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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 98-05-05

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

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH

Thessaloniki, May 5, 1998


NEWS IN ENGLISH

[A] NATIONAL NEWS

[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS


TITLES

[A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] GREEK PREMIER MEETS WITH PRESIDENT STEPHANOPOULOS

  • [02] ECONOMY & FINANCE MINISTER ANNOUNCES CHANGES IN LABOR

  • [03] GREEK PARLIAMENT COMMITTEES BRIEFED ON EMU

  • [04] GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN ON STATE-CHURCH RELATIONS

  • [05] GREECE BECOMES PRESIDENT OF COUNCIL OF EUROPE TODAY

  • [06] GREEK COMMITTEE OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CELEBRATES IN THESSALONIKI

  • [07] THESSALONIKI’S AIRPORT REPLACED BY KAVALA’S FOR A WEEK

  • [08] NEW CHAIRMAN APPOINTED ON GREEK BOURSE

  • [09] PREMIER: THE COURSE TO EMU IS CRYSTAL CLEAR

  • [10] THE PRIME MINISTER BRIEFED PRESIDENT STEPHANOPOULOS

  • [11] KARAMANLIS COMMENTED ON GREECE’S EU COURSE

  • [12] 3.500 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS WERE EXPELLED FROM NORTHERN GREECE

  • [13] MORE THAN 100.000 CHILDREN ILLEGALLY EMPLOYED IN GREECE

  • [14] BOMB EXPLOSION AT THE OFFICE OF THE GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN


  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [15] TENSION MOUNTS IN KOSSOVO

  • [16] NEW ATLANTIC INITIATIVE VISITS ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH VARTHOLOMEOS

  • [17] EU COMMISSIONER REJECTS HOLBROOKE’S STATEMENT

  • [18] CYPRIOT GOVERNMENT FAVORS DEMILITARIZATION OF ISLAND

  • [19] SOLANA-TSOCHATZOPOULOS MEETING

  • [20] GITONAS IS VISITING TIRANA

  • [21] ALBANIA: ENERGY AND MINERALS ATTRACT GREEK INVESTMENTS

  • [22] SAKIK RETRACTED HIS STATEMENT ON THE PKK INVOLVEMENT IN PALME’S ASSASSINATION

  • [23] JOURNALISTS IN TURKEY ARE IN TRAGIC CONDITION

  • [24] ALBRIGHT TRIES TO LIMIT THE RUSSIAN ACTIVITIES IN CYPRUS

  • [25] TERRORIST TRAINING CENTERS IN ALBANIA FOR KOSOVO’S ETHNIC ALBANIANS

  • [26] HANDZISKI: GREECE IS A RESPONSIBLE INTERNATIONAL FACTOR


  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] GREEK PREMIER MEETS WITH PRESIDENT STEPHANOPOULOS

    Prime Minister Kostas Simitis is to be received by the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos today whom he will brief on the results of the Euro Summit held over the weekend in Brussels.

    Tomorrow, Mr. Simitis is to meet with the country’s political leaders whom he will also brief on the Euro Summit. On Thursday, the Premier will give a press conference while the leader of the main opposition party New Democracy’s Kostas Karamanlis will give a press conference today.

    [02] ECONOMY & FINANCE MINISTER ANNOUNCES CHANGES IN LABOR

    The Minister of National Economy and Finance Yiannos Papantoniou announced that restructure measures are to be drawn and changes will take place in the labor and insurance sectors.

    Moreover, Mr. Papantoniou ruled out the possibility of another devaluation of the drachma, stated that the unemployment rate in Greece will be reduced by the year 2001 and added that by the year 2002 automobile prices will be lower thanks to the Euro. However, the main opposition party New Democracy is stating that the whole matter is a national failure.

    [03] GREEK PARLIAMENT COMMITTEES BRIEFED ON EMU

    The deputy presidnet of the Hellenic Parliament and President of the European Affairs Committee, Loukas Apostolidis, yesterday chaired a meeting of the European affairs special permanent committee and the economic affairs permanent committee whose members he briefed on the latest developments regarding Economic and Monetary Union and a briefing on the next European affairs committee conference (COSAC).

    The meeting was attended by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Finance Undersecretary Nikos Christodoulakis.

    Mr. Apostolidis referred to the introduction of the euro in Europe and recognition by its partners of Greece's fast adjustment rate to targets set by the European Council.

    In turn, Mr. Papantoniou briefed the two committees on developments in Brussels over the past three days as well as on the government's policy over the next 18 months in an effort to achieve the targets set, stressing that dialogue and social understanding will secure a smooth course towards 2001.

    [04] GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN ON STATE-CHURCH RELATIONS

    The government spokesperson Dimitris Reppas stated yesterday that relations between the church and state are defined by the Constitution and its laws, referring to the statements made by new Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Christodoulos.

    Moreover, the spokesman said that the government and political parties were exercising their policy by placing national interests above all.

    Archbishop Christodoulos noted during an informal dinner in Volos on Sunday that "the role of Orthodoxy in today's Europe is a leading one, and it is this role that the Church is mainly called upon to play for a substantial unity between European peoples".

    Christodoulos further observed that the Orthodox Church had the same role to play for the unity of the Greek nation, and as a result any effort to separate Orthodoxy from national life would be a blow to national unity and cohesion.

    In response to a letter signed by 52 ruling PASOK deputies and one main opposition New Democracy deputy recommending a change in the parliamentarians' oath from swearing in the name of the "Holy and Indivisible Trinity of One Essence" to swearing in the name of the Greek people and the nation", Mr. Reppas said that Constitutional revision is a parliamentary process, adding that "this position (changing the oath) is not among the government's proposals for revising the Constitution."

    [05] GREECE BECOMES PRESIDENT OF COUNCIL OF EUROPE TODAY

    Greece takes over the presidency of the Council of Europe today, succeeding Germany, in a special ceremony to be held in Strasbourg this evening.

    The Greek term will be highlighted by an emphasis on human rights, namely upgrading the role of the European Court of Human Rights, the protection of human rights, cooperation between Council of Europe member-states on refugee problems and the issue of illegal immigration, according to the Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    A number of events are to be held in Athens during the CofE presidency, among them a summit of social security ministers in Malta, an unofficial meeting of sports ministers and a meeting of representatives of the parliamentary assembly with the Committee of Permanent Representatives in Santorini.

    [06] GREEK COMMITTEE OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CELEBRATES IN THESSALONIKI

    The “campaign” of the Greek committee of Amnesty International is to get underway today within the framework of worldwide celebrations for the 50-year anniversary since the adoption of the Ecumenical Declaration for Human Rights.

    The celebration will be held at Thessaloniki’s City Hall and will also feature a brief address by the local chairman of Amnesty International Kostis Papaioannou.

    Moreover, the Hellenic Parliament will celebrate the Council of Europe's (CoE) 50th year anniversary of its founding this evening , which coincides with the assumption of the CoE presidency by Athens.

    Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and party leaders will address the event.

    [07] THESSALONIKI’S AIRPORT REPLACED BY KAVALA’S FOR A WEEK

    Thessaloniki’s “Macedonia” airport is to be closed for maintenance works for a week during which time it will be replaced by the “Alexander the Great” airport in the northern Greek city of Kavala.

    Following a decision drawn by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Olympic Airways, Kavala's airport will handle about 50 flights daily between May 8 and 14. The timetable allows 43 international flights from European countries daily and 7-8 domestic and charter flights carrying tourists from Europe.

    The runway works at Thessaloniki's airport are part of a month of projects to improve air access to the airport, whereflights are often postponed due to fog.

    Also, the airport's ILS I landing system will be upgraded to ILS II, boosting visibility by 80 percent.

    [08] NEW CHAIRMAN APPOINTED ON GREEK BOURSE

    The governor of Macedonia- Thrace Bank, Stavros Kouniakis, will take over the post of chairman at the Athens Stock Exchange in two weeks , succeeding Manolis Xanthakis, who recently resigned.

    Mr. Kouniakis, who also heads the Thessaloniki Stock Exchange , intends to maintain his post there even though procedures call for his resignation from the Thessaloniki bourse.

    He defended this move by citing the fact that Mr. Xanthakis also headed both institutions during his term as chairman.

    Mr. Kouniakis praised his predecessor, stating that he radically changed the Athens share market.

    [09] PREMIER: THE COURSE TO EMU IS CRYSTAL CLEAR

    Prime Minister Kostas Simitis was received by the president of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos today whom he briefed on the recent decisions adopted during this weekend’ European Union Summit over the Euro and the European Monetary Union (EMU) .

    Mr. Simitis stated that the framework of the course towards the EMU is now crystal clear and this makes is equally clear to Greece as to what measures the state needs to take and what the timetables are.

    Tomorrow, Mr. Simitis is to brief the country’s political leaders and on Thursday will hold a press conference where he will outline the state’s policy that will ensure Greece’s accession to the EMU in the year 2001.

    [10] THE PRIME MINISTER BRIEFED PRESIDENT STEPHANOPOULOS

    The prime minister briefed president Stephanopoulos on the results of the summit meeting in Brussels.

    The summit meeting reached significant agreements on Europe and the framework of the course toward the economic and monetary union has now become clear, while it has also become clear for Greece what it must do and the timetable in which it has to achieve it, said Mr. Simitis after the meeting.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos pointed out the significance of all that happened in Brussels, underlining that the interest in those developments is great.

    [11] KARAMANLIS COMMENTED ON GREECE’S EU COURSE

    Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis stated in a press conference today that May 2nd, on which the EU summit meeting on the “Euro” was held, should be a day of sorrow. He said that in effect all the advantages of Greece’s accession into the European Union as an equal member 19 years ago, have been canceled and annulled.

    Greece was downgraded to a second rate partner said Mr. Karamanlis and added that it is the only country that has not joined the “Euro” because it was unable to meet the convergence criteria. The other three countries namely, Britain, Sweden and Denmark had decided themselves not to join the “Euro” at this time.

    Responding to the question if there are ways to overcome the difficult situation, Mr. Karamanlis stated that great reforms are needed and underlined that there is a need to change the way the public administration operates. He also called for the presence of the state in the sector of production and suggested spending cuts in the public sector.

    [12] 3.500 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS WERE EXPELLED FROM NORTHERN GREECE

    Over 3.500 illegal immigrants were located and expelled in northern Greece in the first three months of 1998 and the overwhelming majority of them were Albanians.

    Based on statistical data provided by the Thessaloniki Police Department, 3.500 illegal immigrants were arrested for illegal entry in the first three months of 1998. Of them 89% were Albanians, 5% Romanians, 2% Bulgarians and 4% had different nationalities.

    The number of illegal immigrants from Iraq and Pakistan, who come to Greece through Bulgaria and FYROM, is very increased compared to last year.

    [13] MORE THAN 100.000 CHILDREN ILLEGALLY EMPLOYED IN GREECE

    In Greece, 118.000 young people, aged between 15 and 18, and 4.816 children, up to the age of 14, are illegally employed in agricultural, building, tourism and industrial businesses.

    A substantial number of children do not have the potential to complete their primary or secondary education. In Thessaloniki, 225 under aged children and 9.210 children aged between 15 and 19 have their rights violated as they are illegally employed and downgraded.

    This information was announced today by the president of the Labour Centre of Thessaloniki Panagiotis Avramopoulos, during a press conference, which he gave on the occasion of receiving 5 children from Asia who participate in the World Rally against Children Employment and Exploitation.

    [14] BOMB EXPLOSION AT THE OFFICE OF THE GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN

    A bomb exploded tonight at the entrance of the office of the Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas. The unknown perpetrators went to mr Reppas’ office, situated on the 5th floor, without being noticed and placed gas canisters and a bottle containing flammable material at the entrance, which caused the explosion.

    No serious damage was caused as the staff and neighbours immediately extinguished the fire.


    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [15] TENSION MOUNTS IN KOSSOVO

    Tension is mounting in the strife-torn region of Kossovo, between the Serbs and the Albanian-speaking locals.

    According to reports, Serb policemen stationed at the Bonosevac village near the border with Albania have seized 200 members of the Kossovo Liberating Army and have opened fire. Unconfirmed reports mention dozens of injured.

    More than 150 people have died since a Serb police crackdown two months ago against so-called Kossovo Liberation army. In raids on Albanian villages and on alleged smugglers, the authorities claim to have confiscated more than five tons of weapons. Also yesterday about 1,500 independence-minded Kossovo Albanians held their 24th daily march in downtown Pristhina. The independence movement has grown stronger, and a western area of Kossovo is virtually controlled by the clandestine and militant Liberation Army.

    [16] NEW ATLANTIC INITIATIVE VISITS ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH VARTHOLOMEOS

    A delegation of the New Atlantic Initiative, which held its third annual congress in Istanbul over the weekend, met with the Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos.

    In his address at the dinner he hosted in honor of the delegates, the Ecumenical Patriarch stressed the contribution of the countries of eastern Europe and Russia to European integration.

    The New Atlantic Initiative is a foundation contributing to and promoting the conservative school of thought on strategic issues on both sides of the Atlantic.

    [17] EU COMMISSIONER REJECTS HOLBROOKE’S STATEMENT

    The European Union’s Commissioner for external affairs Hans van den Broek has rejected the accusations made against the Union by the US presidential envoy for Cyprus Richard Holbrooke, after an impasse following the latter's mission to the island over the weekend.

    In a press conference in Nicosia yesterday, Mr. Holbrooke, said that the EU’s decision to open accession talks with Cyprus but not with Turkey was one of the reasons for his mission's impasse.

    Mr. van den Broek said he disagreed with the US diplomat, adding that the EU had adopted during the Luxembourg summit last December "a strategy very clearly in favor of Turkey's EU accession."

    Underlining Cyprus' "legitimate application" for EU accession, he said "we have worked very hard for years so that the Turkish-Cypriot community takes part in the accession talks."

    [18] CYPRIOT GOVERNMENT FAVORS DEMILITARIZATION OF ISLAND

    The Cypriot government is in favor of demilitarizing the island and setting up an international force which would be directed by the United Nations Security Council. Cypriot government spokesman Christos Stylianides stated that a Russian proposal for demilitarization and transforming the UN peace-keeping force into an international force contains elements which Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides outlined in his proposal for the demilitarization of Cyprus.

    President Clerides submitted his proposal to the UN Secretary- General in December 1993 and suggested that the National Guard and the Turkish-Cypriot armed forces be disbanded in parallel with the withdrawal of Turkish forces from Cyprus.

    The proposal also calls for the delivery of armaments to the UN peace-keeping force for custody and the establishment of a fund where money saved from disbanding the armed forces should be deposited for the benefit of both communities.

    "Our firm policy was and continues to be the demilitarization of Cyprus and the presence of an international force with terms of reference from the Security Council," Mr. Stylianides said.

    The Russian proposal, he added, is "an indication of the interest of the Russian Federation, a permanent member of the Security Council, and the big importance of the idea for demilitarizing Cyprus.

    [19] SOLANA-TSOCHATZOPOULOS MEETING

    Greek minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who attends the Western European Union parliamentary assembly meeting, met in Madrid today with NATO secretary-general Javier Solana.

    The NATO secretary-general confirmed his intention to come to Greece for the Western European Union summit meeting that will take place in Rhodes next Monday and Tuesday. Turkish minister of defense Ismet Sezgin will also attend the Rhodes meeting.

    [20] GITONAS IS VISITING TIRANA

    Greek minister of health Kostas Gitonas is on a three-day visit to Tirana at the invitation of his Albanian counterpart Leonard Solis.

    Mr. Gitonas will meet in the Greek embassy building with members of the Human Rights Union Party and members of the clergy of the autocephalous Christian Orthodox Church of Albania, while he is expected to sign an agreement of cooperation in the sector of health with his Albanian counterpart.

    [21] ALBANIA: ENERGY AND MINERALS ATTRACT GREEK INVESTMENTS

    Energy and minerals attract the interest of Greek investors, according to the Albanian News Agency, ATA.

    Based on diplomatic sources cited by ATA, the Albanian embassy in Athens promotes the idea for the reestablishment of the bilateral Energy Committee for the exploitation of the waters of the Viosa River through the construction of hydroelectric projects.

    Regarding the mining sector, an agreement has been signed between the Bitinska Mines and the Greek company Narko. Based on the agreement, 50.000 tons of minerals will be mined on behalf of the Greek company mentioned.

    [22] SAKIK RETRACTED HIS STATEMENT ON THE PKK INVOLVEMENT IN PALME’S ASSASSINATION

    The Kurdish PKK is not responsible for Palme’s assassination stated former deputy leader of PKK Semdin Sakik retracting his initial testimony.

    According to information published by the Turkish newspaper “Zaman”, citing State Security Court sources in Diyarbakir, Sakik retracted his statement on the alleged PKK involvement in the Ulof Palme murder case on April 27, three days after his testimony.

    Sakik’s allegations had as a result the firing of journalists Mehmet Ali Birad and Cezgin Candar after the former PKK deputy leader had maintained that they are in close cooperation with the Kurdish party.

    [23] JOURNALISTS IN TURKEY ARE IN TRAGIC CONDITION

    Journalists in Turkey face tragic conditions, according to Turkey’s Press Council president Oktai Ektsi.

    On the occasion of the Freedom of Press World Day that was celebrated on May 3, he mentioned that in the past 6 years 25 journalists have been murdered in Turkey, while 104 were attacked by security forces.

    Mr. Ektsi also referred to data provided by the 1997 report issued by the “Correspondents without borders” organization according to which, at least 255 journalists were arrested in Turkey in 1997 and 91 of them were still in prison on the last day of 1997.

    [24] ALBRIGHT TRIES TO LIMIT THE RUSSIAN ACTIVITIES IN CYPRUS

    The efforts of the United States to persuade Russia not to deliver the S-300 missiles to Cyprus are made in order to limit the Russian activities in the region, stated US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in a press conference after the end of the talks she had with leading members of the Chinese government in Peking, according to the newspaper “Russia Today”.

    Commenting on the “New York Times” article according to which, Moscow will honor its contract and will deliver the defense missiles to Cyprus in spite of the US objections, Ms. Albright stated that the talks continue in order to put a limit on Russia’s activities.

    The US government has repeatedly tried to block the sale of the ground-to-air missiles, while Turkey has threatened with a military attack in case this happens. According to the “New York Times”, Gevgeni Ananiev, director of the Russian weapons company “Rosvooruzhezine”, has announced that Russia will send the missiles to Cyprus at the end of August.

    [25] TERRORIST TRAINING CENTERS IN ALBANIA FOR KOSOVO’S ETHNIC ALBANIANS

    The Serb newspaper “Politika” maintains that the allegations of the Serb authorities according to which, training centers of ethnic Albanian terrorists from Kosovo are in operation in Albania, have been confirmed by four Albanians who were arrested while trying to illegally cross the Yugoslav-Albanian borders with weapons and ammunition.

    According to the newspaper, the four Albanians confessed that the group of 300 Albanians recently located by border guards had been trained for about 10 days in Albania in training centers near the Yugoslav borders in the villages of Kukes, Bairam, Tsuri and Tropogia, where training centers for Albanian terrorists from Kosovo are believed to be in operation.

    [26] HANDZISKI: GREECE IS A RESPONSIBLE INTERNATIONAL FACTOR

    The Foreign minister of FYROM Blagoj Handziski, who is in Strasbourg, underlined today that Greece is a responsible international factor and wished the country good luck for the assumption of the presidency of the Council of Europe.

    Referring to the dispute between Greece and FYROM, mr Handziski stressed the need to resolve the disagreement regarding the appellation issue and noted that his country supports the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia membership in the Council of Europe, on the condition that it will be recognized as new state.


    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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