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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-05-07

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

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] NATO planes continue bombing Yugoslav targets
  • [02] G-8 agreement on Kosovo
  • [03] Greek prime minister expresses hopes for peace
  • [04] Former Greek foreign minister meets Yugoslav president
  • [05] Greek lawyer takes case against NATO
  • [06] Ecumenical Patriarch to visit Greece
  • [07] Development minister optimistic about tourism
  • [08] 1999 Greek state budget on course
  • [09] Athens Stock Exchange 4.29% up yesterday
  • [10] EU funds disbursement to start in 2000
  • [11] New Democracy action plan for Euro-elections
  • [12] Church of Greece charities
  • [13] Ocalan lawyers have recourse to International Court

  • [01] NATO planes continue bombing Yugoslav targets

    Despite the agreement reached at yesterday's Group of Eight meeting in Bonn regarding the deployment of an international security force in Kosovo, NATO planes continued to bomb targets in Yugoslavia during the night. The city of Pozarevic, the birthplace of Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, came under NATO attack, and bombs destroyed a railway bridge linking Belgrade with Bucharest not far from Vatin. A power station was also hit, plunging the city into darkness.

    [02] G-8 agreement on Kosovo

    However, yesterday's G-8 agreement in Bonn gives hope of peace being restored to the Balkans. The agreement provides for the deployment of a substantial international force in Kosovo which will have both a political and security character, under the aegis of the UN.

    The Yugoslav news agency Tanjug reported the news of the Bonn agreement without comment, a fact which may well augur a favourable reception by president Milosevic.

    Speaking at a joint press conference with the German chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, American president Bill Clinton expressed his satisfaction that Russia had agreed to participate in the peacekeeping force. He pointed out that the peace process was a long one and that NATO would continue its air strikes in tandem with the diplomatic efforts being made to bring peace to the Balkans.

    The Pentagon, meanwhile, announced that the American defence secretary, William Cohen, had ordered the despatch of 176 more fighter aircraft to Europe to boost the NATO forces.

    The American secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, is having a meeting in Washington today with the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, who appears to be pleased with the latest developments.

    The American House of Representatives, meanwhile, has approved the release of a package of 13 billion dollars to cover the cost of the air operations against Yugoslavia.

    The leader of Kosovo's ethnic Albanians, Ibrahim Rugova, said in Rome yesterday that the refugees would feel it was safe to return to their homes if an international security force were deployed in Kosovo and the Serbian army withdrew from the region.

    [03] Greek prime minister expresses hopes for peace

    In Athens, the Greek prime minister, Kostas Simitis, expressed the hope that the Bonn decision would be given legal coverage by the United Nations to enable the parties involved to proceed with putting it into effect.

    He said the decision by the Group of Eight vindicated the policy adopted by the Greek government, and he pointed out that Greece would participate in its implementation once the UN had given the agreement legal backing.

    The New Democracy party and the Coalition of the Left Wing and Progress have also welcomed the G-8 decision.

    [04] Former Greek foreign minister meets Yugoslav president

    The former Greek foreign minister and president of the Greek parliament's foreign affairs committee, Karolos Papoulias, had a meeting in Belgrade yesterday with the Yugoslav president. During their discussion, president Milosevic said he was in favour of a political solution based on equality for all the ethnic minorities living in Kosovo and on the safeguarding of the territorial integrity of Serbia and Yugoslavia in general.

    [05] Greek lawyer takes case against NATO

    Eminent Greek lawyer Alexandros Lykourezos is taking out a case against NATO's political and military leaders at the International Court of Justice at The Hague on charges of war crimes committed during the recent bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. The 39-page indictment contains charges of manslaughter with intent and causing bodily harm to civilians, the wilful destruction of installations unrelated to military targets, the wilful destruction of cultural and religious monuments, educational and charitable institutions and the use of poisonous and toxic substances by NATO forces.

    [06] Ecumenical Patriarch to visit Greece

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos of Constantinople will be given a welcome befitting a head of state when he visits Athens on 20th May. During his stay, which will last until 5th June, the Patriarch will visit a total of 19 metropolitan churches throughout Greece.

    In Athens, Patriarch Vartholomeos will have meetings with the president of the republic, the prime minister, political party leaders, cabinet members, diplomats including the Turkish ambassador in Athens, the mayor of Athens and Greek bankers, academics and other personalities. Patriarch Vartholomeos is paying his first visit to Greece 8 years after his election.

    [07] Development minister optimistic about tourism

    After a meeting of the national tourism council, the development minister, Evangelos Venizelos, appeared optimistic yesterday about this year's tourist traffic in Greece. He said the market picture was good and that tourism would be up on last year.

    Mr Venizelos admitted that there was a problem with regard to American tourists as a whole visiting Europe, and therefore Greece, but said the ministry would intervene to support the Greek tourist industry. He also said new markets were being explored, stressing tourists from Britain, France, Germany and Scandinavian countries were showing a marked preference for Greece.

    Mr Venizelos also mentioned home tourism saying it was an unexploited source and stressed Greek tourists would be encouraged to visit Macedonia.

    [08] 1999 Greek state budget on course

    The 1999 Greek state budget is being implemented normally and there have been no deviations from planned expenditures and revenues, finance undersecretary Nikos Christodoulakis said yesterday, expounding on budget figures for the first quarter of 1999.

    Concerning state loans, he said they would amount to 10.9 trillion drachmas this year, reduced by about 550 billion drachmas.

    Mr Christodoulakis also referred to the streamlining and development of the Agricultural Bank of Greece, stressing it would start floating shares gradually, while also issuing privileged share packages for farmers in 1999.

    [09] Athens Stock Exchange 4.29% up yesterday

    The general share price index on the Athens Stock Exchange closed 4.29% up at 3,962.38 points yesterday. In the parities, the US dollar was fixed at 300.35 drachmas the Deutschmark at 166.068 drachmas and the euro at 324.8 drachmas.

    [10] EU funds disbursement to start in 2000

    The Greek government will have submitted plans for the third EU support framework by 15th September, national economy undersecretary Christos Pachtas has said, clarifying that disbursement of the earmarked EU funds would start on January first, 2000.

    [11] New Democracy action plan for Euro-elections

    The opposition New Democracy party's action plan until the June Euro- elections was presented yesterday by the party's election campaign central committee. In a speech, New Democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis challenged political leaders again to a televised debate and accused the government of illegally squandering EU funds for election campaign advertisements.

    [12] Church of Greece charities

    The Church of Greece has disbursed 12 billion drachmas for charities and social work in 1999. The press spokesman of the Standing Holy Synod, Metropolitan Panteleimon of Xanthi, has said the sums were spent helping citizens in need but also on the various foundations and charities operated by the 80 metropolitan churches of Greece.

    [13] Ocalan lawyers have recourse to International Court

    Lawyers representing the Kurdish leader, Abdullah Ocalan, are to have recourse to the International Court at The Hague, accusing the governments of four European countries and the Turkish government of illegal actions in connection with the arrest of the Kurdish leader. The four European countries in question are Italy, Germany, Holland and Greece.

    One of Ocalan's lawyers, Hasip Kaplan, said he would summon as witnesses all persons who might know something about the circumstances under which Ocalan was arrested.


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