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Athens News Agency: News in English, 00-06-16
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From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>
 Greece should not follow policy of isolation, FM says16/06/2000 22:03:50
Foreign Minister George Papandreou said on Friday Greece should continuously seek positions in the complicated and changing environment of modern-day international reality, adding that Greece's international presence is not a policy of isolationism.
Papandreou was speaking at a conference organised by the National Bank of Greece on "EMU-Greece in Europe-The start of a new challenge."
Addresses were also made by main opposition New Democracy party Deputy Dora Bakoyianni and Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Deputy Orestis Kolozov.
"We do not support heroic inertia and a denouncing policy. We cannot remain there. We should continuously seek positions in the complicated and changing environment of modern-day international reality," Papandreou said. "Greece's international presence is not a policy of isolationism. It is based on principles such as respect for international law and protection for human rights. In parallel, it seeks ways of modern expression which are not covered by classical diplomacy."
 British minister - terrorism - Saunders16/06/2000 20:33:10
British Minister of State and of the Foreign Commonwealth Office Peter Hain on Friday told reporters that British authorities were satisfied with the way Greek police were cooperating with a Scotland Yard counter-terrorism team. Hain was in Athens to attend the memorial service for slain British defence attache Brig. Stephen Saunders.
Two assassins riding a motorcycle gunned down Saunders last week on a congested Athens highway, as he was driving alone in morning rush hour traffic. The elusive ?November 17? terrorist group claimed responsibility the next day amid an avalanche of condemnation from within Greece and abroad.
Hain said that he had had an "excellent meeting" with Foreign Minister George Papandreou earlier on Friday, with whom he had discussed ways in which Britain and Greece could work together to combat terrorism.
The British minister also expressed satisfaction over the degree of cooperation at governmental level, saying that British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and Papandreou were working together very closely and would be meeting on Sunday prior to the start of the EU summit in Feira, Portugal, as would Prime Minister Costas Simitis and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Commenting on the problem of terrorism, Hain said that it was an issue of the "highest importance" for Europe and he said that Greece and Britain would work together both in solving this latest hit by "November 17" and in dealing with the problem generally.
 Turkey-Greece-Mayors16/06/2000 20:24:17
ISTANBUL (ANA - A. Kourkoulas) - Greek and Turkish mayors and prefects will meet on the island of Marmara on Saturday, within the framework of the European Pact on Inter-border Cooperation of Local and Regional Authorities.
Transport and environmental issues between the two nations will be discussed at the two-day meeting.
 Israel - Cyprus - Firefighting planes16/06/2000 18:40:18
Israel responded to a request by the Cypriot government on Thursday for assistance in extinguishing several major forest fires raging near Nicosia, the island republic's capital.
According to a press release by the Israeli embassy in Athens on Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak ordered Israeli Defence Forces to dispatch firefighting aircraft to Cyprus. Two ?Yasur? helicopters and one ?Karnaf? plane were subsequently ordered to nearby Cyprus.
 Foreign Exchange Rates-Monday16/06/2000 18:39:25
Following are indicative rates for commercial banks released by the central bank for the next working day.
Mondays rates (buying)
U.S. dollar 348.728
German mark 170.775
 Patriarch - Orthodox - Youth - Conference16/06/2000 18:30:41
ISTANBUL (ANA A. Kourkoulas) Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos will inaugurate an international conference here of Orthodox youth this month on the issue of ?Young People in the Church of the Third Millennium?.
The conference is set to take place between June 18-25.
Issues such as expatriates native language, challenges for the next millennium, drug abuse, AIDS, the environment, unemployment and human rights, among others.
 Weather Forecast-Saturday16/06/2000 18:23:46
Scattered cloud is forecast for Saturday, turning to showers or storms in the Ionian, mainland Greece and islands in the northern and eastern Aegean. The weather will improve later in the day.
 Greece-EMU-seminar16/06/2000 17:02:34
Bank of Greece's governor, Lucas Papademos, on Friday urged for a restraint in the country's incomes and inflation policies, aimed to strengthen economic competitiveness after the adoption of the euro currency.
Addressing a seminar on Greece's participation in the euro zone, organised by the National Bank of Greece, the central banker said that the inflation rate would not diverge significantly and systematically for a long time period from the euro zone's average rate.
Papademos noted that it was necessary for businessmen and workers to acknowledge the need for restraint in their billing policy and their demands, respectively.
Yiannis Stournaras, the government's chief economic adviser, said that Greece's economic growth rates could total 5.5 percent in the next 15 years, based on a growth target of 3.0 percent set in a special EU summit in Lisbon until the year 2015.
"These growth rates can be achieved through an average annual increase in employment by 2.0 percent and an average annual productivity rise of 3.5 percent," Stournaras said.
ND deputy, George Alogoskoufis, stressed the need for the country's real convergence with the rest of the euro zone.
National Bank of Greece's governor, Theodore Karatzas, said that the introduction of the euro currency was creating a new economic area in the Europe, characterised by increased transparency in consumer choices, higher demands in production procedure and wider liquidity in capital markets.
 Bond auction-announcement16/06/2000 16:23:26
Greece's Public Debt Management Organisation will auction a 10-year state bond issue, worth 220 billion drachmas, next Tuesday, June 20.
The bond pays an annual coupon of 6.0 percent and has a settlement date of Friday, 23, June, 2000.
 ASE-close16/06/2000 16:17:42
Equity prices ended the last trading session of the week with moderate losses on Friday, reversing a two-day advance, in subdued turnover.
Dealers said investors largely ignored a decision by Moody's Investor Service to upgrade the country creditworthness to the ceiling of the 11 member-states of the euro.
Analysts said the market was reluctant to push above the 4,400 level due to lack of fresh capital in the market.
The general index ended at 4,369.16 points, off 0.54 percent with turnover at 107.3 billion drachmas.
The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks ended at 2,422.03 points, off 0.11 percent and the FTSE/ASE 40 index dropped 1.02 percent to 635.84 points.
The parallel market index for smaller capitalisation stocks ended at 897.69 points, off 2.07 percent.
 Papantoniou-economic policy16/06/2000 16:06:14
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou on Friday outlined the government's policy after the country's entry in the euro zone.
Addressing a seminar on Greece's EMU membership at the Zappeion Hall in Athens, Papantoniou said the government had four main targets for the day after the country's entry in the euro zone.
"Our first target is a drastic cut in the country's public debt to 60 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). The second, is to maintain growth rates of at least 5.0 percent and to create the conditions of full employment for the country's workforce. The third, is the restructuring of the economy based on competition and to contain the public sector to the education, health, welfare, culture, environment, defence and public safety services. The fourth, is to create a society of cohesion and fraternity," he said.
"Achieving these targets will be the greatest challenge of the decade and it will need all our efforts," Papantoniou noted.
Referring to the country's benefits from its participation in the euro zone, Papantoniou said it would not be just economic but mostly political. "The euro zone countries will be the core of a new architecture and it is important for our to be in that core," he said.
"Participating in the Euro-12, the economic government of the euro zone, demonstrates the country's new upgraded role. It ensures our negotiating position on big national issues and supports speedier initiatives in the Balkans and the Black Sea region. Greece's positions are even more significant now. We are more efficient in protecting our interests. In a medium-term prospect we will be able to reduce our huge defence spending to promote social and growth targets. Participating in the euro currency is a security investment for the country," he said.
"Greece, as the prime minister has said, is not part of a the problem in the region, but part of its solution. Turkey, since 1974 is a constant provocation to our territorial integrity. It is in our best interest, though, that our neighbour changes its aggressive habits of the past and to adopt the strict European criteria for the respect of human rights and political freedom. Turkey's transformation will be in the best interest for the rest of Europe and mainly for the Turkish people".
"We are creating a new Greece. A Greece of development, full employment, cohesion and fraternity. Today, we have, or we have conquered, increased credibility. We are setting new high targets that we will achieve. The Greek society is actively supporting this new national effort. We will continue the steady road forward, with new prospects for the country and the people," Papantoniou noted.
 Memorial - British - Attache - Athens16/06/2000 14:52:18
A memorial service was held on Friday in Athens for the slain British defence attache to Greece, a somber event attended by several top Cabinet members and British minister Peter Hain.
Two assassins riding a motorcycle gunned down Brig. Stephen Saunders down last week on a congested Athens highway, as he was driving alone in morning rush hour traffic. The elusive ?November 17? terrorist group claimed responsibility the next day amid an avalanche of condemnation from within Greece and abroad.
The service was held at the Greek capitals Agios Dionysios Cathedral, with eulogies delivered by Greek Alternate Defence Minister Dimitris Apostolakis, Church of England Bishop in Europe John Hind and the British embassys naval attach.
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