|Sunday, 25 February 2024
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-05-12
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
 NATO air strikes continueNATO air raids on Yugoslavia continued for one more night. The Yugoslav news agency Tanjug reported that at least 15 explosions were heard in a camp of Serbian refugees in Paracin, 120 km south of Belgrade, early this morning, while Serbian TV and the Veta news agency reported that NATO planes struck a bridge in Vladicin-Han, southern Serbia, during the night, killing two people--one of them a 3 year old little girl.
Yesterday, regions near Pristina, capital of Kosovo, were fiercely bombed. A convoy of refugees came under fire and two people were killed and 5 injured.
A bridge in Kokin Brod on the road linking Serbia with Montenegro, and another bridge in the city of Orgos, near the border with Hungary, were bombed last night.
Albanian police exchanged fire with Yugoslav forces at the border of northern Yugoslavia with Kosovo, international observers in Tirana announced today.
The Turkish government today consented to cede airforce bases to NATO, to facilitate the air strikes against Yugoslavia.
 Diplomatic efforts also continueAfter his talks in Beijing yesterday, Russian envoy for the Yugoslav issue Viktor Chernomyrdin said an end to the bombings was a precondition for the promotion of the peace procedure, adding he was carrying new proposals for the US.
In a latest development, the US yesterday rejected China's demand to stop the air strikes against Yugoslavia so that talks on the issue may begin at the UN Security Council.
For its part, China turned down American president Bill Clinton's apology, as well as NATO's explanations about the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, ruling out the possibility that its embassy was hit by mistake.
During the latest contacts Russian mediator Viktor Chernomyrdin had in Beijing, he did not manage to persuade the Chinese officials to accept immediately a dialogue at the UN on a political solution in Kosovo. Chinese president Ziang Zemin made it clear to Mr Chernomyrdin that China will agree to a peace plan, only if Yugoslavia approves it.
German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder arrived in Beijing today for a one day visit, in an effort to persuade the Chinese government not to obstruct through a veto a political settlement of the Kosovo crisis.
Meanwhile the EU is hoping it will place under its control, together with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the temporary command of the multinational force to be deployed in Kosovo, American assistant secretary of state Strobe Talbot, who is visiting Moscow, has said.
French foreign minister Hubert Vedrine also arrived in Moscow yesterday for talks with Russian leaders.
 Kosovar leader tours EuropeThe leader of Kosovo's ethnic Albanians, Ibrahim Rugova, left for a tour of Europe today. His first stop will be Bonn and then London and Paris, while he will visit Brussels on May 17th to meet the EU foreign ministers.
Meanwhile a 15-member delegation of the UN will visit Yugoslavia next week in order to asses humanitarian needs in the country, the director of UNICEF's emergency aid missions announced from Belgrade yesterday.
 Greek prime minister underlines Greece's strategic roleSpeaking at the Inter-Balkan forum in Thessaloniki yesterday, Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis underlined Greece's strategic role in the development of stability in the Balkans.
Mr Simitis had met earlier with his counterparts of Portugal, Albania and the FYROM and said that the Greek government would continue efforts for a political settlement of the Yugoslav crisis.
Meanwhile opposition New Democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis has said he is in favour of a political solution that would respect human rights as well as stability in the region.
 Greek president visits ArmeniaPresident of Armenia Robert Kotsarian yesterday welcomed president of the Greek republic Konstantinos Stefanopoulos, who arrived in Erevan on a three day official visit, accompanied by foreign undersecretary Grigoris Niotis and national economy undersecretary Alekos Baltas.
Today president Stefanopoulos will have a meeting in private with the Armenian president. Afterwards, three texts will be signed, a convention to avoid dual taxation, an agreement on mutual customs facilities and a protocol regarding the ratification of the friendship and cooperation agreement between Greece and Armenia signed in Athens in June 1997.
 Ann Hercus promoted to special UN representative for CyprusThe UN told the Cypriot government that UN secretary general Kofi Annan plans to promote Ann Hercus to the office of special representative for Cyprus. She is deputy special representative for Cyprus and will replace Diego Cordobez who has resigned his post.
 New British high commissioner arrives in CyprusThe new British high commissioner for Cyprus Edward Clay arrived in Nicosia yesterday to take over his office. He succeeds David Madden who was appointed ambassador in Athens. He is to present his credentials to Cypriot president Glafkos Kliridis today and on Thursday he will visit Turkish Cypriot representative Rauf Denktash.
Meanwhile president Kliridis has said there was a spectacular improvement in the Cypriot economy in 1998. Speaking at the annual assembly of employers and industrialists he said that unemployment and inflation went down and predicted continuing improvement in 1999.
 Turkish warplanes violate Cypriot air space16 Turkish jet fighters again violated Cypriot air space in the region of Karpasia. On Friday the Turks are planning to carry out an air exercise in Cyprus, east of the Apostle Andreas cape.
12 Turkish F-16 jet fighters and 4 transport planes flew to Israel in the framework of an exercise connected with military cooperation between Turkey and Israel. The planes flew through Nicosia F.I.R.
 Freighter sinks in Piraeus harbourThe freighter Elena-Maria, flying the flag of Antigua, sank early this morning in the port of Piraeus. It had developed a list last night when containers were loaded on board and sank when water flooded the ship.