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MPA NEWS IN ENGLISH (22/04/1996)

From: Macedonian Press Agency <mpa@philippos.mpa.gr>

Macedonian Press Agency News in English Directory

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH

Monday, April 22 1996Thessaloniki


[A] NATIONAL NEWS

[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS


TITLES

[A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] GREECE TO EXERCISE VETO ON EU FUNDING FOR TURKEY

  • [02] PRIME MINISTER DEPARTS FOR FORMAL VISIT TO LONDON

  • [03] INCIDENT BETWEEN A GREEK PATROL BOAT AND A TURKISH BOAT CARRYING IRANIAN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS TO GREECE

  • [04] THE GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN ON THE INCIDENT IN KASTELORIZO

  • [05] THE ISSUE OF HUMAN RIGHTS WAS NOT RAISED DURING THE GREEK PRIME MINISTER'S VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES, SAID MR.REPPAS

  • [06] COME TO THRACE, CONGRESSMEN...

  • [07] TURKISH MINISTRY RELEASES DECLARATION ON TERRORISM

  • [08] TURKEY HAS A PROBLEM ONLY WITH GREECE, SAYS TURK MINISTER

  • [09] TURKISH PRESS WARNS THAT HAGUE VENUE WON'T BE FAVORABLE FOR ANKARA

  • [10] ALBANIAN BOAT FIRES AT GREEK COAST GUARD NEAR CORFU

  • [11] HALF-SUNK PASSENGER SHIP TO BE REFLOATED BY GREEK COAST GUARD

  • [12] ITALY'S ELECTIONS GAIN SATISFACTION OF GREEK GOVERNMENT

  • [13] THE TOURISTS FROM YUGOSLAVIA USUALLY DO NOT CAUSE PROBLEMS FOR THE GREEK POLICE, STATED GREEK MINISTER OF PUBLIC ORDER

  • [14] THE PRESIDENT OF THE GREEK GENERAL CONFEDERATION OF LABOUR IS ON A VISIT TO SKOPJE

  • [15] THE 20TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPEAN MUNICIPALITIES AND REGIONS (CEMR) IN THESSALONIKI ON MAY 22-25


  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [16] EGYPT AND LEBANON ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE TOURIST MAPS AS A RESULT OF THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST

  • [17] THE ISSUE OF SOVEREIGNTY IS NOT NEGOTIABLE, STATED THE CYPRIOT GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN

  • [18] US ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE EMBARKS ON TOUR FOR CUPRUS

  • [19] FYROM'S FOREIGN MINISTER PESSIMISTIC OVER NAME ISSUE

  • [20] INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON KOSSOVO REGION UNDER THE AEGIS OF THE EU

  • [21] ROMANIA AND TURKEY TO SIGN A FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

  • [22] NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL WILL VISIT BULGARIA ON MAY 2

  • [23] BULGARIAN - GERMAN FORUM

  • [24] ALBANIAN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS RESCUED BY THE ITALIAN COAST GUARD

  • [25] THE 4TH GENERAL MEETING OF THE ASSOCIATION OF BALKAN CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE IN SOFIA

  • [26] NATO INTEGRATION FAVORED BY 92 PERCENT OF ROMANIAN MILITARY STAFF

  • [27] UKRAINE TO SOLVE THE TRANSDNESTRIAN CONFLICT

  • [28] TIRASPOL BLOKED ANY WITHDRAWAL OF RUSSIAN MILITARY EQUIPMENT TO CHISINAU

  • [29] BELGRADE ASSIGNS AMBASSADOR TO SKOPJE

  • [30] TURK JOURNALIST TORTURED TO DEATH BECAUSE HE DIDN'T KNOW THE NATIONAL ANTHEM


  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] GREECE TO EXERCISE VETO ON EU FUNDING FOR TURKEY

    Greece is expected to exercise its veto powers over Turkey's funding by the European Union's MEDA funding regulation, which aims to allocate ECU 3.4 billion in aid to 12 non-Community Mediterranean countries including Turkey, during today's meeting of the EU General Affairs Council. The financing program is the only item on the discussion agenda during today's meeting. According to a press release issued by the Council of Ministers' secretary-general, the 15 EU representatives will decide during today's meeting whether any new developments in the greek positions have occured that would overcome the greek government's objections over the MEDA financing.

    [02] PRIME MINISTER DEPARTS FOR FORMAL VISIT TO LONDON

    Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis departs this afternoon for a formal visit to London, accompanied by the alternate Foreign Minister George Romeos.

    According to reports, tomorrow Mr. Simitis will hold talks with the British Premier John Major where the Greek Premier will aim at securing british support on greek national issues, mainly the greek-turkish differences.

    Tomorrow evening, the British Deputy Prime Minister Mike Heselltine will host a dinner in honor of Mr. Simitis at Lancaster House. Mr. Heselltine is the British government's co-ordinator for the promotion of british trade export and it is said that he will refer to the imrpovement of bilateral economic and trade relations between Greece and Britain.

    On Wednesday morning, the Greek Premier will depart London for Dublin, Ireland, where he will hold talks with his Irish counterpart John Bruton during a working lunch.

    [03] INCIDENT BETWEEN A GREEK PATROL BOAT AND A TURKISH BOAT CARRYING IRANIAN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS TO GREECE

    An incident took place off the coasts of the Aegean island of Kastelorizo in the early morning hours today. The incident happened when a turkish high-speed boat, which had just brought 8 iranian illegal immigrants to the remote region of Agios Stephanos in Kastelorizo, refused to follow the orders issued by a greek Coast Guard patrol boat and did not stop for control checks.

    The crew of the greek patrol boat fired warning shots in the air when the captain of the turkish high- speed boat "Derian 1" began to make dangerous manouevres. Despite the warning shots the turkish boat speeded away and entered the turkish territorial waters.

    Shortly after, Coast Guard officers arrested the illegal immigrants, 3 men, 2 women and 3 children.

    Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Kostas Bikas stated that the turkish allegations do not agree with reality, adding that the true events are the iranian illegal immigrants, who were put ashore, and their arrest. He also said that the greek patrol boat had asked the turkish captain to stop but he did not obey to the orders and there was a chase.

    The turkish news agency "Anadolu" had reported that the greek patrol boat had opened fire against a turkish fishing-boat in the early morning hours today, off the coasts of the city of Kas, in south-western Turkey and also mentioned that a crew member of the turkish boat was injured.

    [04] THE GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN ON THE INCIDENT IN KASTELORIZO

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas announced that at 6:30'am this morning a greek Coast Guard patrol boat located a turkish boat, while it was bringing ashore in the Aegean island of Kastelorizo remote region of Agios Stephanos, 8 iranian illegal immigrants, 3 men, 2 women and 3 children.

    Mr.Reppas, who pointed out that the same boat with the same captain had in the past done similar things, added that the greek patrol boat asked the turkish boat to remain in the region for the necessary control checks but instead it speeded away. The greek patrol boat chased it firing warning shots in the air but the turkish boat did not stop and entered the turkish territorial waters.

    The greek government spokesman also mentioned that, as far as he knows, there were no victims or injured adding that the problem of illegal immigrants is another thorn in the greek-turkish relations.

    Mr.Reppas stated that is a shame that modern slave- traders take advantage of the human agony for a better life and commercialize the need of those individuals. He stressed that Turkey has to safeguard its borders, pointing out that the greek government has asked repeatedly for a dialogue with Turkey on that specific issue, but it refused. Mr.Reppas concluded that this way is proven that Greece is ready to start discussions when there are real problems.

    [05] THE ISSUE OF HUMAN RIGHTS WAS NOT RAISED DURING THE GREEK PRIME MINISTER'S VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES, SAID MR.REPPAS

    During Prime Minister Simitis' visit to the United States the issue of human rights was not raised, because such an issue does not exist, stated greek government Dimitris Reppas. He added that the discussion in the US House of Representatives and the Senate on the greek province of Thrace is held after an initiative by the legislative bodies and not after an initiative by the US administration. Mr.Reppas also stated that on May 8th Prime Minister Simitis will meet with US Assistant Secretary of State John Cornbloom who will visit Ankara, Athens and Nicosia.

    According to the greek government spokesman, with the meetings mr.Simitis will have with his counterparts in Britain and Ireland, the first round of the information campaign concerning the issues of greek national interest, is being completed. Specifically, with the british government will be discussed and European Union issues, while mr.Reppas also pointed out that the visit in Dublin is important because Ireland will hold the EU Presidency in the next six months.

    [06] COME TO THRACE, CONGRESSMEN...

    A discussion scheduled for April 25 by a United States Congressional Committee on the issue of the Muslim minority living in Thrace, has, rightfully, caused Greece's displeasure.

    Of course, as the greek government made clear yesterday through the Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Greece has no need to worry, neither anything to fear from this discussion. On the contrary, "even those who have negative intentions towards Greece, following this procedure they will realize that there is no human rights issue in Thrace," as the Foreign Minister characteristically stated. In order to be fair and objective, we should mention that this Congressional Committee has at times adopted a favorable for our country view on many issues, while at the same time has condemned Turkey for the oppression of Kurds and other minorities.

    However, despite all this, it is only natural that we would be chagrined by the american act. Turkey, as it has done in other similar instances, will try to propagandize this session by trying to promote its baseless arguments regarding the so-called "oppression' of the Muslims living in Thrace. While, on the other hand, the greek reaction is self-understood. More so, as the Defense Minister Gerasimos Arsenis has rightfully pointed out, this act by the Congressmen is taking place just a few days following the Premier's visit to the US and his talks with President Bill Clinton.

    Based on all this, it is merely a logical conclusion that we can all arrive at. Perhaps, we could assess, as the President of the Political Spring opposition Party Antonis Samaras has done, that this discussion is part of a wider plan to empower Turkey's role as a "protector" of Thrace's muslim minority.

    All those who are coming around lately touting their concerns for the rights of Thrace's Muslim-Greeks, must relaize that Greece, based on the laws it has instituted and the practices it follows in the region, falls into the category of countries that are trailblazers in defending human rights at an international level. And, with this, we wish to propose to the Greek Parliament to invite all the members of this american Congressional Committee to visit Thrace in order to see the situation up close. In turn, we call them to travel to nearby Turkey so that they can make the necessary comparisons.

    More than sixty years since the Lauzane Accord, thorugh which the rights and resonsibilities of Thrace's Muslim minority were secured, our muslim brothers who live in the Xanthi and Rodopi municipalities, differing from the rest of the citizens only in religous beliefs, are constantly improving their positions, and along with their christian neighbors, are securing the process of a smooth accession intot the big "european family" of the 21st century. On the contrary, Turkey's propaganda is becoming increasingly vacuous, since it systematically tries to alter truth and to misinform the international public opinion, without paying attention to reaity itself: the impressive increase of the muslim population, the securing of the political and individual rights, the protection of religious freedom, the complete freedom of press and, in general, the application of the main principles found in western democracies. Principles, which, on the contrary, remain deficient in the turkish state. Therefore, let the american congressmen discuss Thrace, but, in turn, let them visit our country so they can see up close how Greek Muslims live.

    [07] TURKISH MINISTRY RELEASES DECLARATION ON TERRORISM

    The Turklish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a press declaration concerning the terrorist attack against Greek tourists in Cairo last week, through which it stated that "Turkey, as a country which has suffered and lost a lot from terrorism, learned with sorrow the death of 18 greek tourists in a terrorist attack against a group of tourists on April 18 in Cairo.

    "Whatever its nature and aims should be, such attacks, against which the whole civilized world must stand, has once again confirmed the longstanding turkish view underlying the importance of international cooperation for an effective struggle against terrorism.

    [08] TURKEY HAS A PROBLEM ONLY WITH GREECE, SAYS TURK MINISTER

    In the area of bilateral cooperation, Turkey has no problem with any of its neighbors, except Greece, stated today the turkish Foreign Ministry's spokesperson, Omer Akbel.

    Mr. Akbel added that following the improvement of relations with Yugoslavia, Turkey's relations with all the region's countries are satisfactory.

    He further expressed his government's satisfaction for the improvements in the region, referring to the mutual recognition between Belgrade and Skopje, adding that the further improvement in relations between Belgrade-Anlkara will unavoidably include the appointment of ambassadors.

    [09] TURKISH PRESS WARNS THAT HAGUE VENUE WON'T BE FAVORABLE FOR ANKARA

    Turkey will be found in a difficult position if it resorts to the International Court of Justice at The Hague for the Imia ilsets issue, stated the political columnist Yialtsin Doyan of the turkish daily "Milliyet", in a balanced analysis of the Imia islets issue.

    The columnist reveals that "during the previous week in London, turkish foreign ministry officials examined the Aegean Sea issues with distinguished legal experts who specialize in the area of International Law.

    "From a legal point of view, it was emphasized to the Turk officials that Turkey will be found in a difficult position regarding the Imia islets issue."

    Turkey's only faint hope is to mainly gain impressions from the Yilmaz appeal and to achieve the resort of the Aegean Sea issues as a whole to The Hague, something that the greek govenrment will not even discuss, according to the columnist.

    Doyan also wrote that Turkey, by resorting to the Hague with the Aegean Sea issues packaged into a whole, hopes that it will be able to support its arguments that "the 131 islets do not belong to anyone, therefore they constitute a neutral zone. Its goal is to discuss these items one by one. However, Turkey's position in Imia is weak," Doyan opined, adding that "that's why the Greek Premier reminded US President Clinton during their meeting that the turkish Foreign Ministry in 1977 had stated to the greek government that the rock islets Imia (Kardak as Doyan referred to them) belong to Greece."

    The turk colunmnist also criticized Tansu Ciller's government for its policies and noted that "the foreign policy followed during the last three years is full of dead ends. Clear examples are the relations with the European Union and with the neighbors."

    Another turkish paper's columnist Mehmet Ali Birand who writes for the Sabah, has voiced his criticism over his country's foreign policy.

    Birand referred to talks he held with various diplomats in Washington, London and Bonn where all of whom emphasized that "Turkey must resolve its foreign problems with Greece and Cyprus and its interior issue of the Kurds, as soon as possible.

    "The most important issue is," Birand wrote, "that if Turkey does not act and propose creative formulas and does not proceed towards a peaceful direction in the Aegean and Cyprus, the others will start to pressure us and impose their solutions upon us.

    "Turkey does not want to get to the point where it must give in order to be saved, but if it wishes to be relieved in the Aegean and the Mediterranean, it must find an approach which will not offend its sovereign rights."

    [10] ALBANIAN BOAT FIRES AT GREEK COAST GUARD NEAR CORFU

    A greek coast guard patrol boat policing the Corfu coast, detected an albanian speed boat not bearing the proper navigation lights and was moving towards the greek territorial waters today. According to coast guard reports, the boat was chased, but when the patrol boat came within a 150-meter distance, the Albanian crew fired upon it and in turn sailed towards the Kefali cape in Albania.

    [11] HALF-SUNK PASSENGER SHIP TO BE REFLOATED BY GREEK COAST GUARD

    Coast guard units are trying to stop oil from spilling in the sea from the tanks of Poseidon Express, the passenger ship that was holed Friday near the island of Paros.

    Merchant Marine Ministry spokespeople stated that special crews were pumping tons of oil from the ship's tanks, a process which, according to Ministry officials, will last at least two days although the small traces of pollution on the port is currently under control.

    According to reports, it will take one month to refloat the half-sunk Poseidon and tow it outside the port of Paros.

    The passenger ship was holed yesterday when, in trying to avoid collision with another passenger ship, it fell on a reef near the island of Paros.

    The 7,284-ton Poseidon Express was carrying hundreds of passengers who were safely evacuated from the ship before it went down since the captain successfully brought it to port. According to police officials, the accident occured because the captains of Poseidon and the other ship, the 4,555-ton Naias II, entered into the small port simultaneously and had no time to make the proper maneuvers.

    [12] ITALY'S ELECTIONS GAIN SATISFACTION OF GREEK GOVERNMENT

    The italian election outcomes have met the satifaction of the greek government as, according to government spokesperson Dimitris Reppas, Rome appears to have gained a progressive government.

    "Elections express the majority position of each country's people," stated Mr. Reppas, referring to the italian elections.

    [13] THE TOURISTS FROM YUGOSLAVIA USUALLY DO NOT CAUSE PROBLEMS FOR THE GREEK POLICE, STATED GREEK MINISTER OF PUBLIC ORDER

    The tourists from Yugoslavia visiting Greece, usually do not create problems for the greek police, stated greek Minister of Public Order mr.Kostas Geitonas to the yugoslav magazine "Interview".

    Mr.Geitonas mentioned that the yugoslav citizens, who have committed criminal offences, are being arrested by the responsible agencies if they try to enter greek territory and the appropriate procedures for each case are being followed. He said that those incidents are very few, adding that no differences have arisen between the two countries as a result of arrests of yugoslav citizens. Mr.Geitonas also stressed that due to the increased crime and mainly, because of the Balkan states' geo-political position, there is great need for police cooperation among those countries especially, on issues concerning the illegal drug-trafficking, car theft and illegal arms trade.

    For the improvement of cooperation on police level, the greek Minister of Public Order proposed a meeting to be held in Thessaloniki in which will participate representatives of the Balkan countries Security Agencies and Interpol.

    He underlined that Greece since 1990 faces a big problem with the albanian economic refugees, who are entering the country illegally and in large numbers.

    Mr.Geitonas stated that the large number of Albanian illegal immigrants in Greece has a strong effect on the crime increase. He said that in the criminal acts that are being brought to light the participation of the albanians is big especially, in crimes against private property, the illegal drug-trafficking and the exploitation of human beings.

    [14] THE PRESIDENT OF THE GREEK GENERAL CONFEDERATION OF LABOUR IS ON A VISIT TO SKOPJE

    Both sides came to the conclusion that there is a need to reach a final solution to the issue of FYROM's name, stressed among others mr.Christos Protoppapas President of the Greek General Confederation of Labour, who is on an official visit to Skopje heading a delegation made up of confederation officials.

    Mr.Protoppapas stated that the duty of the workers' unions is to create a positive climate and the necessary conditions for mutual understanding, while they also can help toward the increased communication. The greek delegation had already talks with FYROM's workers' unions, while it will also meet with Labour Minister Naser Zimberi and later with FYROM's President Kiro Gligorov. Mr.Protoppapas pointed out that the talks were held in a positive climate and were exchanged views on the country's development and on the problem of unemployment, while it was requested the Greek Confederation's intervention for the promotion of cooperation with the European Workers' Unions Association.

    [15] THE 20TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPEAN MUNICIPALITIES AND REGIONS (CEMR) IN THESSALONIKI ON MAY 22-25

    The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) 20th General Assembly will be held in Thessaloniki on May 22-25 with the participation of Greek President Stephanopoulos, European Commission President Jacques Santer and 2.000 mayors from all over Europe. In the General Assembly meeting are also expected to participate, Greek Prime Minister Simitis and European Parliament President Klaus Haench.

    In a press conference, Mayor of Thessaloniki and the Assembly's Organising Committee Chairman Konstantinos Kosmopoulos stated that it is the biggest meeting of elected representatives of the local and regional authorities in Europe. Mr.Kosmopoulos stated that this important event, that is being held while the Inter- Governmental Conference is in progress, will play a decisive role in the planning of the future course of the local and regional administrations. The main political issue that will be discussed by the assembly is the Inter-Governmental Conference and the preparation for the Maastricht Treaty revision. Secretary-General of CEMR ms.Gateau, also stated that a political resolution will be adopted before the end of the meeting which will express the united voice of European cities and regions and will be addressed to all the state governments.

    Also, Kalamaria's mayor and vice-President of Central Association of Greek Municipalities and Communities mr.Thrasivoulos Lazaridis pointed out that the relations of friendship and cooperation among the nations will be strengthened through this meeting.


    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [16] EGYPT AND LEBANON ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE TOURIST MAPS AS A RESULT OF THE SITUATION IN THE MIDDLE EAST

    According to british nespaper "Daily Telegraph", Egypt and Lebanon are not included anymore in the tourist maps, as a result of the bloody terrorist attack against greek tourists in Cairo and also because of the israeli shelling of Lebanon.

    The massacre of the 18 greek tourists in Cairo is the worst violent incident targeting foreigners in the past four years in Egypt.

    News agencies' reports mention that the islamist organization "Gamaa al-Islamiya", which assumed the responsibility for the attack, had stated that it was targeting israeli tourists in reprisal for the israeli attack in Lebanon. The organization in its statement does not apologize for its mistake that led to the killing of greek tourists and calls foreign tourists not to visit Egypt.

    [17] THE ISSUE OF SOVEREIGNTY IS NOT NEGOTIABLE, STATED THE CYPRIOT GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN

    The cypriot government reiterated today, through its spokesman Yiannakis Kasoulidis, that the issue of sovereignty is not negotiable and stressed that the United States are very well aware of this greek-cypriot position.

    The above were stated by mr.Kasoulidis when he was called to comment on the visit to Ankara, Athens and Nicosia by US Assistant Secretary of State John Cornbloom and on the statements made by the new US Ambassador to Nicosia Kenneth Bril in front of the responsible US Senate Committee.

    [18] US ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE EMBARKS ON TOUR FOR CUPRUS

    United States Assistant Secretary of State John Cornbloom embarks today on a tour regarding the cypriot issue and the greek-turkish relations, making Turkey his first stop.

    In Ankara, Mr. Cornbloom is expected to discuss these issues with the Turk Premier Mesut Yilmaz, the leader of the True Path Party Tansu Ciller and the Foreign Minister Emre Gonensay. He will also meet with the leaders of the turkish military forces.

    Following Ankara, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State will visit Athens and on Thursday will travel to Nicosia.

    Cypriot President Glafkos Clerides stated yesterday that the cypriot government had asked that Mr. Cornbloom visit the region prior to the start of the new american initiative.

    [19] FYROM'S FOREIGN MINISTER PESSIMISTIC OVER NAME ISSUE

    FYROM Foreign Minister Ljubomir Frchkovski reiterated his country's insistance on the Skopjan constitutional name, while at the same time appearing pessimistic on the ppossibilitty if arrivng at a solution to the name issue soon, speaking to the press after his meeting with his Check counterpart Josef Zelenet. Mr. Zelenet, who is on a formal visit to Skopje since yesterday, referred to the issue of NATO's eastern expansion, emphasizing that this is considered to be unavoidable although it is not yet known when it will take place.

    Referring to Russia's opposition to former Warsaw- pact countries entering NATO, Mr. Zelenet stated that this issue could perhaps be solved at the Summit of countries-members of NATO, scheduled to take place next year. Mr. Zelenet, who is the first Foreign Minister from a Central Europe country to vist Skopje, was received by FYROM President Kiro Gligorov and President Branco Chervenkovski. BASIC TREATY SIGNED ROMANIA AND RF YUGOSLAVIA Romanian and Yugoslav Foreign Ministers Teodor Melescanu and Milan Milutinovici signed today the Basic Treaty between the two countries.

    "The treaty is based on the European principles and it is a clear expression of two countries' willingness to integrate into continental cooperation as quickly as possible, at the European standards level," Romanian Foreign Minister Melescanu said after talks with his Yugoslav counterpart Milutinovic, who is currently on an official visit to Bucharest.

    "This Treaty is in total agreement with the relations between two countries and proves that Romania is of great support to Yugoslavia," Milutinovici stressed. Milutinovic's opinion is that the ties between Yugoslavia and Romania would always be privileged ones and said he is for the abrogation of the visa for Romanian citizens travelling to Western countries, as the Serbs did not need visas for any European country,

    Milan Milutinovic met Romania's President Ion Iliescu today and both highlighted the importance of implementing the friendship treaty between Romania and Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav Foreign Minister met also the President of the Romanian Senate Oliviu Gherman.

    [20] INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON KOSSOVO REGION UNDER THE AEGIS OF THE EU

    The European Parliament decided in an resolution to convoke an international conference on Kossovo under the aegis of the European Union, a EU press release stated.

    In the document, the European Parliament said it was "premature" to speak about re-establishing normal diplomatic relations between EU countries and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, unless negotiations were opened between Belgrade and representatives of the Kossovo Albanians. Therefore, Parliament members asked EU states not to establish diplomatic relations with Belgrade

    [21] ROMANIA AND TURKEY TO SIGN A FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

    A free trade agreement between Turkey and Romania will be signed, the Turk President Suleyman Demirel announced after talks with his Romanian counterpart Ion Iliescu last week in Constantza.

    According to the Romanian News Agency Rador, the Turkish President, stressing that relations between the two countries are extremely good, also said that the trade relations between Romania and Turkey in 1995 amounted to more than $570 million, and they are expected to reach $1 billion by the end of this year.

    [22] NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL WILL VISIT BULGARIA ON MAY 2

    The official visit to Bulgaria by NATO Secretary- General Javier Solana has been confirmed, Bulgarian Foreign Ministry's spokesman Karasimeonov announced.

    Mr. Solana will have successive meetings with Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski, Defense Minister Dimiter Pavlov, Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, President Zhelyu Zhelev, National Assembly Chairman Blagovest Sendov and representatives of the parliamentary committees of Foreign Policy and National Security.

    [23] BULGARIAN - GERMAN FORUM

    Bulgarian Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski is attending the constituent meeting of the Bulgarian-German Forum, which began today in Bonn and will be continued until tomorrow.

    The organization is aiming to intensify the Bulgarian-German relations through centralization of the institutions, dealing with the expansion of bilateral cooperation.

    Meetings with prominent German politicians and his German counterpart Klaus Kinkel are also on Mr. Pirinski's agenda.

    [24] ALBANIAN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS RESCUED BY THE ITALIAN COAST GUARD

    A Turkish ship with 250 immigrants from Albania was captured by the Italian coast guard. Among the immigrants were many women and children. Eight crew members were arrested for illegal smuggling of immigrants.

    A few days ago, the Italian coast guard rescued 140 Indian immigrants from a burning freighter off the Sicily coast, Italian police sources reported.

    [25] THE 4TH GENERAL MEETING OF THE ASSOCIATION OF BALKAN CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE IN SOFIA

    The 4th general meeting of the Association of Balkan Chambers of Commerce is taking place on April 22-23 in Sofia. Among the issues are the common demand of the Balkan delegates from their governments to liberalize the trade in the region, to step up construction of Balkan infrastructure, to sign government-sponsored interbank agreements and set up a banking association. Free trade zone negotiations will start with Romania this week and with Poland after May 15, while preliminary talks are expected to be held with Hungary soon, Trade and Foreign Cooperation Minister Atanas Paprizov told a news conference last week.

    [26] NATO INTEGRATION FAVORED BY 92 PERCENT OF ROMANIAN MILITARY STAFF

    Romanian Army General Chief of Staff Dumitru Cioflina will attend during April 23-25 the conference "Shape '96" and NATO's military commitee meeting scheduled to take place at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels.

    "I think we shall be invited to begin the individual dialogue with NATO on April 26," Dumitru Cioflina said in an interview with the Free Europe on April 18

    According to General Ciofina, 92% of the Romanian military staff favor NATO integration, representing a very firm option.

    According to Romanian News Agency Rador, General Cioflina said that within the Partnership for Peace Programme Romania had the most developed relationship with Hungary, allowing common activities to take place regularly, and building mutual confidence.

    [27] UKRAINE TO SOLVE THE TRANSDNESTRIAN CONFLICT

    A final solution to the Transdnestrian conflict cannot be found without Kiev's involvement, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Konstantin Hriscenko stated for the Ukrainian public radio. Hriscenko announced a first session of consultations between a delegation of the self-proclaimed Transdnestrian republic and the Ukrainian Foreign Minister in Kiev and a meeting on April 24 between Moldovan President Mircea Snegur and the Transdnestrian leader Igor Smirnov.

    [28] TIRASPOL BLOKED ANY WITHDRAWAL OF RUSSIAN MILITARY EQUIPMENT TO CHISINAU

    The separatists in the Transdnestrian region blocked any transfer of Russian military technique or equipment to the army of the Republic of Moldavia, Romanian News Agency Rador reported.

    An agreement on the evacuation of equipment which belong to Russian troops stationed in the Transdnester signed last year between Moscow and Chisinau provided for the transfer. Lt. General Valeri Yevnevic, commander of the Russian troops deployed on the Moldovan territory, specified that he was astonished by the stand of the Transdnestrian self-proclaimed leadership which agreed to such a move. He said their attitude was "uncivilized."

    [29] BELGRADE ASSIGNS AMBASSADOR TO SKOPJE

    The ambassador assigned to FYROM by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is Serbia's former Minister of Public Order and current secretary-general of Yugoslavia's Executive Body Mr. Zoran Yianaskovic.

    Although there has not been a formal announcement made by the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry, according to diplomatic sources, Mr. Yianaskovic will be the new Ambassador to FYROM, follwiong the recent recognition s at an embassy-level between Belgrade and Skopje.

    [30] TURK JOURNALIST TORTURED TO DEATH BECAUSE HE DIDN'T KNOW THE NATIONAL ANTHEM

    A turk journalist, Metin Gotkepe, was tortured to death by men of the turkish security forces, because he did not know by heart his country's national anthem, reported the dutch newspaper "De Telegraaf" quoting turkish officials.

    According to the dutch paper, the incident took place in Turkey three months ago.


    Complete archives of the Macedonian Press Agency bulletins are available on the MPA Home Page at http://www.mpa.gr/ and on the U.S. mirror at http://www.hri.org/MPA/

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