|Wednesday, 28 February 2024
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-05-20
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
 NATO attack on hospital in BelgradeWhile diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Kosovo continue, Belgrade and several other Yugoslav cities came under heavy attack during the night. Nato planes bombed a hospital in Belgrade shortly after the Russian mediator, Viktor Chernomyrdin, had left the city to return to Moscow. At least 3 patients were killed and two pregnant women injured in the attack.
For the first time the city of Kikida, near the Hungarian border, was hit, while raids were also carried out on Novi Sad and Sobor where a large fuel depot burst into flames.
 Russian envoy and Yugoslav president agree on UN to step inMeanwhile at their meeting in Belgrade yesterday evening, the Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic, and the Russian envoy Mr Chernomyrdin agreed on the need for the bombing to stop and for the United Nations to step in to handle the crisis. A statement said the two men also pointed out the need for Yugoslavia to be allowed to take part in the processing of the peace agreement drawn up by the Group of Eight.
Mr Chernomyrdin is to return to the Yugoslav capital on Monday, after he has had further talks with the Finnish mediator, Maarti Ahtisaari, and the American undersecretary of state, Strobe Talbot.
The German EU presidency has announced in Bonn that the Group of Seven plus Russia is meeting again tomorrow to discuss the draft text for adoption as a UN Security Council resolution on an end to hostilities in Yugoslavia.
Speaking from Skopje yesterday, the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, said next week would be a critical time for a settlement of the Yugoslav issue.
Approximately 1,000 Serbian soldiers left their units in Kosovo yesterday and went home, although many of them later returned to their units. Anti- war demonstrations, meanwhile, were staged in a number of Yugoslav cities.
 Greek prime minister believes G8 plan good basis for solutionThe Greek prime minister yesterday described the agreement prepared by the Group of Eight as a good basis for a settlement of the crisis, while the government spokesman, Dimitris Reppas, said a political solution was now much closer.
 American official says no differences between US and RussiaThe American undersecretary of state, Strobe Talbot, said yesterday there were no longer any substantial differences between the positions adopted by the United States and Russia regarding a solution to the Kosovo crisis.
Speaking on Finnish television after his talks with Mr Chernomyrdin and President Ahtisaari, Mr Talbot said the ball was now firmly in the Yugoslav court. He said basic agreement had been reached on a peace framework and that Belgrade now had to agree on what was required for peace to be achieved.
 UN secretary general visits SkopjeThe UN secretary general, who had talks in Skopje yesterday with the president of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kiro Gligorov, the prime minister, Liubco Georgievski, and foreign minister, Alexander Dimitrov, said many countries had now called for an end to Nato's operations against Yugoslavia. He added that he had received assurances that the borders would remain open to refugees from Kosovo.
Mr Annan pointed out that the Albanians from Kosovo were not just displaced persons but also refugees and should therefore be dealt with by the authorities in both these capacities. He appealed for an urgent solution to the Kosovo problem and said plans should be drawn up now to prepare for every contingency, whether or not the refugees were in their own country.
 Pre-agenda debate in Greek parliament on EMUDuring the formal debate on European economic and monetary union which took place in parliament last night at the government's initiative, Greece's political leaders crossed swords over the Euro-elections.
The prime minister, Kostas Simitis, pointed out that PASOK would be the leading party in the Euro-elections, just as it would be in next year's national elections. He accepted an invitation to take part in a televised debate amongst party leaders, but also accused the opposition New Democracy party of lack of courage in relation to a negative advertising campaign which the opposition party does not sign.
New Democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis responded that the count-down had begun and would culminate in his own party's victory over PASOK on June 13th.
The general secretary of the Greek Communist party, Aleka Papariga, gave a speech in which she attacked the government's economic policy and spoke of an artificial dilemma placed by the government before the Greek people in view of the Euro-elections.
Leader of the Coalition of the Left Wing and Progress, Nikos Konstantopoulos, was equally unsparing in his criticism of the government's policy. He also spoke of the falsity of the happy picture presented in parliament by Mr Simitis.
Finally, leader of the Democratic Social Movement Dimitris Tsovolas proposed drafting the country's foreign policy anew, aiming at national security and social cohesion.
 Ecumenical Patriarch visits GreeceEcumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos of Constantinople begins an official visit to Greece today, the first since his election.
The Patriarch was received at the airport with honours befitting a head of state by the president of the republic, Kostis Stefanopoulos, the prime minister, Kostas Simitis, and Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and all Greece. The head of the Greek Orthodox Church, who will stay in Greece until June 5th, plans to visit several dioceses and archdioceses throughout the country.
 More lists of Euro-deputies released by partiesThe list of Euro-deputies of the New Democracy party was released yesterday. Marietta Yannakou-Koutsikou is heading the list. Party leader Kostas Karamanlis said the June 13th Euro-elections would be a generalized political battle for his party.
At the top of the list of the Democratic Social Movement is PASOK's former finance minister, Dimitris Koulourianos.
 Commemoration day for Pontian genocideMay 19th is the day chosen to commemorate the genocide of the Greeks of the Pontus by the Turks. The ethnic cleansing operations by the Young Turks at the beginning of the century claimed 350 thousand dead and thousands of refugees from the Pontus, Ionia and Cappadocia. However, eight decades after the tragic events the demand that the genocide be recognised internationally has not been met yet.
 Athens stock exchange up 0.06% yesterdayThe general share price index on the Athens stock exchange closed 0.06% up yesterday, at 4,109.1 points.
 World congress of Hellenic foundations in Montreal, CanadaThe sessions of the third World Congress of Hellenic Foundations on the subject "Hellenism in the 21st century" will be declared open in the presence of general secretary of the Greek press ministry Yannis Nikolaou and Metropolitan Sotirios of Canada.
The congress will be held in Montreal, Canada, from 28 to 31 May, organized by the Canada Greek Study Centre under the auspices of the Greek general secretariat for Greek abroad and the Cypriot foreign ministry.