Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 97-12-09
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 09/12/1997 (ANA)
- Greece stands firm regarding European Conference
- TVX protestors ready for court
- Defence Minister receives new US Ambassador
- Vergina declared UNESCO World Heritage site
- Army buys German jeeps
- Greek stocks rise again driven by construction, investment
- Government rejects civil servants pay claim
- Trilateral meeting on Bourgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline
- OTE approves shares purchase, ratifies Armenian telecoms deal
- Health care system inadequate, study shows
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece stands firm regarding European Conference
The government said today that it remained firm in its position on the
issue of the proposed European Conference for prospective EU members, with
regard whether Turkey should participate or not.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that tomorrow's meeting between
Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his Luxembourg counterpart Jean-
Claude Juncker, whose country currently holds the rotating European Union
presidency, might create the conditions "for a change of stance and a re-
examination of the issue".
He underlined however that at the present time this did not appear
A number of EU countries have proposed that Turkey participate in the
European Conference, while Greece said Ankara should be allowed to
participate only if it first fulfilled prerequisites which Athens insists
govern relations of all civilised countries.
TVX protestors ready for court
Representatives of communities in Halkidiki, northern Greece, which are
opposed to gold mining activities in the region by TVX Hellas said today
that they would have recourse to the Council of State if the company moved
to establish its installations in any location other than the site at
Ano Stavros community president Vassilis Naoum told the ANA that protest
action by local residents would from now on take the form of legal action,
since the coordinating committee for the communities of Strimonikos now had
evidence on which they could base legal appeals.
Police and local residents have clashed in recent months in the area,
following residents' complaints that gold mining in the area will have a
serious impact on the environment.
TVX Hellas, a subsidiary of the Toronto-based TVX Gold company, received a
concession for exploitation of the Cassandra gold mines in March 1995 after
international tendering. Under the privatisation agreement signed in
December 1995, the 67 billion drachma investment is expected to create some
Local government representatives told a press conference in Thessaloniki
today that according to "reliable information", a study by the Institute of
Geological and Metallurgical Research (IGME) had designated the area
Ecclesiastikos Mylos as the site for TVX's operations.
The chairman of the committee coordinating protests against the mining,
Antonis Stoitsas, warned the government and the administration of IGME not
to attempt "behind-the-scenes skullduggery aimed at modifying the
Replying to criticism that the delay in the realisation of the investment
was due to local protests, Stoitsas countered that the delay was due to
technological problems facing the company which had not been resolved.
He intimated that TVX may have sought the delay in order to secure
compensation from the Greek state, and charged that TVX was continuing to
cause pollution in the area, despite statements by the company underlining
its concern for the environment.
Citing the results of recent measurements of effluence from the plant
spilling into a stream in the Olympias region, he said the levels of
arsenic and lead were far in excess of permissible limits.
The company told the ANA however that the measurements were taken in an
area with a high concentration of arsenic pyrites, which had amassed during
the operation of the plant by the previous owners.
TVX Hellas maintained that the concentration had not been cleared because
access to the area had been made impossible due to the recent protests of
Defence Minister receives new US Ambassador
National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos received the new US
Ambassador to Greece Nicholas Burns today. It was their first meeting since
Burns arrived in Athens last week to take up his post.
Tsohatzopoulos said afterwards that various bilateral issues had been
discussed. He expressed the hope that the spirit of good relations between
the two countries would continue, based on common interests.
Burns declared the US' willingness to offer strong support for the Greek
armed forces' modernisation programme, adding that the latest American
aircraft would be made available to Greece.
Vergina declared UNESCO World Heritage site
The archaeological site of Vergina, where the tomb of Philip of Macedon,
father of Alexander the Great, was discovered, has been officially declared
a World Heritage Monument by UNESCO.
The official declaration was made yesterday at the site by UNESCO General
Director Federico Mayor, who was accompanied by Culture Minister Evangelos
Venizelos and Greece's ambassador to UNESCO Vassilis Vassilikos.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mayor expressed his admiration for the archaeological
finds at Vergina and pledged that UNESCO, in cooperation with the Greek
culture ministry, would make every effort to protect and promote them and
to assist the continuation of excavations at the site.
Army buys German jeeps
Greece today signed an agreement with the German vehicle manufacturer
"Mercedes" for the purchase of 305 quarter-ton jeeps to cover its military
needs, Defence Ministry sources said.
The agreement for the jeeps, valued at 4.4 billion dr., was signed by the
Defence Ministry's armaments procurement directorate and the Hellenic
Vehicle Industry (ELBO) with the German manufacturer.
The sources said that 225 of the jeeps will be for general use and 80 for
the transport of injured persons. Ten of the jeeps would cover the needs of
the Hellenic Airforce.
The jeeps will be delivered by the end of 1998.
The sources said another 30 billion dr. agreement for the procurement of 2,
000 one-ton and quarter-ton military vehicles would be signed next
Greek stocks rise again driven by construction, investment
Greek equities remained on a rebound for the 10th consecutive session on
the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday with interest focusing on construction
and investment issues.
The general index closed 1.0 percent higher at 1,566.81 points, to show an
11.78 percent gain over the last ten sessions.
Trading, however, remained moderate with turnover at 16.1 billion
Sector indices scored gains. Banks rose 0.72 percent, Insurance increased
1.53 percent, Investment ended 3.0 percent up, Construction soared 5.5
percent, Industrials rose 0.56 percernt, Miscellaneous ended 1.66 percent
higher, Holding was 1.08 percent up but Leasing bucked the trend to end
2.30 percent off.
The parallel market index for small cap companies rose 0.23 percent, while
the FTSE/ASE index rose 0.87 percent to end at 896.18 points.
Broadly, advancers led decliners by 147 to 76 with another 20 issues
Alysida, Heliofin, Cambas scored the biggest percentage gains at the daily
upper 8.0 percent limit, while N. Galis, Hellenic Sugar, Bank of Athens and
Radio Athina suffered the heaviest losses. National Bank of Greece ended at
27,200 drachmas, Ergoban k at 16,000, Alpha Credit Bank at 17,330, Delta
Dairy at 3,530, Titan Cement at 13,295, Intracom at 15,050 and Hellenic
Telecommunications Organisation at 6,105.
Government rejects civil servants pay claim
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday
rejected civil servants' demands for 1998 pay rises and an increase in
their tax-free income.
Civil servants' union leaders told reporters after a meeting with Mr.
Papantoniou that the minister had rejected their demands.
Mr. Papantoniou remained firm on the government's proposal of a 3.9 percent
pay rise for the public sector in 1998.
Trilateral meeting on Bourgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline
A meeting among Bulgarian, Greek and Russian representatives on a project
for an oil pipeline linking Bourgas and Alexandroupolis ended in Athens,
regional development and public works ministry sources told the Bulgarian
A memorandum on trilateral technical cooperation in the design of the oil
pipeline was reportedly signed and an engineering committee which will be
instrumental in designing the project and consisting of three representatives
of each country was set up.
The meeting also agreed on a tender dossier prior to inviting tenders from
prospective consultants on the project.
The Bulgarian participants set out a course of the oil pipeline in the
country's territory, approved by an expert council. The Greek side is
expected to do so by the end of this month.
The sides exchanged views on the setting up of a Trans-Balkan oil company
which will operate the pipeline.
OTE approves shares purchase, ratifies Armenian telecoms deal
The Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation's (OTE) board approved the
purchase of Athens Stock Exchange shares yesterday amounting to 1,470
million drachmas. It also ratified a contract to buy off the Armenian
Telecommunications Organisation, but expressed reservations over the issue
of programme agreements for which, according to indications, it will reach
a decision today.
Health care system inadequate, study shows
Eighty per cent of respondents to a recent research study "consider the
Greek health care system inadequate, not at all satisfactory, or even
The results of the study, released yesterday by the Union of Consumers for
Quality of Life (EKPOIZO), also says that 25 of respondents, "consider they
have fallen victims of discrimination in the sector of health care, chiefly
due to financial inability , while few think that the level of information
and training provided to citizens on the subject of health is adequate".
The study was conducted in a sample of 2,000 people by eight different
consumer organisations in different parts of the country.
Thessaloniki EKPOIZO representative, Dr. A. Stavrakis, said during
yesterday's press conference that relevant legislation in Greece had
weaknesses, and presented a leaflet setting out patients' rights and
The organisation will also accept relevant complaints.
Cloudiness with sporadic local rain in the Cyclades islands, Crete and
southern and Western Greece. Winds north to northwesterlies, light to
moderate in the west, and strong in the east. Morning frost in the central
and northern mainland. Snow has isolated 13 mountain settlements in Thrace.
Athens will be overcast with temperatures from 3-13C. Same in Thessaloniki
with temperatures from 1-10C.
Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 278.147
Pound sterling 460.228 Cyprus pd 530.641
French franc 46.459 Swiss franc 191.684
German mark 155.511 Italian lira (100) 15.883
Yen (100) 212.645 Canadian dlr. 195.523
Australian dlr. 186.074 Irish Punt 405.331
Belgian franc 7.539 Finnish mark 51.449
Dutch guilder 138.002 Danish kr. 40.837
Swedish kr. 35.577 Norwegian kr. 38.490
Austrian sch. 22.101 Spanish peseta 1.841
Port. Escudo 1.524