Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 98-02-20
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 20/02/1998 (ANA)
- Greece appeals to Iraq to let UNSCOM do their job
- Turkish violations of Greek airspace
- Commissioner praises Greek economic performance
- Major arms haul in northern Greece
- Olympic Airways cancels flights
- Illegal immigrants arrested
- Greek stocks in the doldrums for seventh day
- Foreign Exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Greece appeals to Iraq to let UNSCOM do their job
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou today appealed to Baghdad to
allow UNSCOM officials to complete their work unhindered so that the
ongoing crisis over weapons inspections might be resolved peacefully.
As a peace-loving country, Papandreou told a press conference, Greece would
like to see every effort made at a diplomatic level for a settlement.
He stressed that the Greek people nurtured friendly sentiments towards the
people of Iraq, while noting that the basic principle of respect for UN
resolutions must be adhered to.
Papandreou said the European Union was in effect awaiting the result of UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan's visit to Iraq before taking any decisions at
a Community level.
Turkish violations of Greek airspace
Eighteen Turkish warplanes today infringed Athens Flight Information (FIR)
regulations, on nine occasions violating Greek air space, defence ministry
The infringements and violations took place over the eastern Aegean near
the Greek islands of Psara, Chios, Lesbos and Limnos.
In all instances, the Turkish aircraft were identified and intercepted by
Greek fighter jets.
Commissioner praises Greek economic performance
The speed at which the Greek economy is adapting to the convergence
criteria set out in the Maastricht Treaty is remarkable, EU Internal Market
Commissioner Mario Monti said today.
Monti, who is currently visiting Greece, had talks this morning with
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Bank of
Greece Governor Lucas Papademos, which he later described as very
"The Greek government is showing great determination in making the
necessary structural changes to facilitate the country's integration
inEurope," Monti said.
Replying to reporters' questions, Monti said there was no problem from the
point of view of EU internal market legislation regarding the Greek
government's plans to impose tax on mobile phone use.
He did not however rule out the possibility of there being a snag for the
taxation plans arising from EU legislation on competition, adding though
that this would have to be examined by the competent directorate.
Monti said also that auxiliary social security funds should have a freer
rein in choosing their investment programmes.
The commissioner underlined that Greece had made substantial progress in
adapting Greek legislation to EU internal market directives.
Noting that only 6.25 per cent of all such directives had not been
implemented, Monti said that Greece was nevertheless ahead of Italy, France,
Germany, Austria and Belgium in this respect.
Major arms haul in northern Greece
Greek security police in northern Greece said today they had found and
confiscated a huge arms cache with 300 Kalashnikovs, thousands of rounds of
ammunition and bayonets smuggled from Albania in a truck.
The weapons were found in the truck's secret compartment, shortly after it
crossed the Greek-Albanian border to load furniture from the northwestern
town of Florina.
The lorry's Albanian driver was arrested. Police told the ANA that it was
the "biggest arms haul made since the 1996 uprising in neighbouring Albania
when rebels broke into army barracks and stole thousands of weapons, most
of which fell into the hands of local mafia bands and were smuggled abroad
The driver of the lorry was later identified as Florian Arapi, 19 from
Elbasan, Albania, who told police that he had no knowledge of the
He claims that the vehicle belongs to a compatriot named Kerim Duraseri who
had told him that he would pick up the lorry in Thessaloniki and load it
Olympic Airways cancels flights
Olympic Airways today said it would be cancelling more than 30 scheduled
flights next week to cope with ongoing problems at the national carrier.
The cut flights include international destinations, such as London, Rome,
Geneva, Zurich, Brussels, Budapest, Belgrade and Frankfurt. Also cut are a
number of domestic routes to Thessaloniki and the Aegean islands.
A company announcement said that passengers booked to fly with OA would be
placed on alternate OA flights to their destinations on the same day.
Illegal immigrants arrested
Police today arrested 19 Iraqi illegal immigrants of Kurdish origin on the
island of Samos, who sought political asylum, Coast Guard officials
They said the 12 men, two women and three children had been left off by a
Turkish smuggler on a beach near the Psili Ammo region, just a few hundred
metres across from the Turkish coast.
Greek stocks in the doldrums for seventh day
Greek equities remained under pressure for the seventh consecutive session
to end sharply lower on the Athens Stock Exchange.
The general index dropped 1.24 percent to end at 1,428.28 points for a net
loss of 4.34 percent on the week. The index has lost 3.47 percent of its
value since the start of the year.
Traders said that market sentiment remained negative despite a gradual de-
escalation of domestic interbank rates, and the bourse was unable to react
to persistent pressure by finding stronger support levels.
Analysts said that the Greek market was beginning to live the uncertainty
surrounding possible speculative attacks on regional European currencies
ahead of a fixing of currency rates for a single European currency.
Trading remained subdued throughout the week partly due to a capital flow
into an initial public offering by Duty Free Shops.
On Friday, turnover was 12.8 billion drachmas. The week's turnover totalled
66.76 billion drachmas for a daily average of 13.35 billion, down from 20.9
billion the previous week.
Banks led the market down once again. The sector's index fell 1.10 percent
on Friday for a net loss of 5.94 percent on the week. Insurance eased 1.52
percent, Leasing dropped 0.74 percent, Investment was 1.20 percent off,
Construction fell 1.88 percent, Industrials were 1.50 percent lower,
Miscellaneous plunged 2.64 percent and Holding fell 0.69 percent.
The parallel market index ended 1.55 percent down to show a 0.04 percent
loss on the week reflecting the market's appetite for second-tier
The FTSE/ASE blue chip index fell 1.05 percent to end at 790.11 points,
down 5.02 percent since last Friday.
Broadly decliners led advancers by 161 to 58 with another 20 issues
Ergas, Etma, Pairis and Constantinidis scored the biggest percentage gains
while Fourlis, Bank of Athens, European Credit and Hellenic Sugar suffered
the heaviest losses.
National Bank of Greece ended at 21,100 drachmas, Ergobank at 14,500, Alpha
Credit Bank at 15,120, Delta Dairy at 2,800, Titan Cement at 13,500,
Intracom at 14,770 and Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation at 5,
Fair weather in most parts of Greece today. Local clouds in the west of the
country from the afternoon. Winds northerly, light to moderate, turning
strong in the southeastern Aegean Sea. Athens will be sunny with temperatures
between 4-16C. Similar weather in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 0-
Thursday's closing rates - buying US dlr. 285.121
Pound sterling 466.736 Cyprus pd 534.291
French franc 46.763 Swiss franc 194.253
German mark 156.746 Italian lira (100) 15.900
Yen (100) 225.859 Canadian dlr. 199.194
Australian dlr. 191.952 Irish Punt 390.273
Belgian franc 7.595 Finnish mark 51.685
Dutch guilder 139.083 Danish kr. 41.128
Swedish kr. 35.224 Norwegian kr. 37.567
Austrian sch. 22.280 Spanish peseta 1.852
Port. Escudo 1.532