Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 97-12-30
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 30/12/1997 (ANA)
- Tsohatzopoulos reiterates Greek contingent will remain in Bosnia
- Athens asks for clarification over Turkish military exercise
- Karamanlis says ND set to win next elections
- Report on 'pro-junta picnic' released
- High court prosecutor rules against Roussel appeal
- Special environmental protection units to be established
- Cultural capital '97 ends with musical event
- Greece, Albania to sign agreement on transport today
- Capital outflows continue, interbank rates intact
- Greek stocks end substantially lower
- Bank if Piraeus profits up 112 pct Jan/Sept
- Alpha Credit Bank nine month profits rose 46.2 pct
- Finance ministry announced 15 pct tax reductions on property
- Olympic order for eight Boeing 737-800s
- Decision excluding Renault from bus tender upheld
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Tsohatzopoulos reiterates Greek contingent will remain in Bosnia
Speaking at the end of his official visit to Bosnia yesterday, National
Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos stressed that the Greek contingent of
the international force will remain in the wartorn country.
"Our position remains steadfast. Just as in the past we stated that the
Greek contingent would remain, even if it is the only one to stay in Bosnia,
we reiterate today that our contingent will remain in the future," he
Replying to a question on the duration of the Greek force's stay in Bosnia,
he did not specify the time period.
"Greece's contribution will not only continue at a military level but also
through the activation of cooperation on a bilateral level," he said.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that educational facilities will soon be built, as
well as a hospital, adding that Greece will contribute to the renovation of
a mosque in Visovo and to the building of several places of religious
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos was the first high-ranking foreign official to have
contacts with all three members of Bosnia-Herzegovina's presidium during a
visit to the country.
Early in the morning yesterday, he met with the president of Bosnia-
Herzegovina, Alija Izetbegovic at the presidential mansion. Shortly
afterwards, he met with the Croat representative and member of the three-
member presidium, Krezimir Zubak, in the same venue. He then travelled to
Pale where he held talks with the Serb representative in the presidium,
Speaking at a press conference after his meetings, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said
the development taking place during the past year on the issue of Bosnia-
Herzegovina was very positive.
Commenting on the presence of the multinational military force in the
country, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that Greece is participating as a member
of the military force in Bosnia in the decision to support the Dayton pact,
and criticised the position of other countries which have expressed desire
in the past to withdraw their forces from Bosnia.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said the three sides congratulated him over Greece's
military presence and the role played by the Greek contingent.
Referring to Greece's interest in the region, he said it was "self-evident",
adding that Greece is independently interested both independently and on a
bilateral basis in the prosperity and progress of peoples in the region,
and this stems from the fact that whatever crisis in the area also has
repercussions in Greece.
Mr. Tsohatzopoulos and officials accompanying him left for Tirana later in
the afternoon, where he is expected to meet the Archbishop of Albania
Anastasios and visit an army base housing the Greek contingent in Albania.
A meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano is expected immediately
Athens asks for clarification over Turkish military exercise
Confusion apparently surrounds a Turkish aeronautical exercise scheduled in
the Aegean, between Jan. 2-25.
According to reports, the Greek Civil Aviation Authority (YPA) has sent a
dispatch to authorities in Turkey on Dec. 24, citing problems regarding
four of the areas marked off for the maneuvers.
Turkish officials replied on Dec. 26 with changes regarding these areas,
which however, were not satisfactory to YPA.
Ankara issued notams - air navigation directives - for two areas, which
include part of Istanbul's Flight Information Region (FIR) along with parts
of the Athens' FIR.
On Dec. 28, YPA described the Turkish notam as illegal, void of any content
and not valid, since it originated from a foreign service although it
related to the Athens' FIR.
On the same day, YPA issued a notam allowing the Turkish exercises in the
five of the eight areas originally requested by the plan.
YPA expressed reservations about areas 4,5 and 6, for which it requested
communication with Turkey in order to issue the notam, after Turkey
modifies the planning of the exercises in those areas. The Greek agency
also requested that no national airspace be used during the Turkish
exercises, and that the firing range of Andros be excluded.
Accodring to the same sources, YPA is awaiting a Turkish response, however,
in the case that no response is given, YPA will report Turkey to the
In addition, Athens will inform European Union member-states and the United
Meanwhile, according to a ANA dispatch from Sarajevo National Defence
Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos told reporters that the Civil Aviation
Authority was the body having exclusive responsibility in relation to the
The defence minister, who was replying to a question regarding a scheduled
military maneuver in the Aegean by Turkey, added that "Turkish authorities
notified Greece about the military exercise 10 days ago."
"We are expecting that Turkish behaviour (during the exercise) will comply
with international rules. We hope that its behaviour (Ankara's) will be
governed by such principles, and also be based on its disposition for
admission into the European Union", he said.
Nevertheless, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos said that "in case Turkey questions the
rules of the international law, there will be a decisive reply."
Karamanlis says ND set to win next elections
Main opposition New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis optimistically
predicted that ND will win the next general elections, during a televised
interview with private channel Antenna (ANT1) yesterday.
"The party (ND) is on a good course since it has overcome its introversion
and has managed to heal the wounds of many years", he said, adding that
"(ND) is looking at the future, being fully aware of the great responsibility
that we will soon undertake following the Greek people's decision".
He predicted that 1998 will be a difficult and crucial year for the
country's future as far as its course towards united Europe was concerned,
while he grabbed the opportunity to attack the goverment on its choices,
underlining that "its timidity and decisions were undermining this
Mr. Karamanlis revealed that his party had set a twin target in 1998,
firstly, to put pressure on the government to follow what he called a
proper policy; and secondly, to persuade the majority of voters on its
positions and proposals.
Report on 'pro-junta picnic' released
Severe reprimands are likely to be levelled on 41 police officers, many
high-ranking, who several years ago participated in an outdoor picnic
replete with pro-junta-era songs, dances and insignia. Videotaped antics
from the event were recently broadcast on several Greek television
stations. A police deputy chief submitted his report yesterday afternoon,
after a two-month investigation into the case. Military junta sympathising
police officers and and Riot Police Unit (EKAM) were shown dancing to junta-
era songs, as well as shouting slogans and firing in the air with their
service weapons. The lenghty report arrives at the conclusion that the
video was unaltered. The report recommends that EKAM commander Koutroumanis
be dismissed, with some police officers be fired and others suspended.
High court prosecutor rules against Roussel appeal
The Supreme Court public prosecutor's office yesterday rejected an appeal
by Thierry Roussel, the father of Athina Onassis-Roussel, against an Athens
appeals council decision, according to which Mr. Roussel was to stand trial
on charges of slander, perjury and filing a wrongful lawsuit against the
Liechtenstein-based Onassis Foundation. The Supreme Court prosecutor's
office judged that the decision was sufficiently justified.
Special environmental protection units to be established
The Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Ministry will submit a bill
in Parliament anticipating the creation of special units for protecting the
The units to be established will be known as "Inspectors of the Environment
S.A." The units' mission, according to the bill, will be control and
observance of national and European Union legislation on the environment.
The bill further anticipates observance of regulations which have been
imposed, either as a precondition for granting a licence and the operaton
or renewal of the operation of every activity at all public or private
The units will be manned with specialised personnel and will propose the
imposition of fines in cases they ascertain violations of environmental
Cultural capital '97 ends with musical event
A celebration marking the end of the European cultural capital year in
Thessaloniki will be broadcast to all Balkan countries, with images sent to
several European nations and to cable subscribers in the United States via
the state-run NET network.
The event will feature internationally acclaimed Yugoslav composer Goran
Bregovic, noted Greek singer Giorgos Dalaras and his Yugoslav counterpart
Zdravko Colic, as well as 200 dancers, musicians and chorus singers.
The show will cost the Cultural Capital of Europe Organisation (OPPE) 235
million drachmas, 70 million coming through the sale of the musical
programme to several Balkan state broadcasters.
Greece, Albania to sign agreement on transport today
Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mandelis and his Albanian
counterpart, Gaqo Apostoli, will sign a bilateral agreement here today on
the transportation of passengers and goods by road.
Mr. Apostoli is paying an official visit to Greece at the invitation of Mr.
During their talks today, the two ministers will also discuss issues
related to road and rail connections between Greece and Albania
Capital outflows continue, interbank rates intact
The Bank of Greece, the country's central bank, yesterday reported outflows
totalling 300 million Ecus at drachma fixing in the domestic interbank
Bankers said that foreign institutional investors continued closing their
positions into Greek state securities ahead of the end of 1997, a pattern
prevailing since last week, leading to more than 1.1 billion Ecus in
Interbank rates however remained steady helped by the Bank of Greece's
Short-term interest rates moved around 10 percent, while rates for over a
month range 14 percent.
Greek stocks end substantially lower
Greek equities came under heavy pressure yesterday to end substantially
lower on the Athens Stock Exchange.
Traders said sentiment was affected by renewed turmoil in southeast Asian
markets and a new round of higher interest rates by domestic commercial
The general index closed 1.63 percent lower at 1,451.16 points, while
turnover rose to 48.1 billion drachmas reflecting transactions of large
block of shares ahead of the year end. During the session 700,000 shares of
National Bank of Greece were traded .
Sector indices ended lower. Banks fell 1.78 percent, Insurance eased 1.87
percent, Leasing dropped 0.66 percent, Investments ended 0.95 percent off,
Constructions dropped 1.83 percent, Industrials fell 1.24 percent,
Miscellaneous ended 1.78 percent down and Holding plunged 2.86 percent.
The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 0.88 percent off
and the FTSE/ASE index rose 1.62 percent to end at 829.10 points.
Broadly, decliners led advancers by 167 to 47 with another 17 issues
Pairis, Dane, Papahellinas and Chalyps Cement scored the biggest percentage
gains, while Nematemboriki, Papoutsanis, Vis and Parnassos suffered the
National Bank of Greece ended at 24,500 drachmas, Ergobank at 14,230, Alpha
Credit Bank at 16,130, Delta Dairy at 3,220, Titan Cement at 12,790,
Intracom at 12,950 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 5,
Bank of Piraeus profits up 112 pct Jan/Sept
Bank of Piraeus, a Greek listed private bank, yesterday reported a
spectacular 112 percent rise in profits for the first nine months of the
year, bringing the total to 7.9 billion drachmas compared with 3.7 billion
in the corresponding period last year.
The bank's assets in the period from January to September rose by 78
percent, deposits were 89 percent higher and lending rose by 63 percent.
Alpha Credit Bank nine month profits rose 46.2 pct
Alpha Credit Bank's profits rose by 46.2 percent in the first nine months
of the year to 64.3 billion drachmas from 44 billion the same period last
The bank's assets totalled 221.7 billion drachmas, deposits rose 20.3
percent to 2.3 trillion drachmas and lending increased by 38.8 percent to
Alpha Credit, the country's largest private bank, said in a statement
yesterday that its fourth quarterly results would be affected by a rising
trend in interest rates from the end of October.
Finance ministry announces 15 pct tax reductions on property
Greece's finance ministry yesterday announced a 15 percent rise in tax
exemptions and tax reductions on heritage and grants taxation, property
transfer and large property taxation.
The ministry said the measures were aimed at offsetting the impact on
taxation by rising property prices.
Olympic order for eight Boeing 737-800s
State-run Olympic Airways has ordered eight "Boeing 737-800" aircraft, the
giant manufacturer announced here yesterday.
The value of the order amounts to US$408 million, while delivery of the
aircraft will start in early 2000. The Boeing 737-800s will replace the
carrier's previous 737 and 727 models, an announcement stated.
The 737-800 aircraft are equipped with the new CFM56-7 engines, which are
manufactured by CFMI, a joint venture of the US-based General Electric
company and the France's Snecma.
Decision excluding Renault from bus tender upheld
The Renault company has been excluded from tendering by the Thermal Buses
Co. (ETHEL) for procurement of 750 buses, valued at 45 billion drachmas, as
the Council of State rejected the French company's appeal.
The firm, which was excluded during the first stage of tendering, was
requesting suspension of decisions by an inter-party committee.
The Council of State rejected all the reasons put forth by the automaker.
Fair weather in most parts of Greece today with scattered showers in the
eastern regions and the islands improving later in the day. Athens will be
sunny with few clouds and temperatures between 7-15C. Same in Thessalasoniki
with temperatures from 4-12C.
Monday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 277.998
Pound sterling 465.804 Cyprus pd 532.208
French franc 46.785 Swiss franc 193.554
German mark 156.419 Italian lira (100) 15.929
Yen (100) 214.093 Canadian dlr. 193.837
Australian dlr. 182.230 Irish Punt 402.613
Belgian franc 7.587 Finnish mark 51.743
Dutch guilder 138.880 Danish kr. 41.089
Swedish kr. 35.672 Norwegian kr. 38.132
Austrian sch. 22.256 Spanish peseta 1.848
Port. Escudo 1.535