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Evangelos Yiannopoulos.

The Albanian minister's three-day visit is aimed at furthering bilateral legal cooperation, mainly in the form of providing assistance for the formulation of Albania's new legal system, as well as the training of Albanian judges and attorneys.

Solutions will also be sought to the issue of transporting Albanian prisoners from Greek to Albanian jails, a measure needed in order to relieve Greek correctional facilities from current overcrowding.

European Respiratory Society's tobacco campaign

Athens University Professor Charis Roussos, president of the European Respiratory Society, yesterday delivered to the European Commission a petition supporting an EU directive to ban tobacco advertising and promotion.

Professor Roussos was to hand the petition to Commissioner for employment and social affairs (including public health matters) Padraig Flynn in Brussels.

The petition is supported by 3,200 members of the European Respiratory Society, the official body of the European-based respiratory specialists. Professor Roussos is the professor and director of Critical Care and Thoracic Medicine at the Athens Med ical School.

Mass media conference concludes in Thessaloniki

The conference "Europe and Mass Media: Our Cultural Heritage", wound up in Thessaloniki yesterday after several presentations were delivered by general directors and chief editors of Balkan news agencies.

The conference was organised by the Macedonian News Agency in cooperation with the European Cultural Capital Organisation - Thessaloniki '97.

During its second day, papers by speakers touched on the role of Balkan news agencies in promoting culture in southeast Europe.

Gerasimos Zarkadis, managing director at the Athens News Agency (ANA), said proper information to citizens was by definition "a cultural event", but was at risk by "the imposition of specific standards and models in relation to selection and presentation."

He added that another danger for the service of information came from the latest nationalism and tension in the Balkans, which damaged the journalistic profession's prestige, since if often served interests which differed from the values on which Europe an culture is based.

The general director of the Albanian News Agency (ATA), Frok Cupi, stressed that news agencies were basically cultural agents, although stress from political and economic news drove them away from that function.

Zoran Jebdojovic, the general director of "Tanjug", observed that the times were going through a generalised transition, which resulted to transformation of the mass media. The general director of the Macedonian News Agency, Spyros Kouzinopoulos, underl ined that the expansion of the mass media in conjuction with a lack of credibility, could very possibly make them into a "gigantic supermaket". He said this danger could be overcome by an improvement in quality and presentation of more cultural items.

Mehmet Guler, general director of the Anadolu news agency, referring to the role of the mass media, said they should function objectively, on a rational basis and with respect for multiformity.

"It is easy to yell for war, but we should try and preserve peace", he said.

SE European firms to discuss creation of trade chamber, lobby

Southeast European companies will send representatives to a meeting in Washington in March to discuss setting up a Balkan chamber of trade.

The meeting was proposed by Hellenic-American trade chambers belonging to the Hellenic-American National Council, in cooperation with the US department of commerce.

"We are creating the conditions for peace and economic cooperation in the sensitive southeast European region, which is why the conference is entitled 'Peace in southeastern Europe'," said Thanasis Spyropoulos, president of the national council and orga niser of the meeting.

Due to attend are representatives of firms from Greece, Albania, Yugoslavia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Turkey and Cyprus.

The representatives will have the chance to meet officials from the US State Department and department of commerce in order to discuss creating a southeast European lobby.

Greek stocks edgy over short-term outlook, fear of turmoil

Greek equities traded nervously on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday reflecting uncertainty over short-term prospects for the market and fears of renewed turmoil in international markets.

The general index closed 0.06 percent higher at 1,402.58 points, after losing more than 3.0 percent earlier in the session.

Trading was light with turnover at 13.8 billion drachmas.

Sector indices were mixed. Banks fell 0.61 percent, Insurance was 1.64 percent up, Leasing dropped 1.49 percent, Investment eased 0.55 percent, Construction rose 1.42 percent, Industrials were 0.83 percent higher, Miscellaneous increased 0.55 percent an d Holding fell 0.08 percent.

The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 0.24 percent. The FTSE/ASE index eased 0.07 percent at 805.85 points.

Broadly, decliners narrowly led advancers by 100 to 96 with another 24 issues unchanged.

Alcatel, Remek, Macedonian Plastics, Mesochoritis and Papastratos scored the biggest percentage gains at the daily upper 8.0 percent volatility limit, while Balkan Export, Macedonian Mills, Pairis and Hellenic Mills suffered the heaviest losses.

National Bank of Greece ended at 25,250 drachmas, Ergobank at 14,900, Alpha Credit Bank at 16,405, Delta Dairy at 3,395, Titan Cement at 11,740, Intracom at 12,800 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 5, 200.

Athens to host seminar on marketing in Eastern Europe

Marketing in the developing economies of eastern Europe will be the subject of a seminar to be held in Athens December 3.

The seminar is organised by the Hellenic Marketing Institute and is addressed to company executives and exporters operating in the Balkans and eastern Europe.

The purpose of the seminar is to present companies with investment opportunities in Europe's emerging economies and cooperation prospects with businesses in the region.

Minoan Lines seeks to join bourse

Minoan Lines, a Greek passenger shipping company, will seek to gain listing on the Athens Stock Exchange following approval by the firm's shareholders.

Shareholders voted 83.39 percent in favour of the proposal which signals a new era in the development and modernisation of the company.

A company statement said yesterday that listing on the Athens bourse would enable Minoan Lines to raise low-cost funds in order to finance investment programmes.

Petsalnikos receives Israeli, European and US chief rabbis

Minister for Macedonia and Thrace Philippos Petsalnikos yesterday received the Chief Rabbis of Israel, Paris, New York, Thessaloniki and the former chief rabbi of London, all of whom attended the unveiling of the "Monument to the Jewish Martyrs" in Thessa loniki by President of the Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos last Sunday.

The monument was dedicated to the 50,000 Greek Jews who lost their lives in Nazi concentration camps during World War Two.

The minister referred to the monument as the "duty of both Thessaloniki and Greece, a duty which should have been done many years ago", and stressed the significant role the Jewish community had played in the development of the city.

Although there have been Jews in Greece since ancient times, most of the city's Jewish community were descendants of Sephardic Jews who had fled the Spanish Inquisition in 1492.

WEATHER

Cloudiness and rain will continue throughout Greece today, particularly in the west and south. Winds moderate to strong. Clouds and light rain in Athens with temperatures between 12-17C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 8-15C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Tuesday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 270.905 Pound sterling 457.510 Cyprus pd 529.728 French franc 46.445 Swiss franc 192.359 German mark 155.471 Italian lira (100) 15.857 Yen (100) 213.141 Canadian dlr. 190.246 Australian dlr. 186.675 Irish Punt 405.926 Belgian franc 7.537 Finnish mark 51.505 Dutch guilder 137.982 Danish kr. 40.845 Swedish kr. 35.593 Norwegian kr. 38.202 Austrian sch. 22.097 Spanish peseta 1.840 Port. Escudo 1.524

(C.E.)


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