|Sunday, 25 February 2024
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-05-10
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
 Diplomatic efforts for peaceful Kosovo solution continueDiplomatic efforts for a peaceful solution to the Yugoslav crisis continue, despite the deadly NATO bombings against civilians in the cities of Nis and Belgrade, including the recent attack against the Chinese embassy.
Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin, who has returned to Moscow from Bonn, told reporters that the moderate Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova has called for increased autonomy in Kosovo, but without affecting Yugoslavia's territorial integrity. Mr Rugova also was in favour of the Kosovo Liberation Army being disarmed.
Mr Chernomyrdin, who said that his discussion with Mr Rugova offered him an insight into many issues involved, has now returned to Moscow and is scheduled to meet for talks with US assistant secretary of state Strobe Talbot. He will then travel to Helsinki for talks with the Finnish president Maarti Akhtisari, whom the EU plans to appoint as mediator.
 Strong Chinese reactions to embassy bombingMeanwhile, China's reactions to the recent bombing of its embassy in Belgrade by NATO is still dominating the international political scene.
The Chinese government has rejected NATO explanations regarding another "mistake" and has described the bombing as an act of war, insisting it was intentional and planned.
In a radio and TV message yesterday, Chinese deputy premier Hu Tjidao declared that the government and the communist party were in solidarity with the citizens who staged anti-American demonstrations in Beijing and all the major cities of the country. However he reassured the Americans, stressing that foreign diplomats in China enjoyed guaranteed protection as provided for by international law.
At least 20,000 angry demonstrators - students and citizens - gathered outside the US embassy in Beijing, shouting anti-American slogans. The American consulate in Hong Kong has announced that the American embassy and consulates in China will remain closed today and tomorrow.
The strong anti-American feeling prevailing in China is expected to cause major difficulties for German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder who is scheduled to arrive in Beijing tomorrow, in an effort to persuade the Chinese leadership to vote in the UN Security Council in favour of the Kosovo plan drafted by the Group of 8.
Press reports from Beijing indicate that China has decided to discontinue talks with Washington on military and human rights issues, following the embassy bombing.
 Yugoslav recourse to International Court at The HagueToday, the International Court of Justice at The Hague will examine a recourse filed by Yugoslavia, asking the court to order the cessation of the air strikes and also condemn the 10 NATO member states taking part in them.
In the meantime, former Yugoslav deputy premier Vuk Draskovic maintained yesterday that the Yugoslav government must be prepared to accept foreign troops in Kosovo, under the aegis of the UN.
Quoting diplomatic sources, the "Financial Times" has reported that NATO is abandoning a plan to impose a ban on fuel imports to Yugoslavia by force and is exploring the possibility of exerting pressure on supplier countries to cut off fuel supplies voluntarily.
 Western European Union meeting in BremenGreek defence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos and deputy foreign minister Yannos Kranidiotis will represent Greece at the two-day Western European Union ministerial meeting opening in Bremen today, while the leader of Kosovo's ethnic Albanians, Ibrahim Rugova, has been invited to attend the meeting. The agenda includes the situation in Kosovo and the prospects of Western European defense and security.
The EU ECOFIN council is also meeting in Brussels today to discuss the reconstruction of the Balkans after the war. Taking part is Greek national economy minister Yannos Papantoniou.
 Greece hands over refugee camp in Albania to UNThe Greek defence ministry has decided to hand over to the UN High Commission for Refugees a refugee camp in Kukes, Albania, which had been established by the Greek state.
The decision is related to the security of the Greek soldiers and officers at the camp following suspect and threatening moves in the region by troops of the Kosovo Liberation Army. Reports have said the UCK might attempt to attack and steal the weapons of the Greek soldiers.
Nevertheless, the camp will continue being supplied from Greece.
 Prime minister visits border region near FlorinaPrime minister Kostas Simitis visited Florina yesterday and took part in a ceremony for the newly-established special Army Corps guarding the borders.
In speeches, Mr Simitis referred to northern Greece's critical role in the reconstruction of the Balkans, which he pointed out would not be an easy thing. He also referred to the Yugoslav crisis and pointed out the peace procedure would be a long one.
In an interview with the Sunday issue of the newspaper "To Vima", foreign minister Yorgos Papandreou presented the Greek government's strategy for the day after in the Balkans. He stressed Greece's intention to cooperate with Turkey for the reconstruction of the Balkans.
 Greek president in TbilisiPresident of the republic Konstantinos Stefanopoulos arrived in Tbilisi, capital of Georgia, yesterday, on a 3-day official visit. He was extended a particularly warm welcome by Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze and the people of Georgia.
After Georgia, president Stefanopoulos will visit Erevan, capital of Armenia.
 Opposition leader winds up tourOpposition New Democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis addressed party supporters in Ioannina, yesterday. He called on all Greeks who wished for the creation of a new Greece to back the effort of the New Democracy party for a new beginning. He also called on the Greek people to address a message in the forthcoming Euro-elections that the country's political map was finally changing, that the powers of the past were definitely relegated to the sidelines and that the way was open for the forces of clarity and hope.
Mr Karamanlis wound up his 3-day tour of Kefalonia, Lefkas and Epirus. His party's election campaign will open officially on Saturday with a speech he will deliver in Patras.
 No visa required for Greeks visiting FYROMFYROM prime minister Liubchko Georgevski told Greek development minister Evangelos Venizelos who visited Skopje yesterday that Greek citizens will be able to visit the FYROM with no visa from now on.
 Greeks commemorate Mauthausen victimsGreeks yesterday commemorated their 3,700 compatriots who died at the Nazi concentration camp of Mauthausen, Austria, during the second world war. A service was officiated by Greek Orthodox metropolitan Michael of Austria and wreaths were laid at the Greek monument.