|Friday, 1 March 2024
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-05-04
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
 Diplomatic efforts to end the war in YugoslaviaNATO bombings continue unabated in Yugoslavia, while diplomatic efforts to end the war are being intensified.
Russian special envoy for the Yugoslav issue Viktor Chernomyrdin said yesterday he was closer to a diplomatic settlement of the Kosovo crisis, following talks at the White House with American president Bill Clinton.
We will continue working towards a political solution, Mr Chernomyrdin said, adding that talks would be resumed with vice-president Al Gore, whom he had met earlier.
Russia's special envoy said he conveyed to the American president a message from Russian president Boris Yeltsin, including specific proposals for ending NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia.
President Clinton has hinted for the first time that the air strikes might stop, if Belgrade accepted NATO's basic demands. Yesterday, the American president said he was in favour of a broadly-based international security force that would be open to participation by Russia and possibly other Orthodox countries having good relations with Serbia to supervise a future peaceful settlement of the Kosovo crisis.
Meanwhile human rights activist, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, has proposed to president Clinton to call his Yugoslav counterpart Slobodan Milosevic and thank him for the release of the three American soldiers, as this could trigger-off broader discussion on the Kosovo issue.
 Premature babies in danger in Belgrade because of power cutsNATO planes hit the building of the state television network in Novi Sad last night, while Belgrade was also bombed.
The Tanjug news agency has reported that 111 premature babies are in danger in Belgrade, due to the black out.
The head of the Infants' Institute in Belgrade has stated that the generators of the hospital where the babies were born can provide electric power for a few hours only and as a result the newborn babies cannot be taken care of properly.
Meanwhile in Krakujevac, restrictions were imposed on power consumption yesterday, since electric power supply plants are out of order due to the bombardments.
 NATO missile strikes bus killing 20 peopleYesterday a bus carrying refugees was hit by a NATO missile at the border between Kosovo and Montenegro, and as a result at least 20 people were killed and another 20 injured.
The Kosovo Liberation Army--known as UCK--has rejected the proposal of the rival political front--the Democratic Union of Kosovo--for talks regarding the setting up of an interim government in Kosovo.
 Pre-agenda debate in Greek parliament on Kosovo crisisDuring the pre-agenda debate on the new NATO structure and developments in the Yugoslav crisis in the Greek parliament yesterday, prime minister Kostas Simitis appeared slightly optimistic regarding a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
Mr Simitis said he had a telephone conversation with German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder with whom he discussed the initiatives that will be presented next week and might lead to a settlement of the crisis.
Greece, Mr Simitis said, came out stronger from the NATO conference, as its special role in the Kosovo crisis and its contribution to achieve peace in the region were recognised.
The Greek prime minister reiterated that Greece would not take part in war operations in Kosovo and stressed that Greece would continue efforts for an end to the bombings, the safe return of the refugees and the deployment of a multi-national peace-keeping force in the region.
Mr Simitis also accused the opposition of trying to reap political benefits and finally said that national sovereignty issues had nothing to do with the new NATO structure.
Opposition New Democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis advised the government to use clear language. He also referred to the danger of destabilisation in the region, due to the Kosovo crisis, and criticised NATO's behaviour. Mr Karamanlis also spoke about Mr Milosevic's responsibilities and stressed that he was in favour of a cease fire.
It would be an unforgivable mistake, Mr Karamanlis said, if Greece got involved either directly or indirectly in war operations.
Finally, Mr Karamanlis called on the prime minister to convene the political party leaders' council and urged him to show greater responsibility.
Secretary general of the Greek communist party Aleka Papariga described NATO as a war syndicate whose aim was to break up by all means any popular movement.
Leader of the Coalition of the Left Wing and Progress Nikos Konstantopoulos claimed that the recent NATO summit decision was turning the alliance into a world policeman.
Democratic Social Movement leader Dimitris Tsovolas referred to the new NATO treaty, saying it was a major political and national crime.
 Greek economy ministry ready for reconstruction in YugoslaviaThe national economy ministry is forming a special group that will be promoting the participation of Greek businesses in Yugoslavia's reconstruction projects.
A meeting was held yesterday under the chairmanship of national economy minister Yannos Papantoniou. Representatives from 43 Greek businesses active in the region of the Balkans decided to cooperate, so as to develop their business activities with the support of the Greek state in the new environment to be created after the end of the Yugoslav crisis.
Mr Papantoniou estimated that the crisis would end soon and stressed that Greece will urge the EU to grant compensations for the damage Greek businesses have suffered due to the war in Yugoslavia.
 Greece and FYROM sign cooperation protocolGreece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia yesterday signed a cooperation protocol in the sectors of transports and communications.
 Greek-Japanese talks on reconstruction in BalkansGreek development minister Evangelos Venizelos met in Thessaloniki yesterday with visiting Japanese foreign minister Mr Kumura--who had paid a visit to Skopje earlier -- and discussed the possibility of joint Greek- Japanese initiatives for the reconstruction of Yugoslavia and facilitating investments.
 Athens Stock Exchange up by 5.22% yesterdayAn impressive upward trend was recorded on the Athens Stock Exchange yesterday, with the general share price index going up by 5.22%, closing at 3,806.33 units.
In the parities, the American dollar was fixed at 307 drachmas, the Deutschmark at 166.405 drachmas and the euro at 325.460 drachmas.