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Athens News Agency: News in English (AM), 99-06-07

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr>

NEWS IN ENGLISH

ATHENS, GREECE, 07/06/1999 (ANA)


MAIN HEADLINES

  • Simitis to advance plan for Balkan reconstruction
  • Agriculture ministry swings into action to protect consumers
  • Greece criticises Belgium for delaying dioxin findings
  • Simitis believes Greece will achieve EMU entry by 2001
  • Karamanlis accuses PM of 'blackmailing voters'
  • Tsovolas addresses central Athens rally
  • KKE leader says Yugoslav war smells of new world order
  • Turkish premier criticises Europe, Greece after EU summit
  • Patriarch Vartholomeos winds up 15-day visit to Greece
  • Athens gives Olympic flame to European youth
  • 'Kurdistan in the shadow of history'
  • Proscecutor orders arrest of former brokerage firm director
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange

NEWS IN DETAIL

Simitis to advance plan for Balkan reconstruction

Prime Minister Costas Simitis announced yesterday his intention to promote a "comprehensive plan for stability and development under the new conditions" in the Balkans, saying that he would have contacts with the Yugoslav, Albanian, Bulgarian and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) leaderships after next Sunday's Euroelections.

In a statement to the Sunday Eleftherotypia, Mr. Simitis said that Greece would have a "dynamic presence and an active role" in the reconstruction effort in the sensitive Balkan region.

"With our policy we have succeeded in keeping Greece out of the crisis, while laying down the basis for an upgraded role of our country in the area, " he said.

"We have made Greece a force of stability, security and peace. If Greece insisted on a negative stance, it would have been part of the Balkan crisis with immeasurable consequences on all levels," he added.

Mr. Simitis also expressed his conviction that the desire for peace would prevail in the Kosovo conflict as, he said, the two sides have understood that there was no other alternative.

Agriculture ministry swings into action to protect consumers

Agriculture Minister George Anomeritis yesterday announced that strict measures will be effected on all food products as well as animal feed.

Following a meeting of the ministry's inspections committee, the ministry announced regular and detailed inspections on imported food products in light of the national and European Union decisions.

Specifically, the agricultural ministry's health department will inspect and inform importing companies and wholesale firms, which imported foods from Belgium, animal feed producers, hotels, retail chains, hospitals and military procurement services.

The ministry stressed once again that products suspected of being contaminated by dioxins are only those which were produced between January 15 and June 1, 1999.

The Greek and Belgian governments in cooperation with businesses expect to take off the market by tomorrow all the suspect products imported to Greece from Belgium.

Furthermore, the health department called on 19 businesses in 11 prefectures to take off the market 192 tonnes of animal feed imported from Belgium, and all 19 complied.

Meanwhile, the relevant agencies have officially informed retailers to comply with the Union's decision 1538/4.6.99 demanding that businesses take off the shelves specific food products imported from Belgium, otherwise they will face penalties prescribed by the law.

The health deparment of the ministry continues to be in direct contact with its EU counterpart via the emergency warning system of the Union, while the permanent veterinary committee of the Union will meet today to review the issue.

In a related development, ministry officials on Saturday confiscated 202 tonnes of beef and pork, 210 tonnes of dairy products, 10 tonnes of by- products and two tonnes of poultry.

Greece criticises Belgium for delaying dioxin findings

Development Minister Evangelos Venizelos yesterday criticised Belgian authorities for failing to alert export destinations sooner that cancer- causing dioxin had been found in poultry and meat. The delay in announcing the finding was unacceptable Mr. Venizelos told a news conference in Thessaloniki.

Countries around the world including Greece have seized quantities of contaminated meat, poultry and dairy products from Belgium in the week-old scare, and sealed their borders to more imports.

In order to protect Greek consumers, the government would not hesitate to slap a ban on imports of foostuffs and beverages from any country that failed to meet public health standards, Mr. Venizelos said.

Mr. Venizelos also announced that he would ask domestic producers to widen quality control measures for their own products. Random samples of produce would be sent to laboratories abroad for testing, he added.

Simitis believes Greece will achieve EMU entry by 2001

Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday said that ruling PASOK strengthened the international credibility of the country and influenced the decisions of the Eurorpean Union relating to the future of both Greece and Europe.

Speaking in light of Sunday's Euroelections on the Cycladic island of Naxos in the Aegean, the premier said that the government defended the national issues and sovereign rights of the country, as well as the Cyprus issue and the EU accession process of the island republic. He reiterated his belief that Greece will achieve its entry to the European Monetary Union by the year 2001 "if we continue the policies we already implement."

Mr. Simitis said that on Sunday an all important dilemma is presented "whether we will secure stability or we will initiate a new cycle of adventures. The decision is no. No, because our work has new possibilities in Greece and for Greeks."

He said that the development of the Aegean islands is equivalent to the defensive upgrade of the borders.

He spoke in detail on the government's initiatives for the economic and social development on the islands, on such issues as communications, transport, tourist development and effective public administration.

The premier said that the govenrment secured 800 billion drachmas for infrastructure for the islands from the third community framework of the European Union, while 440 billion drachmas worth of infrastructure projects funded by the second community framework are in progress.

"We are taking measures and preparing with intense rythms for the changes in the shipping industry, in light of the end to cabotage," he added.

Karamanlis accuses PM of 'blackmailing voters'

Main oppostion New Democracy (ND) leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday said that his party guarantees the political stability, progress, development and the European prospect of Greece.

Speaking in light of the Sunday Euroelections, on the island of Rhodes, Mr. Karamanlis criticised Prime Minister Costas Simitis of blackmailing voters with dilemmas.

"Who is Mr. Simitis to place blackmailing dilemmas and from where and how does he claim the proverb of Louis XIV either me or chaos. Mr. Simitis is the prime minister of taxes, corruption of the state and retreats on national issues," Mr. Karamanlis said.

Meanwhile, in an interview to the Sunday edition of Athens daily "Apogevmatini", Mr. Karamanlis predicted that ND will win the Euroelections.

"Our goal is to be the first and the day after we will begin our effort, which will lead to victory in the national elections whenever those will be, " he said.

He added that in the Euroelections citizens get the chance to express their approval or disapproval for policies "but do not ignite, do not create political developments...the Euroelections can not change the government."

Tsovolas addresses central Athens rally

Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas said last night that voting for his party would mean "condemning the EU, the U.S. and big multinational capital."

Addressing a rally in central Athens, Mr. Tsovolas also attacked Prime Minister Simitis and the "new PASOK" for their "neo-liberal and anti- popular poilicies."

KKE leader says Yugoslav war smells of new world order

Communist Party of Greece (KKE) leader Aleka Papariga on Saturday criticised the government over its Yugoslav war policies and unemployment.

Speaking on the island of Corfu, northwestern Greece, in light of the Euroelections, Ms Papariga said that the war was not a local phenomenon and was not illogical, rather it had the logic of the new order of the imperialists and the logic of the Europe an Union.

Speaking in Thessaloniki yesterday, Ms Papariga called on voters not to vote for the two major parties, saying that her party's goal was "a broad alliance of the people" to resist NATO's and the EU's "plans to change existing borders."

Turkish premier criticises Europe, Greece after EU summit

Turkey criticised the European Union Saturday for using Greece as an excuse to block its entrance into the union, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said the EU had not lived up to Turkey's expectations at the EU summit in Cologne, Germany.

"The European Union is a very big organisation but it appears to have surrendered to Greece," Mr. Ecevit told reporters after meeting with President Suleyman Demirel.

"Either the European Union uses Greece as an excuse, or Greece uses the European Union against Turkey," Mr. Ecevit was quoted as saying by Anatolia. At the EU summit, which ended Friday, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder pressed the 15-member union to hold talks with Turkey on EU membership once it met its human rights conditions, but failed to convince his European partners. Germany currently holds the EU's rotating presidency. Turkey was excluded from EU enlargement talks in December 1997 because of its poor human rights record. Ankara has since put its relations with the union on hold.

Patriarch Vartholomeos winds up 15-day visit to Greece

Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos on Saturday concluded his first official visit to Greece departing for Istanbul from the Thessaloniki "Macedonia" airport. The patriarch was in Greece for 15 days.

Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos, Macedonia-Thrace Minister Yiannis Magriotis, Interior Deputy Minister Grigoris Niotis, local leaders and the military leadership accompanied the Orthodox prelate to the airport.

Mr. Vartholomeos' final message to the Greek people as well as all the peoples of the region before his departure was one of love, peace and hope.

He also thanked the Greek people and both the Greek Church and state leaderships for the hospitality they afforded to him during his stay.

Speaking on the relations between the Patriarchate and the Greek Church, Mr. Vartholomeos said "the bond was forged and the spiritual unity was shown," adding that his contact and talks with Mr. Christodoulos was "brotherly, honest and beneficial."

Mr. Vartholomeos, expressed his impressions of Greece via the words of late ecumenical patriach Athenagoras 35 years ago, saying "in order to feel what the Patriarchate is, you should come to the people, to mingle with them and feel its glory with the people, who feel deep inside the great, holy and sacred elements (of the faith)."

Earlier in the day, Mr. Vartholomeos visited the Macedonia-Thrace Journalists' Union (ESHEMTH) and was received by its president Dimitris Gousidis.

Athens gives Olympic flame to European youth

The ceremony for the lighting of the Flame of Athens for the Olympic Days of European Youth took place yesterday at the Pnix hill.

The flame was presented by Greek Olympic Committee President Lambis Nikolaou to the representatives of the games, which will take place in Denmark on July 10 to 16.

'Kurdistan in the shadow of history'

An exhibition of photographs depicting the history of Kurdish revolutions and efforts for the preservation of identity began on Saturday and will last until July 16 at the Hellenic-American Union buildIng in downtown Athens.

The "Kurdistan in the shadow of history" exhibition includes photographs and documents from private as well as institutional sources of the west.

Proscecutor orders arrest of former brokerage firm director

A Thessaloniki public prosecutor yesterday ordered the arrest of former director of the Alki Securities brokerage firm, Leonidas Tezapsidis, 39, on charges of fraud.

On Saturday, the prosecutor ordered an urgent preliminary investigation into reports of illegal trading at the brokerage firm in the northern city.

The investigation was ordered by Charalambos Vourliotis, head of the public prosecutor's office for first instance courts, who assigned the investigation to the financial crimes squad of Thessaloniki security police.

In his instructions to the police, Mr. Vourliotis requests that the inquiry be completed at the earliest and the findings submitted to his office within two days at the latest.

The Athens Stock Exchange was hit on Friday by media reports that a broker or brokers at the Thessaloniki branch of Alki Securities branch had allegedly been engaging in illegal trading practices which had created a shortfall of some 10 billion drachmas .

Stock Exchange chairman Stavros Kouniakis ordered a suspension of the firm's trading activities and asked for a detailed report on the matter by today.

Mr. Kouniakis said however that Alki Securities did not have any outstanding business with the stock market's depository.

Many of the firm's customers on Friday gathered outside the firm's offices in Thessaloniki awaiting news on the matter.

Later on Saturday, the head of the public prosecutor's office of the first instance courts of Athens, George Koliokostas, ordered an urgent investigation into the allegations that the multi-billion drachma scam on the Athens Stock Exchange had been part ly responsible for the 1.45 per cent fall in the general index on Friday.

Mr. Koliokostas assigned the investigation to prosecutor Dimitrios Asprogerakas who was instructed to take depositions from the chairman and administrative board of the Athens Stock Exchange, the members of the Capital Market Committee, the administrati on of the Securities Depository and the management of Alki Securities.

WEATHER

Sunny weather is forecast throughout the country today with cloud expected in the north towards evening. Winds northerly, light to moderate, turning strong in parts of the Aegean Sea. Sunny in Athens with temperatures ranging from 19-31C. Same Thessaloniki with few clouds and temperatures ranging from 17-30C.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE

Monday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          311.438
Pound sterling       501.258
Japanese yen (100)   255.549
French franc          48.998
German mark          164.334
Italian lira (100)    16.599
Irish Punt           408.104
Belgian franc          7.968
Luxembourg franc       7.968
Finnish mark          54.057
Dutch guilder        145.849
Danish kr.            43.273
Austrian sch.         23.358
Spanish peseta         1.931
Swedish kr.           36.049
Norwegian kr.         39.043
Swiss franc          202.284
Port. Escudo           1.603
Can. dollar          211.098
Aus. dollar          202.909
Cyprus pound         557.504
Euro                 321.408
(C.E.)
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