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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 98-05-21

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.


MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH
Thessaloniki, May 21, 1998

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] ECONOMY, LABOR MINISTERS AND STRIKERS MEET TO NO AVAIL
  • [02] PRESIDENT, PM OPEN GREEK INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION ASSEMBLY
  • [03] COMMUNIST PARTY OF GREECE HOSTS INT/L CONFERENCE IN ATHENS
  • [04] NATIONAL ECONOMY MINISTER ADDRESSES SEV CONFERENCE
  • [05] GREECE'S POSITIONS ON TURKEY-EU ASSOCIATION COUNCIL ARE FIRM
  • [06] PARLIAMENT DELEGATION ATTENDS NATO CONFERENCE
  • [07] GERMAN INDUSTRIALISTS CHAIRMAN SAYS: SPEED UP PRIVATIZATIONS
  • [08] DIMITRIS DIMITRIADIS IS THE NEW MAYOR OF THESSALONIKI
  • [09] PAPANTONIOU: NO TAX CUTS
  • [10] KARAMANLIS WILL BE IN KATERINI THIS EVENING
  • [11] THE OA MANAGEMENT DECIDED TO HIRE 50 PILOTS
  • [12] TURKEY WILL NOT PARICIPATE IN THE EU ASSOCIATION COUNCIL
  • [13] GREEK LABOUR MINISTER CALLS FOR DIALOGUE WITH STRIKERS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [14] TURKEY-EU ASSOCIATION COUNCIL TO BE HELD ON MONDAY
  • [15] ITALY, GREECE ARE ALBANIA'S TOP TRADE PARTNERS
  • [16] KOSSOVO'S ALBANIANS TO ATTEND TOMORROW'S TALKS WITH SERBS
  • [17] NATO DEFENSE UNDERSECRETARIES TO MEET AT TIRANA TOMORROW
  • [18] EXHIBITION OF WORKS BY GREEK PAINTERS LIVING IN HUNGARY
  • [19] TALKS BETWEEN ETHNIC ALBANIANS AND SERBS ON KOSOVO
  • [20] IMF: DANGER OF SOCIAL EXPLOSION IN TURKEY
  • [21] PRESIDENT CLERIDES SUGGESTS THE FULL DEMILITARIZATION OF CYPRUS
  • [22] DEMIREL-YILMAZ ARGUMENT OVER THE SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] ECONOMY, LABOR MINISTERS AND STRIKERS MEET TO NO AVAIL

    The Minister of National Economy and Finance Yiannos Papantoniou, along with the Minister of Labor Miltiades Papaioannou met with representatives from the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) and the General Confederation of Bank Employees (OTOE) yesterday, in order to attempt to ease the crisis that has erupted in the banking sector where striking employees are opposed to privatization plans.

    Mr. Papantoniou rejected the unionist's request to restart talks for the sale of Ionian Bank from ground zero. He said that the decision to sell the bank is final. As a result, Ionian employees are continuing their indefinite strike, joined by the workers at Bank of Greece who are holding a work stoppage today in a sign of solidarity.

    GSEE has called a nationwide strike for May 27.

    [02] PRESIDENT, PM OPEN GREEK INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION ASSEMBLY

    Prime Minister Kostas Simitis opened the session of the annual assembly of the Greek Industries Association (SEV) yesterday, which was also attended by the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos. The Premier defended his economic policy, stating that they are placing the country on the right track, that is the way to Economic and Monetary Union accession.

    Moreover, he stated that the privatization of state-owned enterprises will help revitalize the public sector. Also, referring to the social security reforms, he said that an overhaul of the nation's pension funds is the only way to guarantee that there will be any money in the till to pay the pensions of today's young workers.

    The Minister of Finance and National Economy Yiannos Papantoniou was among the speakers at the event, along with SEV's Chairman Jason Stratos and the chairman of the German Industries Association Hans-Olaf Henkel.

    [03] COMMUNIST PARTY OF GREECE HOSTS INT/L CONFERENCE IN ATHENS

    Marking the eightieth year since its founding and the 150 anniversary since the publication of the Communist Manifesto, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) will organize an international conference in Athens of 60 communist and workers' parties from 50 countries between Friday and Sunday.

    According to an announcement issued by KKE, this meeting will focus on the better coordination and development of common action, aimed at "processing a common strategy against imperialism."

    Orestis Kolozov, a member of KKE's political bureau and the party's chief of international relations committee, stated that a wide exchange of views will take place during the three-day meeting concerning the major contemporary problems faced by the working class.

    The meeting's agenda includes developments in the European Union, the role of the West European Union and NATO and the role played by various organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

    Among the parties to attend the international conference are the Communist Party of the United States, the Communist party of Japan, The Workers Party of Belgium and the South African Communist Party.

    Specifically, 13 parties from western Europe will attend, along with 12 from the Far and Near East, 12 from the former Soviet Republic, eight from eastern Europe and the Balkans, seven from Asia and Australia, four from Africa, three from north America and one from Latin America.

    [04] NATIONAL ECONOMY MINISTER ADDRESSES SEV CONFERENCE

    Addressing the annual assembly of the Greek Industries Association (SEV) yesterday, National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou called for more dynamic initiatives, more investment and mergers or strategic alliances.

    "The private sector has an important responsibility for the course of the economy and convergence, and must assume this responsibility by participating more actively in the common effort," he said.

    Moreover, Mr. Papantoniou assured his audience that the government's announcements regarding the restructuring of the public sector would be adhered to, describing plans as "a particularly difficult endeavor" in the "most crucial conjuncture" in the country's political history.

    "But we must complete it," he stressed.

    [05] GREECE'S POSITIONS ON TURKEY-EU ASSOCIATION COUNCIL ARE FIRM

    Greece‘s alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou is to reiterated the Greek government's firm positions, regarding the improvement in Greek-Turkish relations, during the Association Council to take place on Monday between the European Union and Turkey.

    The Greek government will differentiate itself from its 14 allies in the EU, who will adopt the common position to be presented by the British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency.

    According to the BBC, during yesterday's discussion at the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER), Greece's representative Pavlos Apostolides requested that joint positions by the "15" include a statement that relations between Turkey and the Union depended on a settlement of Greek-Turkish differences (concerning the Imia islets) through the International Court at The Hague, a solution of the Cyprus problem and improvement in Turkey's human rights record, as was decided last December at the Luxembourg Summit,

    These requests were not accepted by the other representatives.

    [06] PARLIAMENT DELEGATION ATTENDS NATO CONFERENCE

    A nine-member Greek parliamentary delegation is to depart for Barcelona tomorrow in order to attend NATO's four-day spring session.

    The delegates will tackle a variety of issues such as the Alliance's expansion through the accession of Eastern European countries, security in the greater Middle East region and the role of the mass media in war situations.

    [07] GERMAN INDUSTRIALISTS CHAIRMAN SAYS: SPEED UP PRIVATIZATIONS

    The German industrialists' chairman Dr. Hans-Olaf Henkel, addressing the annual assembly of the Greek Industries Association (SEV) yesterday evening, urged Greece to intensify its reforms of the public sector through privatization.

    Describing Greece as "a key-country" in southern Europe, and "an important partner in Europe", Dr. Henkel said that "we want Greece to become a member of EMU fast, and for this reason it must be fully serious in its efforts for restructuring the public sector and speeding up privatizations."

    He stressed that in order for Greece to meet the criteria for the Economic and Monetary Union it must be serious about restructuring its public sector, speeding up privatization and continuing the fiscal consolidation.

    The German businessman warned that the introduction of the Euro would bring strong competition for Greece, stressing that more than 50 per cent of the Greek economy was in the hands of the state - more than in Poland or Hungary. He said that Greece's overall public debt remains high with over 100 percent of GDP and this necessitates further efforts and structural reforms.

    "At present the state-owned sector depends on subsidies that, in turn, make it hard for Greece to keep its budget deficit under control."

    Nevertheless, Mr. Henkel opined that the Greek government is moving in the right directions and expressed his wish that it will be able to achieve results quickly.

    "We want Greece to become a member of EMU soon," he stated, acknowledging that the ambitious reforms program which was announced in March will not be an easy task to accomplish.

    He saluted the Greek government for the measures it is undertaking in the sectors of social insurance and flexibility in the work sector.

    "The entry of the drachma into the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) in March 1998 was a n important step for Greece on its way of entering EMU. Substantial progress has been achieved over the past years.

    "Inflation has fallen from a peak of almost 25 percent and is targeted to fall to 2.4 percent this year.

    "Long-term interest rates were brought down to the one-digit area (nine percent). As a result, economic growth jumped up to 3.5 percent and is expected to attain 3.7 percent this year."

    In closing his address, Mr. Henkel stated that Greece plays a strong and important role in Europe, "be it to contribute to the architecture of the 21st century, be it as a central force to promote economic and political cooperation in southern Europe and the entire Mediterranean region.

    "Greece needs Europe and the European Union," Mr. Henkel said, adding "but Europe also needs Greece.

    [08] DIMITRIS DIMITRIADIS IS THE NEW MAYOR OF THESSALONIKI

    City councilor Dimitris Dimitriadis was elected mayor of Thessaloniki today. The candidature of Mr. Dimitriadis was the only one submitted in the meeting of the New Democracy city councilors, who are holding the majority in the City Council.

    Mr. Dimitriadis got 22 votes and 2 ballots were blank. In statements he made after his election, he appealed for unity among the ND group of city councilors.

    [09] PAPANTONIOU: NO TAX CUTS

    There will be no new regulations for the unsettled tax cases and no tax cuts, stressed minister of national economy and finance Yiannos Papantoniou. He also said that the round of privatization for 12 state-owned companies and 3 banks has closed.

    The statement was made after the meeting he had with the prime minister in view of the International Monetary Fund report that will be made public today and concerns the Greek economy. According to Mr.Papantoniou, the report recognizes the positive course and the stability of the Greek economy.

    [10] KARAMANLIS WILL BE IN KATERINI THIS EVENING

    Leader of right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy Kostas Karamanlis will be in the town of Katerini, in northern Greece today within the framework of a four-day tour to the prefectures of Pieria, Imathia and Pella.

    Mr. Karamanlis is expected to arrive at Katerini's "Ekavi" cultural center at 7pm this evening to meet with representatives of production forces in the local Chamber and with a delegation of the agricultural associations' union.

    Later in the evening, he will speak at a gathering of party supporters, while tomorrow morning he will meet with the Metropolite, the prefect and the mayor of Katerini.

    [11] THE OA MANAGEMENT DECIDED TO HIRE 50 PILOTS

    The Olympic Airways Board of Directors decided to hire 50 pilots, while the program for the reform of the state airline is in progress.

    Also, the OA Board of Directors decided to sell two Boeing 727 passenger planes, announced an open competition for the hiring of an adviser to hammer out an operational and strategic handling plan as well as, the immediate repayment of the state debts to the company.

    [12] TURKEY WILL NOT PARICIPATE IN THE EU ASSOCIATION COUNCIL

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, on the occasion of the impending Association Council between Turkey and the EU, which is due to be held in Brussels, on Monday, noted today that Greece will insist on its stances which are in accordance with the firm principles of the European Union and the resolutions of the Luxembourg summit.

    Meanwhile, it was reported that Turkey will not participate in the Association Council. However, if the Council takes place, Greece will be represented by its Alternate Foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou.

    [13] GREEK LABOUR MINISTER CALLS FOR DIALOGUE WITH STRIKERS

    Greek Labour minister Miltiadis Papaioannou called today on the trade union leadership of the employees of the Ionian Bank to proceed to a dialogue stressing that the government is open to that eventuality.

    Mr Papaioannou noted that all the announced resolutions focused on the interests of the employees, the bank and thus on the general interests of the national economy.

    The Labour minister stressed that there is a governmental resolution concerning the bank sale through transparent procedures underlining that this is a complex process which is why the bank workers were invited to participate in it.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [14] TURKEY-EU ASSOCIATION COUNCIL TO BE HELD ON MONDAY

    The Association Council between Turkey and the European Union is to be held in Brussels on Monday.

    Greece is expected to fully distance its position from those adopted by its European allies. Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou stated that the Greek government will reiterate its firm positions regarding improvements in Turkey-EU relations.

    [15] ITALY, GREECE ARE ALBANIA'S TOP TRADE PARTNERS

    Italy and Greece are the top trade partners of Albania whose import-export volume last month amounted to 12 billion lek, with Italy holding approximately 45 percent of commercial trade, while Greece represented 28 percent of the total commercial trade.

    This month Albania slightly improved the commercial exchange ratio with Greece, marking a slight increase of export volume with 90 million lek and a drop of imports from Greece with 160 million lek, compared to March.

    [16] KOSSOVO'S ALBANIANS TO ATTEND TOMORROW'S TALKS WITH SERBS

    Albanians in Kossovo will attend tomorrow's first round of talks with Serbian government representatives, party officials said, as NATO reviewed military options to prevent violence spilling out into the region.

    Fehmi Agani, an advisor to Kossovo's Albanians leader Ibrahim Rugova, said yesterday: "We will go to the talks, where we will defend our position in favor of an independent Kossovo."

    The news came as NATO said it was reviewing military options to protect Yugoslavia's neighbors Albania and Macedonia from unrest in Kossovo which has killed around 160 people since a Serbian police started a crackdown in late February.

    Germany is against deploying NATO troops, saying Wednesday the problem has to do with internal politics, while the US Defense Secretary William Cohen said no option was being ruled out, but efforts were being focused on a political resolution.

    However, Agani was cautious on the chances of success at Friday's talks, accusing Belgrade of imposing a blockade on food supplies to Kossovo since last week.

    "That is a factor which could compromise the success of the discussions," he said.

    Serbia's trade ministry has denied that such trucks carrying food were being stopped at the entry to Kossovo and said such reports were false, according to Serbia's official Tanjug news agency.

    The talks, which are to be held weekly, were agreed during a meeting last week between Rugova and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, itself brokered by the United States.

    Friday's talks will take place in Pristina, the province's main town.

    [17] NATO DEFENSE UNDERSECRETARIES TO MEET AT TIRANA TOMORROW

    The defense undersecretaries of the states-members of NATO are to meet at the Albanian capital, Tirana, tomorrow.

    The undersecretaries of defense from Greece, Albania, Italy, FYROM, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey and the Unites States will attend the session, along with officials from the alliance and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

    [18] EXHIBITION OF WORKS BY GREEK PAINTERS LIVING IN HUNGARY

    A significant exhibition of works by Greek painters that will last until June 14 was inaugurated recently in Budapest.

    The exhibition was inaugurated by Greek ambassador to Hungary Ioannis Fotopoulos, who praised the work of the Greek artists and stressed the significance of the exhibition for the Greeks living in Hungary.

    [19] TALKS BETWEEN ETHNIC ALBANIANS AND SERBS ON KOSOVO

    The leaders of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo will participate in the first round of talks with representatives of the Serb government that will be held tomorrow, according to a statement by officials of the Democratic Union, the largest Albanian party in the province.

    Meanwhile, NATO is considering ways to handle the situation militarily and stop the crisis from spreading.

    [20] IMF: DANGER OF SOCIAL EXPLOSION IN TURKEY

    According to an International Monetary Fund report, the likelihood of a social explosion in Turkey is visible.

    The course of the country's economy, in spite of the assurances given by its government, is disappointing and is not expected to bring any improvement to the situation and give the right to Ankara to request its accession into the European Union.

    The above are mentioned, among others, in an article published in the Turkish newspaper "Milliyet". In the article it is stressed that the Yilmaz government "celebrates" for the inflation drop but it is pointed out that, according to the International Monetary Fund report, this is mainly the result of the drop in the price of oil observed in the international market.

    [21] PRESIDENT CLERIDES SUGGESTS THE FULL DEMILITARIZATION OF CYPRUS

    Cypriot president Glafkos Clerides reiterated the readiness of his government to discuss measures that will contribute to the demilitarization of the island.

    In the speech he delivered in the opening of the 23rd International State Fair of Cyprus, Mr. Clerides pointed out that the tension in the island is not the result of the Cypriot defense efforts but the result of the strong Turkish presence on the island and added that all those who are interested in easing the tension should back the Cypriot government proposal for the full demilitarization of the island.

    Mr. Clerides also stated that the Cypriot government will not accept neither the recognition of the Turkish Cypriot regime nor the upgrading of the status of the de facto situation in the Turkish occupied northern Cyprus. He underlined that any such effort from third countries will be rejected immediately and at the same time, will have negative effects on the relations of the Cypriot Republic with the country in question.

    [22] DEMIREL-YILMAZ ARGUMENT OVER THE SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT

    Turkish president Suleiman Demirel sharply criticized prime minister Mesut Yilmaz, due to the latter' s objections concerning proposals by mr Demirel, over the change of the government system in effect to a "political democracy".

    Mr Demirel, whose term of office as president ends in the year 2000, has repeatedly stressed the necessity for a change in the country's government system in order to prevent eventual crisis.


    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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