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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-05-17

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

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] EU foreign ministers discuss Kosovo crisis
  • [02] US defence secretary insists on NATO bombings
  • [03] NATO bombings continue for 56th day
  • [04] Greek foreign minister to undertake new peace initiative
  • [05] Bomb attack on residence of German ambassador in Athens
  • [06] Party leaders continue election campaign
  • [07] Peace march staged in Cyprus
  • [08] Memorial service for Pontian genocide

  • [01] EU foreign ministers discuss Kosovo crisis

    The EU foreign ministers will have talks in Brussels today with their Russian counterpart, Igor Ivanov, as well as with the moderate leader of Kosovo's ethnic Albanians, Ibrahim Rugova, within the framework of efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Yugoslav crisis.

    Finnish president Maarti Akhtisari said yesterday he had the approval of UN secretary general Kofi Annan to undertake the role of envoy to Belgrade.

    The composition of the UN peacekeeping force to be deployed in Kosovo are amongst the issues to be examined today and tomorrow at the EU council of foreign ministers, with the participation of the Russian foreign minister, Igor Ivanov.

    Meanwhile two Serb soldiers held by the Americans in Germany will probably be released today, a high-ranking US Pentagon official said last night.

    [02] US defence secretary insists on NATO bombings

    American defence secretary William Cohen maintained at a press conference yesterday that at least 100,000 Kosovar Albanians have been reported missing and have probably been killed by Serb forces. He reiterated that NATO was determined to continue its air raids, until Belgrade was prepared to fully accept the peace terms laid down by the alliance.

    In a related development, Yugoslavia has called on the UN to condemn the massacre of scores of civilians by NATO in the village of Korisa.

    In addition, according to assessments by local officials, damage caused in Belgrade since the beginning of the air strikes, from March 24 to April 30, amounts to 10 billion dollars, while 536 buildings have been destroyed.

    In the meantime, Russian foreign minister Igor Ivanov warned yesterday that if the NATO bombardments did not cease and if the UN did not play the appropriate role, Moscow's attitude towards the West would change.

    In Italy this week, the parliament will debate a proposal by the political parties backing the government, to call for a cessation of NATO bombings in Yugoslavia. If the resolution is passed, it will constitute an official position of the Italian government, which prime minister Massimo D'Alema will be obliged to implement.

    [03] NATO bombings continue for 56th day

    However, as diplomatic efforts for a settlement of the Kosovo crisis continue, NATO is escalating its bombings of Yugoslavia, with air raids continuing for the 56th day.

    General Wesley Clark stated in Tirana yesterday that NATO will intensify its bombings, despite the danger of civilians being killed, claiming that civilians were being used as human shields by the Serbs.

    For its part, Belgrade has reported that NATO is targeting ethnic Albanians who wish to return to their homes and that by stepping up the bombardments, it will merely create more problems concerning the withdrawal of Serb forces from Kosovo.

    [04] Greek foreign minister to undertake new peace initiative

    Greek foreign minister Yorgos Papandreou will undertake a new diplomatic initiative for the resolution of the Yugoslav issue. He intends to promote before all international organisations a proposal for a 48-hour cessation of NATO bombings to be accompanied by a clear answer from Belgrade, so that the G8 peace plan can be implemented.

    Mr Papandreou is visiting Paris today, where his European Union counterparts will examine the agreement for stability in southeastern Europe prepared by the German EU presidency.

    At the same time, opposition New Democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis has proposed the convening of a summit of the European Union, China, Russia, Canada and the United States to discuss the Kosovo crisis.

    [05] Bomb attack on residence of German ambassador in Athens

    No organisation has so far claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack on the residence of the German ambassador in Athens, in the Athens suburb of Halandri late last night.

    A rocket was launched at around 11 p.m. local time from a distance of 150 metres, causing some damage to the roof of the house.

    Police believe that the November 17 terrorist organization are behind the attack.

    The German ambassador linked the attack to the Yugoslav crisis and urged German tourists to visit Greece as usual this year.

    Foreign minister Yorgos Papandreou condemned the attack and pointed out that--at a time when Greece was undertaking initiatives to resolve the Yugoslav crisis--such actions created serious questions as to the real aims they served.

    [06] Party leaders continue election campaign

    Speaking in Kalamata yesterday, prime minister Kostas Simitis stressed the importance of voting in the Euro-elections. He said it was a time of great decisions for the country and accused the New Democracy party of lacking positions, responsibility and knowledge, and of bellowing instead of proposing.

    Leader of the Coalition of the Left Wing and Progress Nikos Konstantopoulos said in a speech before his party's central political committee yesterday that in the Euro-elections voters should vote against those who made Europe an accomplice of Washington and vote in favour of those who offered resistance to the war options.

    Leader of the Democratic Social Movement Dimitris Tsovolas, who is in Thessaloniki, estimated there would soon be a solution to the Yugoslav issue, while also appearing optimistic about the outcome of the Euro- elections.

    The Coalition of the Left Wing and Progress and the New Democracy party are to release the lists of their candidates for the Euro-elections on Tuesday and Friday respectively.

    [07] Peace march staged in Cyprus

    In Larnaka yesterday, the Pancypriot peace council staged a peace march against NATO's attacks on Yugoslavia, the Turkish occupation of a part of Cyprus and the British military bases on the island. Participating was Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis who addressed the people.

    [08] Memorial service for Pontian genocide

    A memorial service was officiated at Athens Metropolitan church yesterday in memory of the genocide by the Turks of Greeks from the Pontus, followed by the laying of wreaths at the Unknown Soldier's Monument and a march to the Turkish embassy in Athens. May 19th has been declared commemoration day for the Pontian genocide.
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