Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 98-12-16
NEWS IN ENGLISH
Athens, Greece, 16/12/1998 (ANA)
- Gov't chooses Sweden's Ericsson for airbrne radars
- Gov't to start talks in early '99 on overhauling tax system
- Doudos to sell yarn to Benetton, Marks & Spencer
- Average weighted rate drops in 10-yr bond auction
- Stocks end higher in wake of declines
- Hellenic Petroleum-Bruckner agreement for BOPP film
- EU allows write-off of Greek farm cooperatives' debts
- Pangalos on Kuwait, Pakistan visit, next week in FYROM
- Venizelos meets with Armenian counterpart Saroyian
- Controls to fall for Schengen Pact countries' citizens
- Implementation of Dayton agreements will benefit entire region
- Holbrooke concludes talks with Greek leadership
- Kranidiotis disagrees with 'ethnocentric' solution to Cyprus
- Pre-historic archaeological find in Evros
- Foreign exchange
NEWS IN DETAIL
Gov't chooses Sweden's Ericsson for airbrne radars
The government yesterday chose the Swedish firm Ericsson for four airborne
radars at a cost of US$575 million, part of a major programme currently
aimed at strengthening the capability of all three branches of the armed
The decision was announced by Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos,
following a meeting of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and
Defence (KYSEA) that was chaired by Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
The radar systems are expected to be delivered in 45 months, Mr. Tsohatzopoulos
said. In the meantime, Greece will receive a system that will enable crews
to be trained in the new system.
The Erieye radar system will be fitted on the Brazilian-made twin-propeller
"Embraer 145" aircraft.
KYSEA also said it would take a final decision on the purchase of new
fighter aircraft for the Hellenic Air force at its next meeting, at the end
of January or early February.
The main contenders for a lucrative fighter jet contract are the French
Mirage 2000-5, the Eurofighter 2000, the US-made F-15 and F-16 (block 50+)
and Russia's Sukhoi 27.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said later that the price for the
radar systems would be about $570 million, which included pilot training
costs, spare parts and support.
However, he added, a final price - possibly lower - would be announced
Spending for this item has been accounted for and will not further burden
the budget, he said, adding that the acquisition was one which the economy
Mr. Reppas said KYSEA also discussed replacing the air force's transport C-
130 planes with lower maintenance and cost aircraft.
Meanwhile, in an ANA dispatch from Sweden, commenting on the Greek
government's decision to purchase the Eireye radar tracking system, the
general director of Ericsson Microwave System, Jan Oke Kark, said "it is
one of the biggest orders that Ericsson has ever received and I believe
that further negotiations will have a small duration and a favourable
The director of Ericsson's AEW System department Lenard Yewelson said the
order will create about 100 new jobs in Sweden but in coming years jobs
will also be created in Greece, where the system will ultimately be
assembled and fitted onto aircraft.
Brazil has already ordered the same type of radars by virtue of a contract
signed two years ago while their delivery is due to start in 1999.
News of the Greek government's decision has been dominating the Swedish
mass media as of yesterday afternoon.
Gov't to start talks in early '99 on overhauling tax system
The government is to begin talks on reforming the country's corporate and
income tax system in the first quarter of 1999, Deputy Finance Minister
George Drys said yesterday.
Among topics on the table for discussion will be the abolition of base
assessed taxes, the introduction of an inflation-linked tax scale, a review
of tax-exempt income levels, and a streamlining of tax brackets, Mr. Drys
The government has already pledged to introduce changes to the tax system
in 2000, including probable cuts in income tax.
Addressing a seminar of the Senior Executives Association, Mr. Drys also
said that the government was taking part in European Union talks on the
adoption of a taxation ethics code that would try to eliminate tax wars
sparked by individual countries shar ply lowering their taxes in order to
"We are moving towards a full harmonisation of fiscal policies based on
joint agreements," Mr. Drys said.
Doudos to sell yarn to Benetton, Marks & Spencer
Doudos, which is listed in the Athens bourse's textiles sector, announced
yesterday that it had concluded deals with Benetton of Italy and Marks &
Spencers of the UK to supply cotton yarn to knitware factories used by the
The agreements were concluded after presentations by Doudos at the two
latest Expofil trade fairs in Paris, Doudos said in a statement.
Doudos forecast profits of 250 million drachmas in 1998 against 133 million
a year earlier.
Sales in January-September totalled 3.5 billion drachmas from 2.9 billion
in the same period of 1997, up 20 percent.
Exports, which represent almost half of turnover, were worth 1.7 billion
drachmas in the first nine months, up 41 percent on 1.2 billion a year
Average weighted rate drops in 10-yr bond auction
The average weighted rate in a 10-year bond auction slid to 7.19 percent
from 7.81 percent in the previous auction, also down on an 8.6 percent
coupon, the finance ministry said in a statement yesterday.
The l0-year paper was a reopening of the original March 26, 1998 issue.
Demand was 3.7 times the 280 billion drachmas the government was seeking.
Accepted by the finance ministry were bids totalling 336 billion drachmas.
Traders said the auction showed that Greece was making progress in its
target of alignment on rates with the European Union.
Stocks end higher in wake of declines
Equities finished higher on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday in the wake
of losses of more than 6.0 percent in previous sessions, but failed to
break through stubborn resistance at 2,500 points.
The general index ended 0.70 percent up at 2,423.83 points. Trade was light
to moderate with turnover rising to 66.5 billion drachmas from 51.5 billion
drachmas a day earlier on volume of 12,466,000 shares.
The FTSE/ASE-20 blue chip index gained 0.70 percent to finish at 1,494.62
The parallel market for smaller cap stocks underperformed the general index,
closing 0.11 percent lower.
Sector indices were mostly higher.
Banks gained 0.89 percent, Leasing rose 1.39 percent, Insurance jumped 3.09
percent, Investment nosed up 0.34 percent, Construction lost 1.30 percent,
Industrials edged up 0.62 percent, Miscellaneous increased 1.70 percent,
and Holding gained 1.17 perce nt.
Of 267 shares traded advances led declines at 130 to 116 with 21 unchanged.
Hellenic Petroleum-Bruckner agreement for BOPP film
Greece's largest industrial group, Hellenic Petroleum (HP), has signed a
contract with Germany's Bruckner for establishing a second production line
of BOPP film at the group's new unit in the Komotini industrial park.
The investment is budgeted at seven billion drachmas and will create 50 new
jobs. The operation of the new line is scheduled to begin in mid-2000 and
is expected to further promote the vertical integration of the polypropylene
sector in Greece, which is a strategic goal of the group.
EU allows write-off of Greek farm cooperatives' debts
The EU farm ministers' council unanimously approved a Greek request for a
settlement of Greek agricultural cooperatives' and private farm businesses'
massive debts of 159 billion drachmas.
The decision is expected to be welcomed by the concerns in question, many
of which, such as Elaiourgiki, the country's largest olive oil producers'
cooperative, were in danger of shutting down and could not undertake any
The measure will also provide a much needed injection to the portfolio of
Agricultural Bank, which will now receive from the state bonds of equal
value to cover its claims.
Agriculture Minister Giorgos Anomeritis said the opportunity will be
utilised correctly, will not lead to distortions of competition and will
contribute to and improvement in the productivity and competitiveness of
Greek farm production.
Pangalos on Kuwait, Pakistan visit, next week in FYROM
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos left yesterday for a two-day visit to
The Greek FM will meet with Kuwaiti Emir Jabir al-Ahmad al-Jabir as-Sabah,
to whom he will convey a letter by President of the Republic Kostis
Stephanopoulos. He will also meet other Kuwaiti government officials.
Mr. Pangalos will then fly to Islamabad for talks with Pakistani Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Several agreements on bilateral relations are expected to be signed during
Mr. Pangalos' visit to Pakistan.
Mr. Pangalos will also visit Skopje on Dec. 22 at the invitation of the new
prime minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Ljubco
He is expected to meet with FYROM government officials on developments in
the Balkans and international affairs and will exchange views on the
present state of bilateral relations and room for improvement, a foreign
ministry statement said yes terday.
Venizelos meets with Armenian counterpart Saroyian
Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos met with his Armenian counterpart in
Athens yesterday to discuss cultural ties between the two countries. "The
historical and cultural ties linking Greece and Armenia are longstanding
and have a specific practical sign ificance today," Mr. Venizelos said
after meeting with Roland Saroyian.
The two discussed archaeological research, contemporary arts and decided to
pursue the mutual translation of works by Armenian and Greek writers.
A protocol of cooperation focussing on film, audio-visual productions,
theatrical works, concerts and the fine arts is also being pursued.
Controls to fall for Schengen Pact countries' citizens
The government announced the abolition of controls at airports and at land
and sea borders for citizens belonging to Schengen Pact countries.
At a meeting of Parliament's foreign affairs and defence committee
yesterday, Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis said the abolition
of controls at airports has been scheduled for April 1, 1999 - and at the
country's land and sea borders as of July 1, 1999.
Mr. Kranidiotis said that Greece has so far implemented the Schengen Pact,
which has been partially valid since Dec. 8, 1997. He accepted the holding
of a special meeting on the course of the country's participation in the
Pact, while the foreign affairs and defence committee's newly elected
chairman, Karolos Papoulias, said that the public order and justice
ministers will be called on to participate in the meeting.
Referring to the Lisbon Protocol, Mr. Kranidiotis termed it a "purely
procedural amendment" concerning the shadowing and pursuit of people having
perpetrated serious offences leading to their extradition.
According to this amendment, authorisation is given to each country to
change the principles which will apply for the above actions with internal
"We indicated the public order ministry for monitoring and pursuit and the
justice ministry for extradition," Mr. Kranidiotis said.
Implementation of Dayton agreements will benefit entire region
Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou said in Madrid yesterday that
implementation of the Dayton agreements will not only benefit Bosnia-
Herzegovina but the entire region as well.
"Some important steps have been taken lately and more specifically that of
the elections which we could characterise a landmark in the process. But a
great deal has yet to be done for the development of the economy, the
education of young people and tol erance among ethnic groups," he said
while speaking at an international conference on Bosnia.
"...it is also very important for the entire region since Bosnia-Herzegovina
is the place where three different ethnic groups live whose harmonious
cohabitation is an issue concerning all the Balkans. The importance of the
success of the implementation of the Dayton agreements is also great since
it will not only benefit Bosnia-Herzegovina but the entire region as well,"
The conference, due to come to a close today, is convened every year to
ascertain the course of developments in the peace process in the region.
Delegates participating in the conference said that steps taken in the past
year are "positive" but stressed the need for an intensification of efforts
on issues concerning the return of refugees, security and the stabilisation
of democratic institutions.
On his part, Mr. Papandreou said that "the contribution by Balkan countries
towards the further settlement of problems which have arisen from the
crisis in Bosnia is not only necessary for the specific case but must also
constitute the general vision for the future of the peoples in the
"We must support the forces of pluralism in Bosnia's society and not those
who promote nationalistic and secessionist trends. Greece is interested in
the region's security and the good course of all the countries in the
Balkans with which it is linked with bonds of friendship and considers them
its moral associates for the future," he said.
On the sidelines of the conference, Mr. Papandreou met with the special
envoy for Bosnia-Herzegovina Carlos Westendorp and representatives of
ethnic groups in the region for an exchange of views on progress in the
peace process. He also met with the Foreign Ministers of the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia Jovanovic and Albania's Milo, as well as NATO's
representative for Bosnia, Gen. Wesley Clark.
Holbrooke concludes talks with Greek leadership
US presidential emissary on Cyprus Richard Holbrooke had nothing new to add
to the ongoing efforts to resolve the issue of Cyprus, government spokesman
Dimitris Reppas said yesterday.
Mr. Reppas said Mr. Holbrooke and Greek government officials exchanged
views on regional issues, including Cyprus and Greek-Turkish relations.
Mr. Holbrooke, accompanied by special US State Department coordinator on
Cyprus, Thomas Miller, arrived in Athens on Monday, part of a tour of
capitals involved in the Cyprus dispute.
They met with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and National Defence
Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos.
Kranidiotis disagrees with 'ethnocentric' solution to Cyprus
Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis yesterday expressed his
disagreement with "an ethnocentric consideration" of the Cyprus problem.
"The Cypriot people comprise two communities and a solution must provide
solutions to problems of both sides," he said during a speech on the
possibilities of a more integrated projection of the Cyprus problem through
the mass media and an opening of new channels of communication with
international public opinion.
Referring to current developments on the issue, he said that the island
republic's EU accession course, dialogue on security with a view to its
partial demilitarisation and intercommunal dialogue converged towards the
prospect of a solution.
He said the EU accession course was developing smoothly, and that arguments
in favour of a solution of the political problem before accession did not
arise in any official document of the European Union, but from European
leaders who "are sending the wr ong message to Turkey".
Cyprus government spokesman Christos Stylianides, who also spoke at the
event, stressed that Athens and Nicosia reached common decisions and had a
common strategy, "although through different concerns and different
He also said that "the period of our self-evident just cause has passed, as
the pace of development of the Cyprus issue does not create news, the
result being that our communication policy is suffering."
Pre-historic archaeological find in Evros
Archaeologists discovered a fifth millennium BC settlement in Makri, Evros
prefecture, located about 10 kilometres west of Alexandroupoli.
Archaeologists working on the site found a large number of clay human-
shaped figurines, which allow for the interpretation that the site is
significant. The major discovery is of an archives storage site, while
construction of a shelter-type museum is considered.
Western and northern Greece is expected to be partly cloudy on Wednesday.
The rest of the country cloudy with rainfall, scattered snowfall mainly on
the highlands and storms in southern sea areas. Winds northerly, strong to
very strong. Athens is forecast cloudy with light rainfall in the morning
and temperatures ranging from 5C to 11C. Thessaloniki is expected to be
partly cloudy with temperatures ranging from 2C to 9C.
Wednesday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 275.439
British pound 465.030 Japanese yen (100) 236.165
French franc 49.671 German mark 166.512
Italian lira (100) 16.821 Irish Punt 413.466
Belgian franc 8.075 Finnish mark 54.778
Dutch guilder 147.778 Danish kr. 43.815
Austrian sch. 23.645 Spanish peseta 1.958
Swedish kr. 34.262 Norwegian kr. 35.216
Swiss franc 206.177 Port. Escudo 1.636
Aus. dollar 172.057 Can. dollar 178.897