In Brief

Greek-Italian-Turkish pipeline deal to be signed by end-July Within the next 10 days, Greece, Italy and Turkey will sign an interstate agreement for the construction of an undersea natural gas pipeline, as all problems have been resolved, according to sources. The pipeline will supply Greece with 2.8 million cubic meters of gas, while another 8.8 mcb will end up at Otranto, Italy. Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas traveled to Rome to sign the agreement for Greece. The Turkey-Greece section is already complete and its official opening will take place between August 16-26, Sioufas has announced. Ministers discuss progress of tourism privatizations Economy and Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis met yesterday with Tourism Development Minister Fanni Palli-Petralia and discussed the course of privatizations implemented in the sector of tourism and the operation of the Tourism Development Company (ETA). The two ministers also focused on the issue of extending the licenses of casinos, from which the government expects to rake in about 430 million euros within 2007. Alogoskoufis also met yesterday with Deputy Sports Minister Giorgos Orfanos. Turkish June results Turkish June budget results are in line with government targets and the delayed figures will be announced in the middle of next week, a Finance Ministry official said yesterday. Budget results had been expected this week but were delayed due to a financial holiday. «The figures (for June) are consistent with the targets, and good,» the official told Reuters. In June 2006, the budget ran a 2.188-billion-lira ($1.72 billion) surplus and 4.931-billion-lira primary surplus, which excludes interest payments. Turkey targets a 16.83-billion-lira budget deficit and a 36.116-billion-lira primary surplus this year. (Reuters) Cypriot airport row over A row about increased service fees at Cyprus’s airports which threatened to leave thousands of tourists stranded has been settled, the island’s private airports operator said on Thursday. «We have been able to reach a financial settlement with the airlines in question,» Jenni Fernando, marketing manager of Hermes Airports, told AFP. «We are not anticipating any further action on our part… the situation has been resolved.» The International Air Carrier Association (IACA) had said Hermes was threatening to withdraw ground-handling services indefinitely if the airlines failed to settle outstanding debts totaling 2.5 million euros. (AFP) Albanian energy The energy crisis in Tirana and other major cities in Albania is worsening, as electricity supply is usually interrupted for period between six and 10 hours every day. «The situation is at a critical point,» said Energy Minister Genc Ruli, «as water reserves in the hydroelectric plants are reduced every day due to the lack of rainfall.» Referring to the heat wave and the drought in the Balkans, Prime Minister Sali Berisha told parliament that «the critical situation in our region does not favor the import of electrical energy from neighboring countries.»

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