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Antenna: News in English, 99-04-29

Antenna News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Antenna <> - email:


  • [01] Papandreou-Moscow
  • [02] Papandreou-Le Monde
  • [03] Simitis-Tsochatzopoulos
  • [04] Karamanlis

  • [01] Papandreou-Moscow

    On Greek initiative, the foreign ministers of Greece, Russia, and Canada met with the UN secretary general to discuss the Kosovo crisis.

    Earlier in the day in Moscow, Greece's Giorgos Papandreou and Koffi Annan met one on one; sources say to examine the different aspects of the crisis and exchange views on how to break the deadlock and open the way toward a diplomatic resolution of the crisis.

    After meeting with UN secretary general Koffi Annan, Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou said a security council decision on Kosovo is the way to put an end to the crisis.

    In Moscow, Annan said the humanitarian crisis and the danger of the conflict spreading make it imperative that the international community work quickly to find a political solution.

    Sources say Papandreou presented the UN secretary general with a plan he'd outlined to Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanof when they met Wednesday night.

    That plan calls for the UN to issue identity papers to Kosovar refugees who've been stripped of their passports and other papers by the Yugoslav authorities.

    That, believes Greece, would greatly facilitate the process of repatriating the ethnic Albanians, which for Nato is one of the key issues that must be dealt with in any agreement eventually reached with Belgrade.

    Moscow has been at the centre of a flurry of diplomatic activity this week. There have not only been the contacts in the Russian capital, but Russian Yugoslav envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin's trip Thursday to Germany, Italy, and Yugoslavia, to meet with the Yugoslav president.

    Western government's warn that no one should expect a diplomatic solution soon. Washington points out that the deal Russia is trying to put together, which would have Nato end its bombing first, then have the Yugoslav forces pull out of Kosovo and a UN-led peacekeeping force enter the province, is far away from the alliance's demands.

    Nato says the Serbs must start pulling their forces out of Kosovo before Nato bombing stops. Nato also says that any peacekeeping force must be Nato- led.

    Belgrade says though, that Nato nations cannot take part in any peacekeeping mission to Kosovo.

    [02] Papandreou-Le Monde

    In an interview with the French daily Le Monde, Giorgos Papandreou says there's nothing inconsistent with being opposed to both Slobodan Milosevic and the Nato bombing campaign.

    Citing what he sees as a "new flexibility" in both Belgrade and Nato, the Greek foreign minister adds that the Serbs are no longer opposed to an international "implementation force" in Kosovo, while in Nato there's now discussion of such a force being United Nations-led although it has a Nato core.

    Papandreou once again rules out any chance of Greece taking part in eventual Nato ground operations in Yugoslavia.

    But Greece wold be open to taking part in a peacekeeping force once an agreement is reached with Belgrade.

    [03] Simitis-Tsochatzopoulos

    The war and Greece's armaments acquistion plans were the topics discussed by the prime minister and the defence minister Thursday.

    The government is expected to make a decision on whether to buy the American F-15 or F-16 Friday.

    The price tag for the plane purchase is anticipated to be in the neighborhood of 4 billion dollars.

    After the meeting, defence minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos expressed guarded optimism that a political solution will be found to the Kosovo crisis.

    [04] Karamanlis

    The leader of New Democracy has renewed his call for Greece not to participate, not even indirectly, in eventual Nato ground assaults on Yugoslavia.

    Kostas Karamanlis made the comment during a press conference in Athens.

    Karamanlis lambasted the government for its position during the Kosovo crisis - "when we whisper, no one pays any attention to us", he said, expressing his view that the government hasn't made Greek views heard loudly enough in other Nato capitals.

    The opposition leader repeated his call for a meeting of the country's party leaders under the aegis of the president, so a unified national position on how the crisis should be handled as it unfolds can be worked out.

    Calling the criticism insubstantive, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Karamanlis's press conference showed the New Democracy leader doesn't have an alternative policy on the Kosovo crisis to offer.

    (c) Antenna 1999

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