Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-11-28
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 28/11/1997 (ANA)
- Simitis-Blair talks focus on Cyprus, disagree on Turkey's role
- Pangalos touches on EU-Turkey relations, Cyprus, in CNN interview
- Most EU citizens against Turkey's accession
- Tsovolas briefed by Iraqi consul general
- ABNA conference discusses satellite communication channel
- More than 68,000 new members enlist in PASOK
- Greek equities end higher in scant trade
- Six deputies want to abolish bank penalty rates
- Greek companies' exhibition in FYROM
- Parliament debate on alleged rigged football matches
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Simitis-Blair talks focus on Cyprus, disagree on Turkey's role
Greece and Britain remain firm in their views on the possibility of
Turkey's participation in a proposed European Conference.
Following 90-minute talks with his British counterpart Tony Blair, Prime
Minister Costas Simitis said Britain desires Turkey's participation, while
the Greek side stressed that such preconditions do not exist because
Turkey's participation necessitates acceptance of the rules governing the
Replying to questions by British reporters, Mr. Simitis said Greece accepts
the need for cooperation between the EU and Turkey, on condition that the
principles of international law are accepted, an issue which does not
concern Turkey alone but all the countries of Europe.
Mr. Simitis expressed the view that there was time for the issue to be
resolved if, of course, these general rules governing relations between all
countries are accepted.
The two leaders also held lengthy talks on the Cyprus issue and reconfirmed
the agreement that negotiations for the accession of the island republic to
the EU must get underway, while a solution to the Cyprus issue was not a
precondition since the two issues were not connected.
Mr. Blair told Mr. Simitis that during the British EU presidency, starting
on January 1, negotiations for the accession of Cyprus to the EU will start,
while referring to the political issue he said Britain agreed that UN
resolutions must be implemented and negotiations must be conducted in this
A large part of the discussion, which Mr. Simitis termed "very friendly",
concerned developments in the EU and primarily the course towards Economic
and Monetary Union (EMU), namely, whether criteria would be applied as
anticipated by treaties.
Mr. Simitis said that there was agreement with Britain on all these issues,
as well as on the issue of the "Agenda 2000", while on the issue of EU
enlargement Greece maintained that negotiations must start with all the
candidate-countries, while Britain had the view that two phases must exist.
However, they agreed that countries would not be excluded and there would
be no distinctions.
Mr. Simitis said that it was agreed during the discussion on Balkan issues
on that a message must be sent to countries in southeastern Europe that
they constitute a part of Europe and that the course of Europe cannot exist
without participation and lin s with these countries.
Mr. Blair said he would visit Greece before Britain takes over the EU
presidency to present the positions he had supported and to enrich existing
views on tackling the challenges of the future.
Pangalos touches on EU-Turkey relations, Cyprus, in CNN interview
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos,interviewed on the US cable channel CNN
yesterday, set out Athens' views regarding Turkey's relations with the
European Union and with Greece.
Speaking on the programme "This Morning," the Greek minister was asked when
Greece would support Turkey's bid for membership of the EU.
"First of all, we took a unanimous decision just two days ago that Turkey
will not join the EU in the near future for obvious reasons - its economic
capabilities, its social structure and its political system," he said.
Mr. Pangalos stressed that the EU was not simply a common market but a
joint enterprise built up over the years and aimed at creating a greater
European community, something which was not so easy to achieve.
In reply to a question as to whether Turkey's joining the EU would bring
about greater stability in the region, the minister said:
"I believe that Turkey could contribute positively to stability in the
region if it began behaving like everyone else. By that, I mean, for
example, that all of us in Europe have accepted the procedure of the
International Court of Justice in The Hague... Turkey has not done
"Therefore, that is one of the things the Turks have to do if they do not
want to be rejected. They must learn to live like everyone else in the
Turning to the Cyprus issue, Mr. Pangalos observed that the independence of
the Republic of Cyprus had been guaranteed by Turkey itself, Britain and
Greece. However, asked why Greece did not use its influence in the region
to resolve the issue, he said:
"...Cyprus has been invaded by the Turks, not by Greeks. This question
should be put to the Turks."
"I have hopes for a way out if the United States, who is the major player
in the region, since you mentioned (US presidential emissary Richard)
Holbrooke earlier, uses its advantage with regard to military supplies and
military aid and asks the Turks to make a move on the issue."
Most EU citizens against Turkey's accession
The majority of EU citizens are against Turkey's membership in the Union,
according to a poll conducted by the European Commission (Eurobarometer).
The poll showed that 45 per cent of respondents were against, and 32 per
cent in favour. Among Greeks, 13 per cent are in favour and 80 per cent
against. Belgians and Germans are shown to be the other most ardent
Regarding Cyprus, 40 per cent of those questioned are in favour and 34 per
cent against. The island republic occupies eighth place in the preferences
of EU citizens regarding the membership of prospective members, after the
Czech Republic, Hungary, Icel and, Malta, Norway, Poland and Switzerland.
Tsovolas briefed by Iraqi consul general
Democratic Social Movement's(DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas met yesterday
with the Iraqi consul general in Athens for a briefing on developments in
the Persian Gulf as well as problems created for the Middle East country's
population as a result of a con tinuing UN embargo.
Speaking to the press after his meeting with Iraqi diplomat Hazan Altayar,
Mr. Tsovolas said "the deprivation of medicines and basic foodstuffs faced
by the people of Iraq proves that some great powers of the west lack
He also called on the international community and organisations to
intervene in order to stop what he called the callousness and to allow the
immediate supply of non-combatants with food and medicines.
ABNA conference discusses satellite communication channel
A conference of the general directors from the Balkan news agencies
belonging to the Association of Balkan News Agencies (ABNA) was held in
Among issues discussed was a proposal by the Thessaloniki-based Macedonian
News Agency (MNA) for the creation of a satellite communication channel
between the Balkan news agencies and the possibility of ABNA taking on new
members. MNA currently holds the ABNA presidency.
The meeting was attended by the general directors of Anadolu (Turkey)
Mechmet Guler; the Athens News Agency, Andreas Christodoulides; ATA
(Albania), Frrok Cupi; BIP (Bulgaria), Stefan Velev; MNA, Spyros Kouzinopoulos;
ROMPRES (Romania), Constantin Bade a; TANJUG (Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia), Zoran Jevdjovic and assistant general director Maria
More than 68,000 new members enlist in PASOK
PASOK Secretary Costas Skandalidis said yesterday that new members signed
in the ruling party have now reached more than 68,000.
Based on the 150,000 members PASOK previously listed, the new members
represent a 40 per cent increase, assuming that veteran members will renew
their membership cards, he said. The deadline for the new membership drive
is Dec. 31, while PASOK's leadership expects more members to sign
In reference to a proposal by Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos for a
joint PASOK-New Democracy candidate in next year's Athens municipality race,
Mr. Skandalidis rejected the idea, saying an Avrampoulos candidacy would in
no way be PASOK's choice.
Greek equities end higher in scant trade
Greek stocks again finished higher yesterday but turnover remained thin in
lacklustre trade. The Athens general share index closed up 1.07 percent at
1,436.66 points with 13.6 billion drachmas changing hands.
Sector indices rose across the board. Banks gained 0.08 percent, Insurance
increased 1.14 percent, Leasing edged up 0.26 percent, Investment rose 1.79
Construction crept up 0.55 percent, Industrials soared 2.11 percent,
Miscellaneous increased 1.37 percent and Holding jumped 3.13 percent.
The parallel market for smaller cap stocks finished 2.51 percent higher. Of
232 stocks traded 129 advanced and 78 declined with 25 remaining unchanged.
Recording the largest percentage gains were Mouriadis, Klonatex (preferred),
Metrolife, Elve Appar el and Klaoudatos, which all ended at or near the
eight percent upper volatility limit.
The day's biggest losers were Balkan Export (preferred), Agrinio Metals and
Plastics, Viosol (preferred), Tzirakian Profil (preferred), which closed at
or near limit down at eight percent.
Among blue chips National Bank of Greece finished at 25,350 drachmas,
Ergobank at 14,900, Alpha Credit Bank at 16,580, Delta Dairy (common) at 3,
320, Titan Cement (common) at 12,600, and Intracom (common) at 13,
Six deputies want to abolish bank penalty rates
Six deputies of Greece's ruling PASOK party proposed an amendment
abolishing the right of banks to impose penalty rates on their loan
The deputies - Leonidas Tzannis, Anastasios Saatzoglou, Ioannis Kourakis,
Panagiotis Tsertikidis, Ioannis Thomopoulos and Demetrios Georgopoulos -
argued that the imposition of penalty rates had led to widespread social
problems among borrowers who were unable to make repayments for reasons
beyond their control.
The amendment is expected to be debated in parliament next week.
Greek companies' exhibition in FYROM
The first exhibition of Greek companies in the Former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia (FYROM), scheduled between Dec. 3-6, is expected to contribute to
an improvement of trade and friendly relations with the neighbouring
country, HELEXPO managing director Antonis Kourtis said during a press
conference in Skopje yesterday.
Mr. Kourtis thanked the director of Skopje's exhibition centre, Tome
Talefski, for his help and cooperation in organising the event, and said
"the first indications of the interest exhibited by Skopje businessmen show
that the results will vindicate our efforts".
Additional events include a performance of Sophocles' "Ajax" at the city's
theater on Dec. 4, a forum on business cooperation on the same day and a
fashion show the next day.
Parliament debate on alleged rigged football matches
Parliament will debate a tabled question submitted by 123 deputies of all
parties, except the Communist Party, stressing that allegations of match
rigging in the Greek soccer championships was one of the main causes of
"It is a common belief among supporters that the championships in all
divisions and the team standings are not judged on the pitch but are cooked
up in backstage deals," the statement reads.
"Every Sunday fans witness appalling mistakes by referees, which, of course,
are not human mistakes, and in most cases influence the outcome of crucial
matches," the statement added.
Three players and a policeman were injured during a violent flare-up after
the Ionikos-Olympiakos match last Monday, when fans invaded the pitch.
Commenting, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas described the claims in
the statement as exaggerated and unfounded by evidence, promising that they
would be looked into and any blame due apportioned.
He also said that a broad meeting including sports officials and representatives
of the public order and justice ministries, and called by Sports Undersecretary
Andreas Fouras yesterday, was in the context of such efforts.
The closed meeting was also attended by 17 of the 18 first division soccer
club chairmen, with the exception of Giorgos Vardinoyiannis, from the
Meanwhile, the meeting of sports officials produced a number of decisions
to counter football violence.
These include that sports justice will be conducted by civil judges, strict
application of existing legislation, and that referees will acquire
It was also decided to place emphasis on prevention and effective policing
through the installation of closed-circuit television on football grounds,
beginning with the Olympic and the AEK stadiums in Athens, as well as
stricter controls on fans on their way to the grounds. Penalties for fans
arrested will also be stiffened.
Cloudiness will prevail throughout Greece today with rain forecast in the
west and south. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Athens will be overcast
with possible afternoon showers and temperatures from 12-17C. Same in
Thessaloniki with temperatures from 9-14C.
Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 274.764
Pound sterling 459.475 Cyprus pd 531.216
French franc 46.465 Swiss franc 192.289
German mark 155.496 Italian lira (100) 15.872
Yen (100) 216.534 Canadian dlr. 192.805
Australian dlr. 186.541 Irish Punt 406.343
Belgian franc 7.539 Finnish mark 51.483
Dutch guilder 137.997 Danish kr. 40.853
Swedish kr. 35.361 Norwegian kr. 38.033
Austrian sch. 22.092 Spanish peseta 1.840
Port. Escudo 1.523