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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-04-08

The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <>


  • [01] Kyprianou's hope for the release of three US soldiers
  • [02] First Kosovo refugees expected in Greece on Saturday
  • [03] OECD's concern about refugees
  • [04] Tsochatzopoulos met with archbishop Christodoulos
  • [05] US does not wish for any change of the borders
  • [06] Economy shows staying power in Kosovo crisis

  • [01] Kyprianou's hope for the release of three US soldiers

    Despite the fact that the NATO attacks are continuing, the deliberations for the release of the three American soldiers reach a peak.

    Following a greek-cypriot mediation, the Serb president Slobodan Milosevic in good will gesture agreed to release the three American soldiers.

    The president of the Cyprus Parliament Spyros Kyprianou who arrived in Athens yesterday in his statements stressed that he had great hope that the three Americans would be released and he was just waiting for the green light in order to fly to Belgrade.

    Mr. Kyprianou added that it was a personal initiative of humanitarian character and he did not want to get involved in any political initiative. He also said that raids should stop while this development was under way.

    White House officials reacted to Mr. Kyprianou's initiative. White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said that the release of the three Americans will not bring about any change to NATO attacks.

    Foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou described the Serb President's move as a good will gesture and a further step for rapprochment.

    In Washington, advisor on national security Sabdy Berger expressed reservations regarding president Milosevic's new move but stressed that he would hail his decision when materialised.

    In Brussels, a NATO representative stated that the Alliance would not agree to any terms set by Mr. Milosevic in return to the release of the three American soldiers.

    Russian president Boris Yeltsin also took a stand in favour of a ceasefire, while he made a number of proposals on political solutions to the Kosovo crisis to Western leaders.

    Athens is in favour of Mr. Milosevic's proposal for a unilateral ceasefire during the Easter holidays despite NATO's, the US and Britain's opposite stand which sped to turn the proposal down.

    Greek prime minister Costas Simitis has described the Serb President's proposal as the first step for a peaceful solution, adding however that he would have to make clarifications and guarantee the unhampered return of refugees to their homes.

    NATO's response to the latest developments has been a new barage of air raids and missile attacks against Yugoslavia, saying it rejected the truce declared by President Milosevic as "insufficient".

    Meanwhile early this morning NATO bombarded several targets in the center of Belgrade.

    [02] First Kosovo refugees expected in Greece on Saturday

    The competent ministers of the EU member-states did not come to an agreement during their meeting in Luxemburg regarding the refugees issue. Some member-states were not willing to absorb sufficient number of refugees. Public Order minister Michalis Chrisochoidis took part in the meeting on behalf of the Greek goverment who stressed that a common decision should be adopted and that under these circumstances Greece could aceept any refugees.

    Earlier Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou visited Skopje for contacts with the country's political leadership. Mr. Papandreou also visited refugee camps and from there flew to Tirana and next he will go to louxembourg to take part in the EU Foreign Ministers Council.

    From Skopje, Mr. Papandreou has said some 5,000 Kosovar refugees that Greece has decided to host will begin arriving from the FYROM on Saturday.

    [03] OECD's concern about refugees

    The OECD expressed yesterday his concern as regards the future of the Kosovar refugees who returned to Kosovo following Belgrade's decision to close the Yugoslav borders with Albania and Skopje.

    Meanwhile there are already 20 thousand refugees in koritsa while the number of kosovar refugees in South Albania is over 35 thousand. According to official reports there are about 160 thousand refugees in northern Albania.

    [04] Tsochatzopoulos met with archbishop Christodoulos

    Following his meeting with archbishop Christodoulos, the National Defence minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos expressed his optimism about an increse in the number of initiatives for the solution of the Kosovo crisis.

    Referring to Mr. Milocevic's two proposals, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos said that although they are the first step for a solution to the Kosovo crisis, they were not enough and that more proposals should be made.

    The National Defence minister briefed Mr. Christodoulos on the existing situation and referred to the possible dangers that might be caused by a possible extension of the crisis if no solution was found in the near future. At the same time Mr. Tsochatzopoulos put the Greek army forces at the disposal of the Greek church for the transfer of humanitarian aid to the refugees.

    For his part, Archbishop Christodoulos described Mr. Milocevic's proposals as positive and wished for a quick solution to the Kosovo crisis.

    He also added that the Greek church will continue its dispatch of humanitarian aid to all refugees.

    [05] US does not wish for any change of the borders

    In his meeting with the Greek Development minister Evagelos Venizelos yesterday, the American amassador in Greece Nicholas Burns assured Mr. Venizelos that the United States does not wish for any change of the borders in the Balkans, adding that his country and Greece were in cooperation. He added that he aknowledged Greece's uniqueness for its access to Serbia.

    He also said that since Mr. Milocevic's proposals were not serious they were not accepted by NATO. Finally he said that NATO proposed for the monitoring of the region by International forces, the return of the refugees to Kosovo and the ceasing of the genocide by the Serbs.

    [06] Economy shows staying power in Kosovo crisis

    Following a meeting with the Governor of the Bank of Greece Lucas Papademos, which was chaired by the Greek Prime minister Costas simitis, the National Economy minister Yiannos Papantoniou referred to the positive course of the Greek economy despite the crisis in Kosovo. The meeting was held at the Maximos Mansion yesterday. He aslo added that no problems should be expected, since an improvement is being expected.

    Referring to inflation, which in March was 3,4%, he called for once more all businesses to keep their agreement for freezing prices.

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