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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 98-05-29

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 29, 1998

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] CYPRIOT FOREIGN MINISTER IN ATHENS TODAY
  • [02] SPAIN'S KING JUAN CARLOS AND QUEEN SOPHIA TO VISIT VERGINA
  • [03] INTERNATIONAL FUR CONGRESS TO BEGIN IN KASTORIA TODAY
  • [04] IONIAN BANK'S STRIKING STAFF INTENT ON DEFYING COURT ORDER
  • [05] ALPHA CREDIT BANK MAY OFFER TO BUY IONIAN
  • [06] CABINET MEETS TODAY TO DISCUSS TWO DRAFT BILLS
  • [07] SPAIN'S ROYAL COUPLE VISITED THE ANCIENT TOMBS OF VERGINA
  • [08] SIMITIS: THE IONIAN BANK WILL BE SOLD
  • [09] KARAMANLIS IS VISITING THE CITY OF LARISA
  • [10] OLYMPIC AIRWAYS WILL CUT ITS TICKET PRICES TO 20 EUROPEAN CITIES
  • [11] THE FIRST STRIKE OF FOREIGN WORKERS IN GREECE HAS ENDED
  • [12] THE CARVED TOMBS IN PETRA, JORDAN ARE UNIQUE IN THE WORLD
  • [13] SPAIN'S ROYAL COUPLE DEPARTED FROM GREECE
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [14] US SECRETARY OF STATE TO MEET SEPARATELY WITH PANGALOS, CEM
  • [15] PASCAL MILO WELCOMES NATO'S DECISION
  • [16] GREECE SUPPORTS NATO'S DECISION TO DEFUSE KOSSOVO CRISIS
  • [17] GERMAN FM: TURKEY SHOULD SEEK RECOURSE TO THE HAGUE
  • [18] THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER MET IN LUXEMBOURG WITH THE US SECRETARY OF STATE
  • [19] THE GREEK AIRPORTS ARE SAFE, STATED THE US ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF COMMERCE
  • [20] THE GENOCIDE OF THE ARMENIANS CREATES PROBLEMS TO THE FRENCH- TURKISH RELATIONS
  • [21] NEW FORMS OF TOURISM IN GREECE ARE PROMOTED IN BELGRADE'S INTERNATIONAL FAIR
  • [22] GREECE IS FIRST ON THE LIST OF FOREIGN INVESTORS IN FYROM
  • [23] CYPRIOT FOREIGN MINISTER CONFIRMS THE INSTALLATION OF THE S- 300 MISSILES

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] CYPRIOT FOREIGN MINISTER IN ATHENS TODAY

    Cyprus' Foreign Minister Yiannakis Kasoulides is to arrive in Athens today, where he will meet with government officials.

    Mr. Kasoulides is accompanied by the Attorney General of Cyprus Alekos Markides and government spokesperson Christos Stylianides.

    Mr. Kasoulides has stated that his visit to Greece is within the framework of the regularly -held overview of developments on the Cyprus issue and the island's accession course to the European Union.

    [02] SPAIN'S KING JUAN CARLOS AND QUEEN SOPHIA TO VISIT VERGINA

    Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia, the sister of Greece's former king Konstantine, currently on a five-day, official visit to Greece, are to visit the St. Sophia church in Thessaloniki this morning and then the archeological sites of Vergina.

    The Spanish royals arrived in Thessaloniki yesterday afternoon where they were received by the Minister of Macedonia- Thrace Philippos Petsalnikos who hosted a formal dinner in their honor.

    In his address prior to the formal dinner, King Juan Carlos stated that Thessaloniki is the everlasting capital of ancient and modern Macedonia and stressed that his visit to Greece would have been incomplete had it not included Thessaloniki. He also likened Thessaloniki's trademark White Tower with Seville's tower.

    Immediately after his arrival at Thessaloniki, Juan Carlos laid a wreath at a memorial commemorating the thousands of Greek Jews exterminated by the Nazis during World War II. These were descendants of about 20,000 Jews who arrived in the city after their eviction from Spain in 1492.

    At the memorial, King Juan Carlos was greeted by the president of Thessaloniki's Jewish community Andreas Sefihas.

    The royal couple also visited the city's Byzantine museum and the church of St. Dimitrius.

    [03] INTERNATIONAL FUR CONGRESS TO BEGIN IN KASTORIA TODAY

    An international fur congress is to begin at the city of Kastoria, in northwestern Greece, today, featuring the participation of furriers from 12 countries including Russia, the US and China.

    Specifically, delegations from Russia, Ukraine, China, the Czech Republic, Romania, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Hungary, Italy and the US will be attending the launch of the three-day international fur congress.

    The prefecture of Kastoria has a long tradition in fur production from breeding to the finished product and accounts for approximately six percent of total foreign exchange inflows into Greece annually.

    Kastoria has 2,700 fur producing enterprises,1,700 of which are exclusively export-oriented. Russia and the Far East are evolving into the industry's major importers. According to official data, the fur industry in the region employs 13,000 people.

    Greek furriers treat 8.5 percent of world fur and leather production, and produce 30 percent of fur products worldwide.

    [04] IONIAN BANK'S STRIKING STAFF INTENT ON DEFYING COURT ORDER

    Although a Greek court ruled yesterday that the strike conducted by Ionian Bank's disgruntled staff is illegal and has barred its resumption, the undaunted employees are determined to press on with their protest to the privatization of the bank.

    The Athens-based First Circuit Court ordered workers at state-controlled Ionian Bank to end the strike they have held since May 11. In its ruling, the Court said union leaders would be fined GRD400,000 (about $1,200) on a daily basis if the order was ignored. As for the employees, under Greek law, staff members failing to return to work after such a ruling also face the possibility of dismissal. The "defiance" strike is endorsed by the Federation of Bank Employee Unions (OTOE) which demands that the government start talks with the workers from a "zero basis". Meanwhile, the Bank's administrative officers have called on Ionian's staff to turn up for work and also called on labor unions not to obstruct anyone from carrying out his duties. In its reasoning, the Court held that the striking Ionian workers have essentially barred thousands of customers from having access to their savings accounts, since there isn't even a skeleton staff on duty to serve them.

    [05] ALPHA CREDIT BANK MAY OFFER TO BUY IONIAN

    Alpha Credit Bank, the country's biggest private bank, is said to be willing to buy embattled state Ionian Bank, according to a "Financial Times" newspaper report.

    According to yesterday's article, Yiannis Kostopoulos, Alpha Credit's chairman, said that the bank would seek shareholders' approval next month for an 80-90 billion drachma capital increase to bid for a 51 percent stake in Ionian, which is to be offered for sale on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    "We intend to make a firm offer. We would pay quite a big premium on the bank's book value in order to demonstrate our confidence in the capabilities of Ionian's workforce,"

    Mr. Kostopoulos was quoted as saying. He said Ionian would not be merged with Alpha Credit "because of the problems that would arise with trying to bring two separate pension funds in line."

    Most of Ionian's 160 branches would continue to operate to strengthen the Alpha Credit network, Mr. Costopoulos said.

    The FT quoted analysts as saying that Alpha Credit was likely to offer about 150 billion drachmas for 51 percent of Ionian, which has a book value of 90 billion drachmas.

    Alpha Credit Bank said in a statement released to the media later in the day that its offer would reflect Ionian Bank's real value, and not its daily share price fluctuations.

    Based on yesterday's closing price, Ionian Bank's market capitalization for a 51 percent stake of its share capital would total 185 billion drachmas, more than double its book value.

    [06] CABINET MEETS TODAY TO DISCUSS TWO DRAFT BILLS

    The Cabinet is to meet today in order to discuss two draft bills, one concerning the protection of Greece's cultural heritage and the other regarding vocational and professional training.

    According to the government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, Prime Minister Kostas Simitis is not scheduled to meet with his Turkish counterpart Mesut Yilmaz on the sidelines of the forthcoming Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) summit in Yalta on June 4-5. Mr. Reppas said the Greek and Turkish premiers "may shake hands" but this cannot be considered a meeting.

    [07] SPAIN'S ROYAL COUPLE VISITED THE ANCIENT TOMBS OF VERGINA

    Spain's royal couple visited the ancient tombs at the archaeological site of Vergina. In spite of the tight security measures by the police some of the pro-monarchists who gathered to welcome the royal couple managed to approach Queen Sofia offered her flowers and exchanged a few words with her.

    After the visit, King Juan Carlos had a short talk with the Spanish journalists and thanked them for the coverage of his visit to Greece.

    It should be reminded that King Juan Carlos stated last night that Thessaloniki is the eternal capital of ancient Macedonia and underlined that his visit to Greece would not have been complete if it did not include Macedonia.

    According to the Spanish foreign ministry spokesman, everything went well in the visit of the royal couple to Greece and that in the contacts with the Greek government the good climate between the two countries was confirmed, while Greece and Spain also confirmed the agreements they have signed within the framework of the European Union.

    The royal couple of Spain will depart for Madrid this afternoon.

    [08] SIMITIS: THE IONIAN BANK WILL BE SOLD

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis reiterated at the cabinet meeting today that the decision for the sale of the Ionian Bank is final and according to statements made by Ionian Bank Employees' Union president Yiannis Markakis their strike action will continue.

    Meanwhile, new violent incidents erupted between striking Ionian Bank employees and police forces outside the bank's computer terminal in Pireaus.

    The presiding board of the Greek Bank Employees' Union meets today to decide on 48hour continuous strikes in the Ionian Bank.

    [09] KARAMANLIS IS VISITING THE CITY OF LARISA

    Leader of right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy Kostas Karamanlis is visiting the central Greek city of Larisa within the framework of his tour to the region of Thessaly.

    In his statements, Mr. Karamanlis called for the postponement of the collection of the farmers' taxes and the immediate assessment of the damages caused to crops by the recent hailstorm in the region.

    Tomorrow, he will visit the region of Karditsa and on Sunday he will be in the town of Trikala.

    [10] OLYMPIC AIRWAYS WILL CUT ITS TICKET PRICES TO 20 EUROPEAN CITIES

    The Greek state-owned airline Olympic Airways will reduce its ticket prices in June within the framework of the campaign launched to attract more customers. The company will adopt a program of summer offers and those interested will have the opportunity to make a round trip to 20 European capitals and large cities at the price of 75.000 drachmas.

    The destinations are Amsterdam, Berlin, Vienna, Brussels, Budapest, Geneva, Zurich, Copenhagen, Istanbul, London, Marseilles, Milan, Munich, Moscow, Napoli, Dussendorf, Paris, Rome, Stuttgart and Frankfurt.

    Meanwhile, the European Commission calls for the exemption of Olympic Airways from the state law on the way new employees will be hired, threatening that otherwise it will not approve the increase of the company's share capital which is necessary for the renewal of its fleet.

    In the letter the European Commission Transportation Directorate is expected to send to the Greek government it will be stressed that the involvement of a public agency in the way new employees will be hired constitutes a direct intervention of the state to the operation of Olympic Airways not allowing the company to be flexible and have the personnel it needs.

    [11] THE FIRST STRIKE OF FOREIGN WORKERS IN GREECE HAS ENDED

    The first strike action by foreign workers in Greece has ended after intense negotiations with their employers in the town of Agios Georgios in the prefecture of Magnisia in central Greece.

    About 200 Albanian and Romanian workers agreed with their employers on their wages and working hours and returned to the fields after a five-day strike. The dispute was settled with the intervention of Agios Georgios community president and the Workers' Union Center of the city of Volos.

    [12] THE CARVED TOMBS IN PETRA, JORDAN ARE UNIQUE IN THE WORLD

    Hundreds of tombs of Macedonian architecture in southern Jordan, the only ones in the world which are hewed out of rocks, make up the necropolis of Petra which flourished in the period from the 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD.

    The impressive tombs that were discovered in 1870, most of them pillaged, are made based on the Macedonian architecture. They are 45 meters high and 43 meters wide and according to University of Amman professor Naif Haddad, they are the only carved tombs of Macedonian architecture in the world. According to the Jordanian university professor, the Macedonian tombs became the model for the early Hellenistic architecture.

    The above were included in a presentation that was made by professor Haddad in the international conference held in the northern Greek city of Veria under the title "Alexander the Great: From Macedonia to the World".

    [13] SPAIN'S ROYAL COUPLE DEPARTED FROM GREECE

    The King of Spain Juan Carlos and his wife Queen Sofia, who departed from Thessaloniki, today, were very pleased by their visit to Greece.

    According to the Spanish Foreign ministry spokesman Hoakin Peres Viyanueva, in the contacts the royal couple had with the Greek government, the good climate between the two countries was confirmed, while Greece and Spain, also, confirmed the agreements they have signed within the framework of the European Union.

    Earlier today, the royal couple visited the ancient tombs of the archaeological site of Vergina. After the visit, King Juan Carlos thanked the journalists for the coverage of his visit to Greece.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [14] US SECRETARY OF STATE TO MEET SEPARATELY WITH PANGALOS, CEM

    The United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is expected to hold separate meetings with the Foreign Ministers of Greece and Turkey, Theodoros Pangalos and Ismael Cem, respectively, during today's NATO summit in Luxembourg.

    State department spokesperson James Rubin, stated that both Turkey and Greece are members of the North Atlantic Council and are close allies of the United States.

    "My experience has been when Secretary Albright is at one of those meetings, she, in one way or another, meets with all the members of the North Atlantic Council. It is also my understanding that there's a strong possibility of some separate bilateral meetings outside of the actual NAC session."

    [15] PASCAL MILO WELCOMES NATO'S DECISION

    The Albanian government expressed its satisfaction over the decision reached by NATO to deploy military forces along the borders of Albania and FYROM with Serbia.

    The Albanian Foreign Minister Pascal Milo stressed that this decision is a proof that the Alliance is determined to avert a deterioration of the situation in the area.

    Mr. Milo underlined that NATO's plans are a satisfactory response to Tirana's concern over an eventual spill over of the crisis to the Balkan area.

    [16] GREECE SUPPORTS NATO'S DECISION TO DEFUSE KOSSOVO CRISIS

    Greece's Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos stated that NATO's decision to review ways to stop the Kossovo conflict from spilling over its borders is a positive one, as well as military measures to supplement diplomatic moves for a settlement.

    During a press conference following the end of the NATO foreign ministers' session yesterday, Mr. Pangalos clarified that the decision did not imply an intervention in the internal affairs of the sovereign Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and that NATO clearly condemned the use of violence and terrorism in the region, calling on both sides to work for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.

    Moreover, Mr. Pangalos added that Greece is willing to contribute to the strengthening of forces that would be deployed in both neighboring countries, in response to their urgent requests.

    Mr. Pangalos revealed, however, that Athens had disagreed with all other Alliance members on a clause in the draft communique, providing for the possibility of NATO air exercises over Kossovo.

    The objection, in combination with Russia's clear disagreement, led to the removal of the clause, Mr. Pangalos added.

    "With our stand, we helped NATO. Sometimes it is better to become isolated, particularly when this leads to a clarification of positions," he added.

    [17] GERMAN FM: TURKEY SHOULD SEEK RECOURSE TO THE HAGUE

    If Turkey wants to improve relations with the EU, German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel stated yesterday, then it has to contribute to the resolution of its differences with Greece by referring them to the International Court at The Hague.

    Speaking at a press conference following the end of yesterday's NATO summit in Luxembourg, Mr. Kinkel added that he completely disagreed with Athens' stand regarding provision of the EU's financial protocol to Turkey, which he said should be revised.

    Moreover, he declined comment on Bonn's position regarding the conditions imposed on Turkey for the endorsement of its candidacy for EU membership.

    [18] THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER MET IN LUXEMBOURG WITH THE US SECRETARY OF STATE

    Greek foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos met in Luxembourg this afternoon with his US counterpart Ms. Madeleine Albright at the sidelines of the NATO Summit.

    Their talks focused on the Greek-US relations, the Greek- Turkish issues and the Cyprus problem. Ms. Albright pointed out that unnecessary statements that heighten the tension in the Greek- Turkish relations should be avoided.

    Ms. Albright also stated that the US State Department examines the proposal of Mr. Pangalos for the creation of a non- flight zone over Cyprus.

    Mr. Pangalos had met earlier this morning with his Russian counterpart Gevgeni Primakov, who reiterated the commitment undertaken by his country to supply the Cypriot Republic with the S-300 missile system.

    [19] THE GREEK AIRPORTS ARE SAFE, STATED THE US ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF COMMERCE

    The Greek airports are safe, stressed US assistant Secretary of Commerce Mr. Aaron.

    The statement was made during his meeting with Greek ministry of national economy and finance international economic relations general secretary Mr. Avgustea. The US official underlined that his country's authorities urge the American citizens to visit Greece without fear.

    [20] THE GENOCIDE OF THE ARMENIANS CREATES PROBLEMS TO THE FRENCH- TURKISH RELATIONS

    The draft law for the recognition of the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Armenians by the Turks as "the 1915 Armenian genocide" that will be discussed in the French Parliament today has caused the strong reaction of Ankara which threatened that in case the draft law is passed Turkey's relations with France will be affected negatively.

    The draft law is promoted by members of the governing Socialist Party in France and has secured the backing of all sides in the French National Assembly.

    [21] NEW FORMS OF TOURISM IN GREECE ARE PROMOTED IN BELGRADE'S INTERNATIONAL FAIR

    The new policy of the Greek government in the sector of tourism was outlined in a press conference in Belgrade by the representatives of the Greek Tourist Organization (EOT) within the framework of the international tourist exhibition held in the Yugoslav capital.

    EOT representative Mr. Thomas Goutantzis stated that the sun, the sea and the natural beauties are not enough to attract today's tourists and for this reason Greece has developed new forms of tourism such as the religious, winter, ecological, conference etc.

    According to the Yugoslav newspaper "Demokratsia", he also commented on the new regulations adopted to make it easier for the Yugoslav tourists to get a visa for Greece, while the newspaper also mentioned the statements made by the head of the Greek Press Office in Belgrade that the Greek consulate in the city of Nis will open this summer.

    [22] GREECE IS FIRST ON THE LIST OF FOREIGN INVESTORS IN FYROM

    Greece occupied the first place among foreign investors in FYROM last year, according to data provided by the Statistics Agency.

    The total of foreign investments in FYROM for 1997 was 6.2 million dollars, of which 5.4 million came from EU countries. Greece participated with 19 investment projects worth 2.4 million dollars.

    The second place is occupied by Germany, which even though has participated in 25 investment projects their total value is less that 1 million dollars.

    The sectors of industry and metallurgy attract the greatest investment interest with 76%, according to the Statistics Agency, while the rest trade and business activities correspond to 14%.

    [23] CYPRIOT FOREIGN MINISTER CONFIRMS THE INSTALLATION OF THE S- 300 MISSILES

    Cypriot Foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulidis, in his interview with the Greek Radio Station of London, LGR, stressed that if there is no solution reached, the Cypriot government will proceed to the installation of the S-300 missiles. Regarding the statements made by the US special coordinator for the Cyprus problem, Thomas Miller, who said that the situation in Cyprus could deteriorate before improving, mr Kasoulidis reiterated that the policy of the Cypriot government concerning the S-300 missiles remains invariable.

    Mr Kasoulidis, also, referred to Turkey's stance, noting that "Ankara will not be satisfied no matter what it gets".

    The Cypriot Foreign minister expressed his conviction that Turkey benefits by that policy because it makes Europe feel guilty, so that the latter feels the need to satisfy Turkey's demands.


    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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