|Sunday, 26 March 2023|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-04-20
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From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
 NATO planes continue air strikes against YugoslaviaEarly this morning, NATO bombers hit the suburbs of Nis, killing a civilian and wounding eight more, Yugoslav state TV announced. Shortly before midnight, NATO planes bombed a ground satellite station in the city of Ivanica in central Serbia.
Meanwhile, hundreds of American paratroopers of the 82nd airborne division have been deployed in Albania to protect the 24 Apache helicopters that are expected to arrive there today. For his part, NATO secretary general Javier Solana has stated that the Apache helicopters would get into action early next week.
 UN secretary general undertakes diplomatic initiativeUN secretary general Kofi Annan yesterday announced the undertaking of a diplomatic initiative for Kosovo. Greek Radio correspondent Dimitris Filios has reported that the UN Security Council has authorized Mr Annan to visit Moscow and Bonn in an effort to find a peaceful solution. Mr Annan also announced that a special UN envoy for the Yugoslav issue would be appointed shortly.
 Greek prime minister meets with Kofi AnnanEarlier, the UN secretary general had met in New York with visiting Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis, who reiterated Greece's position that the problem could not be resolved only through military means, but that diplomatic initiatives were required as well.
The Greek prime minister also said that the prolongation of the crisis would lead to even more difficult and complicated problems and stressed that Greece supported a peaceful settlement and was against the continuation of the war.
 Russia to stay out of conflict but China urges end to warIn the meantime, in a telephone conversation with American President Bill Clinton yesterday, Russian president Boris Yeltsin said that Moscow would not get involved in the Kosovo conflict and called for an end to the military operations.
China has once again called for an immediate cessation of NATO bombings in Yugoslavia, adding it was opposed to any settlement of the Kosovo crisis that would be imposed on Belgrade by force.
 Greek defence minister reiterates Greece will not participateDespite the current diplomatic initiatives, various scenarios on a possible ground operation in Kosovo have not been ruled out.
Greek national defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, replying to a question on a possible NATO demand for the passage of military forces through Greece, said that such a request would be either approved or rejected by political decision of the Greek government. He underlined, however, Greece's stand not to participate in war operations.
Mr Tsohatzopoulos' statements are preparing the ground for Greece's participation in NATO ground operations, the Greek Communist Party stressed.
 Plans on oil embargo to be imposed on SerbiaNATO and the EU are making plans to impose an oil embargo on Serbia, in an effort to exert more pressure on Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic. The issue is to be discussed today by the Political Committee of the EU, while Greece and Italy have expressed their objection to such a move, claiming that there is no legal coverage to secure the implementation of the oil embargo.
 Foreign minister briefs officials on Greek initiativeForeign minister Yorgos Papandreou last night had telephone contacts with UN secretary general Kofi Annan, German foreign minister Joschka Fischer and EU commissioner Emma Bonino.
Mr Papandreou briefed Mr Annan on Greece's initiative to send humanitarian aid to Kosovo. Mr Annan praised the move, which -- he said--would be backed by the UN organization as well.
Speaking with his German counterpart, Mr Papandreou outlined the proposals he will bring forward at the NATO summit and briefed him on the outcome of the informal meeting of Balkan states' representatives, which was held in Athens yesterday, on the issue of the reconstruction of the Balkans.
Earlier, in statements, the Greek foreign minister had analyzed the main points of the Greek initiative. Referring to the scenarios about ground operations in Kosovo, he said the climate was not positive for such a move, although there were a lot of rumours on the issue.
Finally, he expressed a different stand on the issue of extending the embargo on Yugoslavia. "It could have been a last move before the bombings or a second phase move accompanied by a diplomatic initiative", Mr Papandreou said.
 Patriarch Alexei of Russia visits BelgradeThe head of the Russian Orthodox Church, patriarch Alexei the second, arrived in Belgrade today to pray for peace and probably promote a plan for and end to the Yugoslav crisis.
The patriarch of Russia said it was important that the tragedy which cost the lives of people, destroyed the country's infrastructure and was causing waves of Serb and Albanian refugees should stop.
Patriarch Alexei is to meet Serbian Patriarch Paul and have talks with Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic. He is to discuss with president Milosevic the idea of demilitarizing Kosovo which would allow for the resumption of peace talks with the international community.
Patriarch Alexei is also expected to call for an immediate end to NATO bombings and the withdrawal from Kosovo of both Serbian forces and the guerillas of the Kosovo Liberation Army. He is to return to Moscow tonight.
 No sign of increased radioactivity in GreeceThe Greek atomic energy committee has said that there are no signs of increased radioactivity levels in Greece from the toxic cloud caused by the bombings in Yugoslavia. The committee will meet today to discuss the issue, under the chairmanship of development minister Evangelos Venizelos.
A similar statement was also made by environment minister Kostas Laliotis, who stressed that there was no reason for concern.
On the other hand, the members of the Greek Initiative Against Radioactive Weapons have expressed their concern over the possible impact on Greece of the bombings in Yugoslavia.
 Greek premier may meet Turkish president at NATO summitThe Greek prime minister has not ruled out the possibility of a meeting with Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Washington next Thursday. Meetings always take place within the framework of a summit, Mr Simitis said, which means that a meeting with Mr Demirel may or may not be held.
The above statement was made following Mr Simitis' meeting with UN secretary general Kofi Annan in New York. In addition to the Kosovo issue, the two men also discussed the Cyprus dispute, for which Mr Simitis said that the UN should undertake initiatives.
 Premier inaugurates Greek exhibition halls in New YorkIn New York, the Greek prime minister inaugurated the Greek exhibition halls at the Metropolitan Museum. In the seven new halls, a wide range of works from extremely important collections of ancient Greek art are exhibited, including marble statuary, funerary monuments, decorated pots and findings from the archaic and classical eras ranging from the 6th to the 4th century BC.
Speaking during the inauguration ceremony, Mr Simitis said among other things that the new halls at the Metropolitan Museum would trigger off questions and thoughts on artistic creation in the 21st century.
 Cyprus submits plans for Euro-Mediterranean Development BankCyprus has submitted to the Euro-Mediterranean conference, which convened in Stuttgart recently, two proposals on ways to deal with the problem of illegal immigration and the setting up of a Euro-Mediterranean Development Bank with the participation of development banks from the Mediterranean and Europe, and the European Investment Bank.
Cypriot foreign minister Ioannis Kassoulidis said on his return from Stuttgart that the proposals were well received and would soon be worked out.
 Event in honour of late statesman Konstantinos KaramanlisThe Konstantinos Karamanlis Foundation yesterday organized an event in honor of the country's former president Konstantinos Karamanlis, a year after his death.
Attending the commemorative event were Greek president Konstantinos Stefanopoulos, former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing, former Italian president Francesco Cossiga, many government officials and Greek politicians, deputies, as well as personalities of the arts and letters.
The Greek president referred with respect to the political work and the personality of the late statesman, saying that he was a man worthy of the homeland.
Mr Cossiga said among other things that Konstantinos Karamanlis was sorely missed in Greece and Europe. His absence is felt even more strongly on the terrible days we are now going through, he said.
Finally, Mr Giscard d'Estaing spoke about a dynamic and yet sensitive man whom the Greeks adored and the Europeans admired.
 Athens stock exchange dropped 4.87% yesterdayOn the Athens stock exchange, the general share price index yesterday dropped by 4.87%, closing at 3,386 units.
The fixing price for the US dollar was 305,680 drachmas, the Deutschmark 166,349 drs and the euro 325,350 drs.
 Telecommunications projects to cost 410 billion drachmasSpeaking at the data processing and telecommunications conference which is taking place in Athens, transport and communications minister Anastasios Mantelis yesterday said that projects for the improvement of Greece's telecommunications are being proposed as part of the 3rd EU support framework. They will cost 410 billion drachmas.
Mr Mantelis yesterday inaugurated Iridium, the first satellite cellular telephone and stressed that Greece was now entering a world satellite orbit. Iridium operates with 66 low orbit satellites covering the entire planet.
 Well-known Greek Radio TV collaborator dies of heart attackYorgos Emirzas, actor, dancer, choreographer, as well as stage and film director, died of a heart attack while working at the Greek Radio and TV building yesterday. Yorgos Emirzas was born in Athens in 1936.
 Bulent Ecevit receives mandate to form Turkish governmentAccording to most political analysts, after last Sunday's elections in Turkey, the country is heading towards the formation of a coalition government to be set up by the Democratic Left party of Bulent Ecevit and the extreme right wing Nationalist Action party. With 80% of the votes counted, Mr Ecevit's party is securing 133 seats in parliament and the Nationalist Action party 130. The third largest party will be the Islamist Virtue party with 112 seats, while the two traditional right wing parties, Mesut Yilmaz's Motherland party and Tansu Ciller's True Path party, have secured 86 seats each.
Last night, Mr Ecevit received the mandate to form a government from Turkish president Suleyman Demirel and the consultations are expected to begin in mid-May.
 Russia condemns the West's policy of double standardsThe Russian foreign ministry has condemned the latest operations launched by Turkish government troops against fighters of the Kurdistan Workers' party, the PKK, in the northern part of Iraq. Russia also condemned the double standards policy followed by the West.
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