|Thursday, 29 February 2024
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-03-24
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
 Greece preparing for wave of refugees from KosovoAs the crisis over Kosovo deepens and the clouds of war loom heavily over Yugoslavia, NATO intervention in the region is expected at any moment.
The Greek foreign ministry announced yesterday that the government had taken all the necessary steps, in agreement with the Yugoslav authorities, for the safe evacuation of all Greek citizens currently in Yugoslavia.
Meanwhile the Greek armed forces are in a state of alert in view of the crisis in Kosovo. For several days now, as tension in the area has increased, border patrols have been stepped up, especially along the border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
At the same time old military camps belonging to the armed forces have been placed in readiness in the prefectures adjacent to the border to accommodate refugees from Kosovo. Responsibility for the coordination of the camps lies with the ministries of the interior, public order and health, as well as with local municipalities.
 Defence minister returns from LondonBecause of the dramatic developments in Yugoslavia, the Greek national defence minister, Akis Tsohatzopoulos, is flying back to Athens this morning from London, where he had talks on the crisis in Kosovo with his British counterpart, George Robertson, yesterday.
At a joint press conference afterwards, the two ministers expressed grave concern over the latest developments in this part of the Balkans. Mr Tsohatzopoulos outlined his fears regarding the possibility of a large wave of refugees from Kosovo seeking to enter Greece and again underlined that NATO's political and military forces should exhaust all possible ways of finding a diplomatic solution for Kosovo.
The two defence ministers also discussed bilateral relations, which they agreed were at a very good level, as well as issues related to the next NATO summit. The supply of military equipment to the Greek armed forces was discussed in greater detail with the British defence undersecretary, Douglas Henderson.
 Greece will not participate in NATO military operationsEarlier, speaking on the American television channel CNN, Mr Tsohatzopoulos said Greece would not participate in the NATO military operations, echoing an earlier statement made by the foreign minister, Giorgos Papandreou.
Mr Papandreou briefed the presidents of the New Democracy party and the Coalition by telephone yesterday on developments in the region, and said that according to all indications the situation had now reached total deadlock.
 EU leaders meet in BerlinIn the shadow of the dramatic developments, the 15 leaders of the European Union member states convene in Berlin today to discuss the Agenda 2000 and the appointment of the European Commission's new president.
Also taking part in the session are the foreign and economics ministers. The summit is expected to discuss the Kosovo crisis as well.
Greek national economy minister Yannos Papantoniou, who is accompanying prime minister Kostas Simitis, said Greece would engage in battle over the Agenda 2000. He said Greece was determined to exercise a veto in order to receive the funds necessary for its development programme.
 Outgoing PASOK secretary satisfied with party congressSpeaking at a press conference yesterday, outgoing PASOK secretary Kostas Skandalidis expressed his satisfaction and that of the prime minister, Kostas Simitis, over the outcome of the 5th PASOK congress. He underlined that the congress had ratified the party's political leadership and had been wise in its choice of new central committee members.
He also said the 5th congress had been a turning point and new beginning for PASOK and stressed that from now on the party would concentrate on winning the Euro-elections and facing the country's major problems.
Mr Skandalidis indicated indirectly but clearly his wish to be re-elected as secretary of the central committee, though he conceded that this was a decision for the president and the members of the central committee.
 President of New York Stock Exchange praises Greek economyThe president of the New York Stock Exchange, William Jonston, made favourable references to the course of the Greek economy in a speech he delivered at a conference in Manhattan on Monday. He said Greece could play a leading role in world markets and spoke of rapid growth rates and a drop in inflation.
At the same time, he predicted that other Greek companies and banks would follow in the path of the Greek Telecommunications Organisation, OTE, in entering the New York Stock Exchange.
 Greek 25th March National Day celebrationsGreece is preparing to celebrate its national 25th March holiday tomorrow with the customary military parade in central Athens in the presence of the president of the republic, Kostis Stefanopoulos.
The anniversary of Greece's independence will also be celebrated in Montreal and Toronto, where the Greek government will be represented by members of the inter-party parliamentary committee of Greeks living abroad.
 Ionian Bank not to dismiss employees after saleThe Commercial Bank of Greece has told banking union representatives that the contract for the sale of the Ionian Bank will include a clause safeguarding the continuing employment and social security benefits of Ionian Bank employees.
 Public Power Corporation shares to be floated soonIn an interview published in yesterday's edition of the newspaper To Vima, the development minister, Evangelos Venizelos, said the government was planning to float a package of shares of the Public Power Corporation, DEI, on the Greek stock market and also set up new plants in Attica in a effort to reduce unemployment.
 Culture minister inaugurates museum on Mytilene islandCulture minister Elisavet Papazoi yesterday inaugurated the permanent exhibition of the Mytilene Museum.
During the opening ceremony, the minister disclosed that in June she would also inaugurate the Museum of Chios which has remained closed for the past 15 years.