|Wednesday, 28 February 2024
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-05-21
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
 Ecumenical Patriarch arrives in GreeceEcumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos of Constantinople arrived in Athens yesterday on his first official visit since his appointment to the highest religious post, and was received with honours accorded to a head of state. He was welcomed at the airport by the president of the republic, Konstantinos Stefanopoulos, the prime minister, Kostas Simitis, Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and all Greece, the opposition New Democracy party leader, Kostas Karamanlis, the speaker of the Greek parliament, Apostolos Kaklamanis, and members of the cabinet.Later, in the city centre, Patriarch Vartholomeos addressed a public gathering from the balcony of the Grande Bretagne Hotel in Constitution Square before attending a special church service in his honour in the Athens Metropolitan Cathedral.The Ecumenical Patriarch also had a meeting yesterday with the foreign minister, Giorgos Papandreou, at which they discussed the Greek initiatives for a peaceful settlement of the Kosovo crisis.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.
 Peace talks in Moscow break downThe talks in Moscow between the Russian mediator, Viktor Chernomyrdin, the Finnish president, Maarti Ahtisaari, and the US deputy secretary of state, Strobe Talbot, aimed at resolving the Yugoslav crisis, have temporarily broken down. Mr Ahtisaari said very little progress had been achieved, adding that the aim of the talks was to move quickly but cautiously in the search for a peaceful settlement. No announcement was made as to when the talks would be resumed.
Meanwhile the Greek foreign minister, Giorgos Papandreou, is going to the Russian capital today to promote Greece's proposal for a 48-hour ceasefire. While there he will have talks with his Russian counterpart, Igor Ivanov, and Mr Chernomyrdin. The UN envoy, Karl Bildt, is also expected in Moscow today.
The Western powers see Russia, which maintains good relations with Belgrade, as a major ally in the efforts to make the Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic, accept Nato's conditions for an end to its operations in the region.
 G8 plan discussed in BonnThe German EU presidency has announced in Bonn that the Group of Seven plus Russia is meeting again today to discuss the draft text for adoption as a UN Security Council resolution on an end to hostilities in Yugoslavia. According to diplomatic sources, the main issues are still the composition and command of the international force to be deployed in Kosovo.
During the night Nato planes bombed fuel depots at Sobor, in the north of Serbia, and Belgrade, where the residence of the Swiss ambassador to Yugoslavia was damaged.
 Nato raids to continueThe American president, Bill Clinton, the British prime minister, Tony Blair, and the Nato secretary general, Javier Solana, have all insisted that the Nato operations will continue until the conditions laid down by the Alliance have been met.
The Montenegrin president, Milo Djuganovic, has accused the Yugoslav leaders of trying to take over the country's democratic institutions. He also claimed the armed forces had confiscated a large portion of the humanitarian aid sent to the region.
The Pentagon spokesman in Washington said yesterday that Kosovo Liberation Army rebels had repossessed a village seized by Yugoslav forces and taken control of munitions and military vehicles.
 Bosnian leaders plead for peaceIn a long-ranging stability plan, Bosnia's leaders have stated their desire for peace in Kosovo, the preservation of Yugoslavia's territorial integrity and closer links with the European Union.
One of the two presidents of the republic's central government, Haris Silagic, said after an international meeting of benefactor countries that Nato's decision to intervene in the conflict in Kosovo was having an impact on the whole region and he expressed the hope that a long-term plan would be worked out leading to a stability pact.
 China cancels visits by US warshipsChina has cancelled all scheduled visits by American warships to Hong Kong this month and in June because of current developments, expressing its displeasure over events in Yugoslavia.
Italian prime minister warns of public opinion reversal
Italian prime minister Massimo D'Alema warned yesterday that public opinion in Nato member-countries may be reversed, and called for an end to the campaign against Yugoslavia.
Speaking from Brussels, Mr D'Alema said that the bombing must stop as soon as a UN draft resolution has been drafted by the G-8 group. He added that diplomatic efforts underway were promising.
 Ethnic Albanian leader opposes unilateral ceasefireKosovo's ethnic Albanian moderate leader Ibrahim Rugova yesterday reiterated his opposition to a unilateral Nato ceasefire in Kosovo. He described as pure propaganda Belgrade's claim that Kosovar refugees were free to return to their homes whenever they wanted. But he also said that after the war Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo would be able to co-exist.
 Greek parliamentary delegation visits BelgradeA Greek parliamentary delegation headed by PASOK deputy Lambros Kanellopoulos is paying a visit to Belgrade. The delegation met yesterday with Yugoslav foreign minister Zivadin Jovanovic and was briefed on the consequences of the Nato raids and the diplomatic efforts underway.
The Greek deputies also met the president of the council of republics of the federal parliament, Sirza Bozovic, and told him Greece was following a policy of peace and cooperation and was against any change of borders. Today the Greek delegation is expected to meet Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.
 Balkan reconstruction discussed at Greek economy ministryThe reconstruction of the Balkans, after a diplomatic solution to the Kosovo crisis, was the focus of a meeting at the national economy ministry yesterday, chaired by minister Yannos Papantoniou. Ministry officials agreed on setting up five working groups to record damage, look for funding sources and draw up reconstruction plans.
According to Mr Papantoniou, the reports of the working groups, comprised of representatives from both the public and private sectors, will be submitted in late June so that the relevant decisions can be made.
 Government proposes televised debate for Euro-electionsThe government yesterday proposed a televised debate on June 7 between the prime minister and the leader of the opposition in view of the Euro- elections. The New Democracy party, for its part, reiterated its proposal for a televised dialogue amongst all political leaders.
 Liberal party leader received by Greek presidentPresident of the Liberal party Stefanos Manos was received by president of the republic Konstantinos Stefanopoulos yesterday. After the meeting, Mr Manos said he expounded on the crisis in Yugoslavia and stressed the need for the presence of Greek soldiers in Kosovo after the end of the war.
In reference to the forthcoming Euro-elections, Mr Manos called for the re- introduction of the cross of preference on the lists of Euro-deputies.
 Athens stock exchange up 1.37% yesterdayOn the Athens stock exchange, the general share price index went up by 1.37% yesterday, closing at 4,165.36 points.