|Thursday, 29 February 2024
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-04-05
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
 NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia continues unabatedThere appears to be no end in sight for the storm of war which NATO has unleashed on Yugoslavia. According to foreign newsagency reports, the NATO planes are bombing mainly Belgrade and Novisad. So far, there have been no announcements in relation to possible victims of last night's bombardments.
Washington and the major European powers are attempting to show that they are in control of the situation in the Balkans which are at risk of destabilisation, as the exodus of refugees from Kosovo has taken on biblical proportions since NATO's airforce began bombing Yugoslavia. In the meantime, 2,000 soldiers and 24 Apache helicopters, specialising in the assault of land regions and of armoured vehicles have been sent by the United States to Albania, in order to assist in NATO operations against Yugoslavia. The deployment of the Apaches in no way indicates the first step of land operations in Kosovo, stated an American Pentagon spokesman yesterday.
 EU foreign ministers to discuss Kosovo on ThursdayThe recent developments in the Kosovo crisis and its possible repercussions will be discussed by the European Union foreign ministers at an emergency meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg on Thursday.
French foreign minister Hubert Vedrine stated yesterday that he does not foresee the Kosovo crisis spreading to a larger confrontation because, he claimed, Yugoslavia has no defenders, Russia included.
Mr Vedrine underlined that Russia is a member of the contact group which is trying to find a peaceful solution for Kosovo and it disagreed with the other members only on the issue of the air raids.
 Greece will serve its national interests says spokesmanIn Athens, following yesterday's meeting of the Government Council of Foreign Affairs and Defence, which lasted several hours, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated that Greece would be present wherever it was deemed necessary, in order to serve its national interests, thus responding to the possibility of its participation in the NATO force to be deployed in Albania.
He added that Greece is prepared to receive a small number of refugees--not exceeding 5,000 -- which will be the subject of negotiations at meetings of the EU ministers of foreign and of internal affairs.
In addition, Greece will provide two aircraft for the transport of refugees from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to various European countries.
 EU, US, Turkey agree to take some Kosovar refugeesEuropean Union countries will take a total of over 100,000 refugees, announced the German presidency yesterday, while about 20,000 are expected to go to the United States and a similar number to Turkey.
Albania has indicated willingness to receive up to 100,000 Kossovar refugees, now waiting at the FYROM borders, on the provision that the international community will provide funds for their upkeep.
Already, scores of thousands of exhausted refugees are patiently waiting at the Kosovo and FYROM borders for the arrival of planes to transport them to their foster countries.
Meanwhile, Greece and Turkey are to submit a joint proposal to NATO for a proportional distribution of the refugees. This was agreed, according to reliable sources, during yesterday's telephone exchange between the Greek foreign minister and his Turkish counterpart Ismail Gem.
 Papandreou-Talbott meeting on KosovoForeign minister George Papandreou and the American Deputy Secretary of State, Strobe Talbott, have met in Athens this morning to discuss the Kosovo crisis and Greek-Turkish relations. Mr Talbott arrived in Athens last night from Skopje.
 Greek defence minister defends statements on YugoslaviaNational Defence Minister Akis Tsochadzopoulos claimed yesterday evening that the positions he formulated recently on the Kosovo crisis safeguard the interests of Greece and other Balkan nations, responding to criticisms of his statements regarding the policies implemented in Kosovo by Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic. Greece, Mr Tsochadzopoulos emphasised, must not become a part of the Kosovo problem.
 Opposition parties warn, make proposals on Kosovo crisisIn view of the crisis in Yugoslavia, opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis yesterday called for the establishment of a national foreign policy council. In the meantime, Coalition of the Left leader Nikos Constantopoulos, addressing the party's central committee, asserted that the only solution for an end to the war in Yugoslavia, would be broad autonomy for Kosovo, within the borders of today's Yugoslavia.
 Mr Constantopoulos is scheduled to depart today for visits to Sofia and Belgrade.The central committee of the Greek Communist Party also discussed the recent developments in the Balkans and warned that there was a real danger of the war spreading to the broader region. At the same time, it urged the government not to sent Greek troops outside the country's borders.
 Thessaloniki sends medical supplies to YugoslaviaA consignment of pharmaceutical and medical supplies from Thessaloniki for the victims of NATO aerial attacks on Yugoslavia is expected to leave for Belgrade tomorrow. A spokesman for the city's Aghios Dimitrios hospital said yesterday that considerable private donations have been forthcoming, while all Thessaloniki hospitals have agreed to provide quantities of medicine and hospital supplies. Aid groups in the northern Greek capital are also gathering food and clothing for bombarded Yugoslavs. To supplies gathered will be added 12.5 tonnes of food and clothing collected by the people of Samos island, arriving in Thessaloniki this week.
Yesterday, the Thessaloniki Medical Association said it was organising volunteer groups of doctors and nurses to provide help for the victims of NATO's undeclared war on Yugoslavia. A spokesman for the association said 15-strong groups sent to Yugoslavia would include surgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, heart surgeons, nurses and stretcher-bearers.
 Nicosia continues initiatives in the Cyprus issueAmerican diplonacy is fully prepared for the resumption of negotiations on the Cyprus issue, while Nicosia is taking action with two main objectives: firstly that the EU admission negotiations continue unobstructed and secondly, to clarify to all concerned that the Cypriot government is ready to attend negotiations with the Turkish-Cypriots, when an appropriate invitation is extended.
As regards the admission procedure, next Tuesday' meeting in Athens is considered important, between Cypriot Foreign Minister Yiannakis Kasoulides and the Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis.