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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-06-22

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 22/06/1999 (ANA)


  • 82-billion-drachma defence contract signed
  • Greece welcomes G8 interest over Cyprus
  • Government promises tax relief
  • Former PM calls for more work on terrorism
  • Weak tremor no cause for concern
  • Judicial probe dampens investor sentiment
  • Weather
  • Foreign Exchange


82-billion-drachma defence contract signed

A defence contract was signed on Tuesday for the procurement of eleven new Crotale short-range anti-aircraft systems for the Hellenic Air Force and Navy at a cost of nearly 82 billion drachmas. The contract was signed in the presence of National Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos by the general director for armaments of the defence ministry, Yiannis Sbokos, and Marc Veron, the representative of Thomson S.A., the French manufacturer of the anti-aircraft system. The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) gave its final approval for the procurement in mid-February within the framework of an ongoing multi-million dollar armaments programme.

Greece welcomes G8 interest over Cyprus

Greece on Tuesday welcomed the G8's intention to involve itself in the Cyprus issue as an "encouraging" move. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said the international community's activity could bring a solution to the issue, provided all initiatives operated within the framework of United Nations decisions. Reppas called the Turkish stance on the issue "negative" and noted that Ankara "wants to keep Cyprus hostage". "I hope the international community will not tolerate this situation," he said. "If Turkey does not respond to these initiatives, it will be a country that moves outside the realm of international legality." He stressed again that all activity had to move within the realm of the UN Security Council decisions.

Government promises tax relief

Taxpayers may look forward to an easing of the tax burden next year, National Economy and Finance Minister Yannos Papantoniou said today, adding that a series of tax breaks for the lower and medium income brackets announced some five months ago had been incorporated in a tax bill due to be tabled soon in parliament. Papantoniou told reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, during which they reviewed the course of the economy, that he had briefed the premier on the basic economic indicators as well as on the course of the social dialogue and tax issues.

Former PM calls for more work on terrorism

Main opposition New Democracy party honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis today urged the government to put top priority on combatting terrorism. Mitsotakis, a former prime minister, said the problem of terrorism continued to plague Greece and that Greece should be willing to collaborate in this direction with all countries, without exception. "Our country has no reason to reject the Turkish proposal for a cooperation pact between the two countries on matters of terrorism," Mitsotakis said.Replying later to reporters' questions about Mitsotakis's statements, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said that any concrete results between Greece and Turkey on issues of bilateral cooperation had to be accompanied by a spirit of good neighbourliness and friendship from both sides. To date, he said, only Greece has displayed this spirit.

Weak tremor no cause for concern

Seismologists said the earthquake measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale recorded early Tuesday morning was an isolated phenomenon which created no cause for concern. The quake was recorded at 1.34 a.m. local time. Its epicentre was approximately 10 kilometres south-southeast of the city of Thessaloniki between Thermi and Panorama. Seismologist Manolis Skodrilis told the ANA that the area was being constantly monitored and had not produced any strong tremor since the beginning of the century. A weak quake, measuring 3.9 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the same area in May 1996.

Judicial probe dampens investor sentiment

Equity prices ended substantially lower on Tuesday hit by news that the public prosecutor of the first instance court ordered a probe over illegal trading in bubble stocks. The general index ended 1.28 percent down at 3, 950.62 points, reflecting losses in blue chips stocks. Turnover was 161.234 billion drachmas with 31,257,639 shares changing hands. The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks surged 1.02 percent while the FTSE/ASE 20 index for heavy traded stocks and blue chips fell 1.83 percent to 2,318.48 points.


Partly cloudy weather will prevail throughout the country today with scattered showers in mainland Greece, the Ionian Sea and the northern and eastern Aegean Sea. Winds westerly, northwesterly, moderate to strong. Possibility of showers in Athens with temperatures between 20-31C. Same in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 20-27C.


Tuesday's rates (buying)
U.S. dollar          310.992
Pound sterling       495.048
Japanese yen (100)   254.458
French franc          49.110
German mark          164.709
Italian lira (100)    16.637
Irish Punt           409.036
Belgian franc          7.986
Finnish mark          54.180
Dutch guilder        146.182
Danish kr.            43.358
Austrian sch.         23.411
Spanish peseta         1.936
Swedish kr.           36.789
Norwegian kr.         39.710
Swiss franc          201.594
Port. Escudo           1.607
Can. dollar          212.348
Aus. dollar          203.162
Cyprus pound         556.512
Euro                 322.142
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