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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 98-05-10
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
Last Update: 23:27 GMT+2
NEWS IN DETAIL
 GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER ON THE WEU CONFERENCE
Web Posted: 18:57 GMT+2Rhodes, 10/05/1998 (MPA) Greece's Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos has stated that the Western European Union is now becoming a more effective instrument for ensuring peace and stability in Europe than it was in the past, given the
tripartite relationship between the European Union, the WEU and NATO.
"The WEU will gradually, on the basis of that defined by the Amsterdam treaty, become the defense arm of the European Union while at the same time it constitutes the European pillar of the North Atlantic Alliance," Mr. Tsochatzopoulos said.
Moreover, he added that the development of the European defense structures is dependent on the relations between Europe and the United States within the framework of NATO.
Mr. Tsochatzopoulos, responding to a relevant question, stated that the issue of the Kossovo crisis will definitely be discussed during the conference.
When asked if Cyprus had a place in the new defense structure being formed in Europe, Tsochatzopoulos said that the WEU secretary-general Jose Cutilheiro had recently visited Nicosia, as part of WEU procedures also being undertaken with other candidate EU countries. Cyprus recently officially applied to be made an associate member of the WEU.
 GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER ON WEU CONFERENCE
Web Posted: 18:57 GMT+2Rhodes, 10/05/1998 (MPA) Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos arrived at the island of Rhodes today, accompanied by alternate foreign Minister George Papandreou, in order to take part a the Western European Union conference that is set to begin tomorrow.
Mr. Pangalos stated that Greece, which currently holds the WEU's rotating presidency, will propose that the conference address the Kosovo crisis.
Specifically, Mr. Pangalos stated that there were "certain thoughts on the WEU playing some role" in defusing the Kossovo situation, focusing on the parameters "that could lead to the problem spreading, such as weapons trafficking and the unchecked activity of armed bands".
He added that we will have to see what the intentions of our other colleagues are and, chiefly, what the general disposition is towards giving the WEU a role comparable to that (played) in Albania, for example. "
 ALBANIAN PREMIER IN THESSALONIKI, MEETS WITH HIS PATRIOTS
Web Posted: 18:57 GMT+2Thessaloniki, 10/05/1998 (MPA) Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano, after addressing an event organized by the Federation of Northern Greek Industries (SBBE) in Thessaloniki, met with representatives of the local Albanian community whom he assured that their country is working hard in order to improve its economy and living conditions.
He also called on the Albanians living in Greece, either illegally or having obtained the working permit, to condemn the crime outbursts that have been noted in order to avoid generalizations that incriminate all.
 THESSALONIKIíS AIRPORT REPLACED BY KAVALAíS UNTIL TUESDAY
Web Posted: 17:57 GMT+2Thessaloniki, 10/05/1998 (MPA) Thessaloniki's "Macedonia" airport is to be closed for maintenance works until Tuesday, May 12, being replaced until then 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.
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, where flights 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.
 ALL GREEK BANKS TO BE CLOSED TOMORROW
Web Posted: 17:57 GMT+2Thessaloniki, 10/05/1998 (MPA) All of Greece's banks are to be closed tomorrow in protest of the state's decision to privatize Ionian Bank, a subsidiary of the state-run Commercial Bank.
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou stated that the government decided to sell Ionian Bank on the grounds that it could not remain competitive in the domestic banking sector under its present status. Moreover, he said that the option to merge Ionian Bank with Commercial Bank - its main shareholder - was rejected as carrying a greater social and economic cost.
Ionian is Greece's fourth largest commercial bank, with assets of 2.2 trillion drachmas and a 7.2 per cent share in the domestic banking market, holding around 6 per cent of loans and 7.5 per cent of deposits nationwide.
The bank has about 4,350 employees and 220 branches.
 ALBANIAN PREMIER FAVORS PEACEFUL SOLUTION TO KOSSOVO
Web Posted: 17:57 GMT+2Thessaloniki, 10/05/1998 (MPA) Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano, in a press conference given during his visit to Thessaloniki, has expressed his wish to reach a peaceful solution to the Kosovo crisis.
He expressed his belief that both sides involved in the crisis will "proceed to a courageous dialogue, which will offer long-term solutions." Mr. Nano said Tirana is not worried about the possibility that a crisis in Kosovo will drag his country into political instability. He added that the reason for his statement is that his government applies a careful and moderate policy and is not alone, rather,
the entire international community stands with it.
When asked if he was ready to meet with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, Mr. Nano responded yes, if the latter "takes off his military uniform."
 BANK OF GREECE GOVERNOR: NO NEW DEVALUATION OF DRACHMA
Web Posted: 17:57 GMT+2Athens, 10/05/1998 (MPA) The governor of the Bank of Greece Lukas Papademos has categorically stated that here will be no new devaluation of the national currency, the drachma, since, as he explained at an interview, such move would not allow Greece to attain accession at the Economic and Monetary Union.
Moreover, Mr. Papademas stated that the state will try to contain inflation at around 2% by the end of the year 1999.
 WEU MEETING BEGINS IN RHODES TOMORROW
Web Posted: 17:32 GMT+2Rhodes, 10/05/1998 (MPA) The two-day conference of the Western European Union's Defense and Foreign Ministers is to begin at the island of Rhodes tomorrow.
Greece, which is presently holding the WEU's six-month rotating presidency, will be represented by the Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos.
The participants at the conference are to set forth the issue of Kossovo and the need to take measures in order to avert a worsening of the crisis.
Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Minister has stated that he will bring up his country's accusations that the PKK has set up offices in Greece,. Mr. Tsochatzopoulos has said that if Turkey does this then it shall received the appropriate answer.
 RICHARD HOLBROOKE MEETS WITH RUGOVA, MILOSEVIC
Web Posted: 18:57 GMT+2Belgrade, 10/05/1998 (MPA) United States presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke has embarked on a visit to Kossovo where he met with Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova as well as with Serb President Slobodan Milosevic who has "made it clear he does not want an international negotiator."
Mr. Holbrooke told reporters that he had "no idea" about how to resolve the Kosovo crisis and was concerned after the Albanians warned him that "violence is spreading like wildfire."
At least 150 people have been killed in fighting between Serbian police and guerrillas of the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) this year.
Mr. Holbrooke refused to discuss the substance of his talks with Rugova telling reporters: "We really believe confidential negotiations have to remain confidential to have the slightest chance of success.
"While I would not describe the effort we are engaged in as a formal negotiation it is nonetheless a discussion and the issues are very complicated. We are not presenting a U.S. plan. We are here to listen and learn and what we've heard here has been very useful."
The US envoy spent 4-1/2 hours with Mr. Milosevic on Saturday. According to Tanjug news agency, Mr. Milosevic as saying that "the question of international representatives in seeking a solution to the (Kosovo) problem was removed from the agenda by the national referendum."
Serbs voted overwhelmingly against foreign mediation in a referendum last month although many fear the effects of sanctions.
"President Milosevic is always tough," Holbrooke told reporters who asked how his meeting went in Belgrade.
He was due to go to Tirana, the capital of neighboring Albania proper, after his talks with Rugova and to return to Belgrade on Monday.
 EU AND EBRD FINANCE BULGARIAN POST-PRIVATIZATION PLAN
Web Posted: 17:57 GMT+2Sofia, 10/05/1998 (MPA) A new investment fund for Bulgaria has been established by the European Union (EU) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The Bulgarian Post-Privatization Fund (BPPF) will provide new equity capital and management assistance to medium-sized enterprises that are presently unable to raise private equity capital. It will invest in both privatized and new private sector enterprises in Bulgaria. Through its Phare program, the EU is providing ECU 15 million for the Fund, while the EBRD is investing ECU 30 million. The BPPF will have a total capital of ECU 40 million. The fund manager, Europa Capital Management A.S., is co- investing ECU 10 million. "We expect the BPPF to act as a center of excellence", commented European Commissioner for Foreign Affairs Hans van den Broek on the occasion of the signature of the agreement. "It will help Bulgaria attract foreign investment and promote fair competition, transparency and opening of markets." Over the period 1990-97 the EU has provided a total of ECU 605 million in grants to assist the Bulgarian economic and social transition process.
 G7 AND RUSSIA ISSUE COMMUNIQUE OVER CYPRUS
Web Posted: 18:27 GMT+2London, 10/05/1998 (MPA) The world's richest nations, along with Russia, have reiterated their support of the United Nations efforts for a Cyprus settlement and for the resumption of talks between the island's two communities.
The G7, plus Russia, have issued a communique wherein they called upon Greek and Turkish Cypriots "to resume the direct talks under the auspices of the UN" and urged all concerned "to work for a settlement on the basis of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation".
According o press reports, they also expressed concern "that new developments in the military sphere, including an increase in force levels and the upgrading of sophisticated weaponry may risk further raising tension in this already unstable region".
Reiterating their support for UN efforts for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem the G7 and Russia particularly urged Greece and Turkey, "to promote good relations between them and to work for the peaceful settlement of their bilateral differences".
The Cyprus problem was discussed during a meeting of Foreign and Finance Ministers of the G7 and Russia. The issues they discussed included Iraq's compliance with UN weapons inspections, Iran's new government, the situation in Nigeria, Cambodia and the Balkans.
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