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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-04-28

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


ATHENS, GREECE, 28/04/1999 (ANA)


  • Papandreou travels to Moscow today for talks on Yugoslav crisis
  • ND leader launches stinging attack on gov't policies
  • Kosovo crisis gives Greece and Turkey opportunity to cooperate
  • Swedish royals wind up official leg of visit to Greece
  • Venizelos meets Bavarian, Tunisian officials
  • Woman killed in hotel bomb explosion
  • Eurobank share capital increase
  • Stocks perk up on Kosovo peace hopes
  • Papantoniou asks firms to help develop Balkans
  • State telecom to claim rights over Serbian investment
  • Yield slips in 12-month T-bill auction
  • Tourism trade group welcomes gov't proposals on EU funding
  • Telestet seeks market curb on subsidies for mobile phones
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Papandreou travels to Moscow today for talks on Yugoslav crisis

Foreign Minister George Papandreou travels to Moscow, today where important diplomatic efforts to resolve the Yugoslav crisis are expected to take place.

Mr. Papandreou will hold talks with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan who will be in Moscow at the same time.

The Greek foreign minister will also have talks with Russia's special envoy on the Yugoslav crisis Viktor Chernomyrdin.

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said yesterday the Greek government was keeping open a channel of communication with Moscow "in order to coordinate activities backing efforts aimed at finding a political solution to the Yugoslav crisis".

ND leader launches stinging attack on gov't policies

Main opposition New Democracy (ND) party leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday launched strong criticism against the government over its policies in the education sector as well as its stance on the Kosovo crisis and called on university students to send a " strong and loud message to the government" that they refuse to "compromise with the current situation and the grey course of the country".

Speaking at the Athens University Law School during an event in view of student elections, Mr. Karamanlis said that the education sector was in need of big changes. Summarising his party's proposed programme, he spoke of financial and administrative independence of the third level educational institutions, the founding of private non-profit universities, investment in new technology, student loans and redefinition of the academic asylum.

The ND leader criticised the government's stance on the Kosovo crisis and said that "the prime minister is trying to act the 'good boy' while he should raise the Greek voice", adding that "since the weak prime minister cannot do that, we must all togeth er support the voice of Greece through the forming of a Foreign Policy Council".

Kosovo crisis gives Greece and Turkey opportunity to cooperate

Former Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos yesterday said that the Kosovo crisis gave the opportunity to Greece and Turkey to cooperate constructively in the Balkans.

Addressing a conference organised by the "Kokkalis Foundation" and the "Institute of Foreign Affairs Analysis", Mr. Pangalos said that this was the "first conference to deal with southeastern Europe, where Greek-Turkish tensions was not the main subject ."

He added that military crises which last for some time and will create humanitarian problems do not benefit either country.

Mr. Pangalos said improvement of relations between Greece and Turkey should preceed a solution of the Cyprus problem, noting that there are no problems between the two countries in the Aegean Sea, rather only a legal issue, which can be solved only with the acceptance of the jurisdiction of the International Court of The Hague.

As for the Cyprus problem, Mr. Pangalos said that this was a "real problem" since as he added there are still people who have memories, worries and problems.

He said that the problem can be confronted with a demilitarisation of the island republic in a framework which would guarantee the security of the Turkish Cypriots, an issue the Turkish side proposes as a major issue, while a multinational force could be deployed on Cyprus.

Swedish royals wind up official leg of visit to Greece

Sweden's royal couple yesterday wound up the official leg of its visit to Greece after a lunch with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, meetings with political party leaders and a visit to the Swedish Archaelogical Institute in Athens. In a brief conversa tion with reporters, King Carl XVI Gustaf said Mr. Simitis had explained in detail the dramatic situation in the Balkans, and that he under-stood Greece's difficult position.

He said he and Queen Sylvia had watched the anti-war concert in the capital's Syntagma Square from the balcony of their Grande Bretagne Hotel on Monday night, and expressed a wish that peace would soon come to Yugoslavia.

"Such crises with mass refugee movements concern us all. In Sweden, the media make frequent references to the war, but in Greece, due to the proximity to Yugoslavia, things are different," he said.

At a ceremony at Athens City Hall, mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos awarded the King the Golden Medal of Valour and the Key to the City of Athens.

Venizelos meets Bavarian, Tunisian officials

Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday met with Bavaria's parliament speaker Johann Bohm and Tunisian Tourism Minister Slaheddine Maoui.

The Bavarian politician, heading a strong parliamentary delegation, stressed that German tourism to Greece did not seem to be affected by NATO's bombing in Yugoslavia and reassured that Greece remained a priority travel destination for Germans.

Mr. Venizelos referred to the progress made by the country's economy, to positive bilateral economic relations with Germany and to the impact on the Greek economy by the Kosovo crisis.

Mr. Venizelos discussed with the Tunisian minister the prospects of further developing tourism cooperation between the two Mediterranean countries, both offering high quality tourism services.

Greece and Tunisia signed a tourism cooperation protocol in 1992. Closer cooperation was sought through the Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation.

Woman killed in hotel bomb explosion

A strong time-bomb explosion killed a 39-year old woman at the Athens Intercontinental Hotel at 23:37 last night.

Virginia Konstantinou, an employee of Altec information systems company, was pronounced dead upon arrrival in hospital. One more employee of the same company was injured.

The explosion was understood to have taken place near the entrance of the hotel, 20 minutes after a warning telephone call to Athens daily "Eleftherotypia".

The caller claimed responsibility on behalf of an organisation named 'Revolutionary Cells'.

Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas expressed his regret for the victims and condemned the attack, saying the perpetrators "aimed to hit institutions and social development, and to impose their views through barbaric methods".

He also stressed the attack made an "intensification of the efforts against terrorism even more imperative".

Intercontinental Hotel is due to host today the '3rd Economist Roundtable with the Government of Greece' conference, an annual event attended by Greek and foreign prominent personalities in politics and finance.

Eurobank share capital increase

The period for exercising the right of preference for participation in the EFG Eurobank's share capital increase by 110 billion drachmas will start on May 18.

The increase in Eurobank's share capital, according to a decision by its general assembly of shareholders, will be carried out with the issue of 22, 092,725 new ordinary nominal shares, each having a face value of 500 drachmas.

The new shares will be provided for all investors who were shareholders of the bank until April 30. One new share will be provided for every five old ones, while the sale price has been set at 5,000 drachmas for each share. The EFG Eurobank's shares will be negotiated at the Athens Stock Exchange as of May 3, without the right of participation in the increase.

All branch offices of Eurobank and the National Bank of Greece will participate in the process of the right of preference in the share capital increase which will last until June 18.

Stocks perk up on Kosovo peace hopes

Hopes of a diplomatic solution to the Kosovo crisis combined with a steadier performance by the domestic bond market created a positive climate in the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday pushing equity prices sharply higher.

The general index jumped 5.51 percent to 3,431.31 points, off the day's highs, combined with a substantial recovery in turnover.

A new round of diplomatic activity in Moscow and Yugoslav vice-president Draskovic's comments on the need for a compromise solution encouraged sentiment.

Traders, however, said that the rebound was excessive, reflecting the market's recent high volatility.

Dealers also said that price declines in previous sessions sparked heavy bargain-hunting.

Sector indices scored major gains. Banks soared 6.89 percent, Leasing was 4.79 percent up, Insurance rose 3.10 percent, Investment increased 2.84 percent, Construction jumped 6.57 percent, Industrials rose 4.30 percent, Miscellaneous ended 6.05 percent up and Holding rose 1.47 percent.

The parallel market index for small cap companies ended 4.88 percent higher. Turnover was 113.878 billion drachmas and volume 22,805,801 shares.

National Bank of Greece ended at 20,550 drachmas, Alpha Credit Bank at 20, 574, Ergobank at 26,100, Ionian Bank at 17,685, Titan Cement at 23,450, Hellenic Petroleum at 2,340, Intracom at 18,457, Minoan Lines at 7,350, Panafon at 8,135 and Hellenic Telecoms at 6,860.

Papantoniou asks firms to help develop Balkans

National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday invited representatives from banking and business to discuss plans for development of the Balkans.

The first meeting will be held on May 3 at the national economy ministry.

In a letter to Greek businesses active in the Balkans, Mr. Papantoniou said: "The military operations in Yugoslavia and neighbouring countries are having a major economic and social impact on the wider region, and naturally on Greece.

"The government's initiative to deal with the repercussions of the crisis and economic restructuring of the region after the crisis need timely preparation and formulation of a joint plan," Mr. Papantoniou said.

Among those invited to the meeting were National Bank of Greece, Commercial Bank of Greece, Alpha Credit Bank, EFG Eurobank, Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation, Bank of Piraeus, Thrace Paperworks, Delta Dairy, Asprofos, Medical Center, Intracom, the Federation of Greek Industries and chambers of commerce and industry.

State telecom to claim rights over Serbian investment

The Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE) will claim all rights linked to its investment in Telecom Serbija, Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mandelis and OTE chairman Vassilis Rapanos told a parliamentary committee yesterday.

OTE acquired a 20 percent stake in the Serbian telecommunications company in June 1997, and another 29 percent stake is owned by Italy's STET.

Mr. Mandelis said that damage to Telecom Serbija from NATO's air attacks were not serious and that domestic telecommunications services were operating normally.

He noted that Serbia's cable network remained intact with damage focused on the wireless network.

Mr. Mandelis said that OTE was making profits from the diversion of part of Serbia's telecommunications activity to Thessaloniki.

OTE's chairman said that the company was working with legal advisors and the country's foreign affairs and national economy ministries to discuss the legal base for future damage claims.

Yield slips in 12-month T-bill auction

The average weighted yield in an auction of 12-month treasury bills yesterday slipped to 8.70 percent from 8.75 percent in the previous tender, the finance ministry said in a statement.

Demand for the securities was 2.2 times above the 140 billion drachmas sought by the government.

Of the 306.3 billion drachmas in bids, the finance ministry accepted 168 billion drachmas.

Bidding were the market's primary dealers.

The issue and settlement date is April 29, 1999.

Tourism trade group welcomes gov't proposals on EU funding

The Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE) yesterday welcomed proposals by the government to raise the level of funds sought from the European Union for tourism.

Tourism Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Monday announced that he would seek to raise funding for tourism to 700 billion drachmas under the Third Community Support Framework (CSF) from 170 billion under the Second CSF.

SETE welcomed both the rise in funding and the plan to make tourism a category in its own right. It has so far been a sub-programme linked to tourism.

In addition, the government plans to give all travel enterprises the chance to receive funding, regardless of size or sector of activity within tourism.

The plans could help to rekindle interest in tourism investments but the ministry's slow-moving bureaucracy would have to be simplified and accelerated, SETE said.

The Third CSF, which spans 2000 to 2006, is currently being drafted.

Telestet seeks market curb on subsidies for mobile phones

The new managing director of Telestet, Roberto Rovera, yesterday called on the domestic mobile phone market's other two operators, Cosmote and Panafon, to lower their subsidies on appliances.

Mr. Rovera told a news conference that in Italy commercial penetration was 40 percent and subscribers totalled 16 million despite the absence of the subsidies through gift offers.

Telestet would not resort to government departments to have the subsidies lowered but hoped that the market could come to its own agreement in order to make competition fairer, he said.


Sunny skies and rising temperatures throughout Greece today the mountainous regions of Macedonia and Thrace. Winds variable, light to moderate in the gean Sea. Athens will be sunny with some cloud in the afternoon with temperatures between 12-26C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 9- 24C.


Wednesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          305.318
Pound sterling       490.306
Japanese yen (100)   253.992
French franc          49.409
German mark          165.708
Italian lira (100)    16.738
Irish Punt           411.517
Belgian franc          8.034
Luxembourg franc       8.034
Finnish mark          54.509
Dutch guilder        147.069
Danish kr.            43.610
Austrian sch.         23.553
Spanish peseta         1.948
Swedish kr.           36.402
Norwegian kr.         39.236
Swiss franc          202.482
Port. Escudo           1.617
Aus. dollar          197.919
Can. dollar          205.284
Cyprus pound         559.488
Euro                 324.096
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