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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 98-09-15

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, September 15, 1998

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] PRESIDENT OF FINLAND MEETS WITH GREEK PRESIDENT AND PREMIER
  • [02] GREEK FORCES ON STAND BY AT THE BORDER STATIONS
  • [03] ECONOMY AND FINANCE MINISTRY OFFICIALS CONVENE TODAY
  • [04] CYPRIOT INTERIOR MINISTER IN ATHENS FOR TALKS
  • [05] THESSALONIKI'S 63RD INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR COMES TO A CLOSE TODAY
  • [06] STATEMENTS BY TSOCHATZOPOULOS ON THE SITUATION IN ALBANIA
  • [07] THE GREEK FORCES ALONG THE BORDERS WITH ALBANIA ARE IN HIGH ALERT
  • [08] REPPAS: THE GREEK GOVERNMENT DOES NOT INTERFERE WITH THE DEVELOPMENTS IN ALBANIA
  • [09] KAKLAMANIS: THE CRISIS IN ALBANIA IS AN UNPLEASANT FACT
  • [10] THE SITUATION IN ALBANIA IS FLUID AND DANGEROUS ACCORDING TO GREEK HISTORIANS AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS SPECIALISTS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [11] TIRANA UNDER POLICE CONTROL, BUT FEARS ABOUND FOR NEW EPISODES
  • [12] ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT TO BERISHA: LEAVE COUNTRY OR BE ARRESTED
  • [13] CALM RESTORED IN TIRANA, POLICE HAS CONTROL OF SITUATION
  • [14] US STATE DEPARTMENT COMMENTS ON ALBANIAN CRISIS
  • [15] ICON RETURNED TO CYPRIOT CHURCH, VENIZELOS, KRANIDIOTIS AT CEREMONY
  • [16] RUSSIA: HUNGER STRIKERS TAKE HOSTAGE NUCLEAR PLANT MANAGERS
  • [17] MEIDANI CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTION
  • [18] TSEKA CALLS FOR THE RESIGNATION OF NANO
  • [19] TENSION REMAINS HIGH IN ALBANIA
  • [20] THE ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER'S TELEVISED ADDRESS TO HIS PEOPLE
  • [21] NEW ULTIMATUM FOR BERISHA

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] PRESIDENT OF FINLAND MEETS WITH GREEK PRESIDENT AND PREMIER

    Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, currently on a three-day official visit to Athens, was received yesterday by the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minster Kostas Simitis.

    Following his meeting with his Greek counterpart, President Ahtisaari stated that Greece and Finland share the same concerns about the tension in the troubled Yugoslav province of Kosovo.

    He added that the UN Security Council should have the final word on the issue and that partners had to cooperate to deal with the difficulties facing the European Union. The two presidents discussed European and international issues, including the crisis in Russia.

    Finland will be taking up the Union's rotating presidency in the second half of 1999.

    Before leaving Greece, the Finnish official will pay a short visit to Crete, from where he will depart for Helsinki.

    [02] GREEK FORCES ON STAND BY AT THE BORDER STATIONS

    Greek military forces are presently on stand-by at the Albanian borders, while the country's military leadership at the Pentagon is studying plans of ways to address a potential massive in-flow of illegal immigrants.

    Public Order Minster George Romeos has ordered the fortification of the Kakavia and Krystallopigi border stations, while the Minster of National Defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos stated that the necessary measures have been taken at the border and everything is under control.

    [03] ECONOMY AND FINANCE MINISTRY OFFICIALS CONVENE TODAY

    In its effort to discover ways to curb inflation, within the framework of drawing next year's budget, the Ministry of National Economy and Finance is to convene in session today.

    According to reports, the government may lower taxes in 1999 in order to reduce inflation and thus facilitate the country's entry into the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

    "The possibility of lowering taxes is being examined. If there is room for a reduction in 1999 this will happen so that inflation may fall and the country enter EMU," National Economy and Finance Minster Yiannos Papantoniou stated. The government has set January 1, 2001 as the latest entry date into the European Union's single currency.

    [04] CYPRIOT INTERIOR MINISTER IN ATHENS FOR TALKS

    Cyprus's Interior Minister Dinos Michaelides is presently in Athens where he will meet with his Greek counterpart Alekos Papadopoulos to discuss a range of issues, including European Union matters and local administration.

    Mr. Michaelides will also have talks with government spokesperson Dimitris Reppas, with whom he will discuss the possibility of adding Cypriot programs to Greece's state-owned channel ERT for broadcasting to Greeks who reside abroad.

    From Athens, Mr. Michaelides will travel to Bonn where he will attend a meeting between European Union interior ministers and their counterparts from EU candidate countries. They will discuss passport control within the EU and the adoption of a common policy on the control of the external boundaries.

    While in Bonn, the Cypriot Interior Minister will meet with his German counterpart Manfred Kanther.

    [05] THESSALONIKI'S 63RD INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR COMES TO A CLOSE TODAY

    This year's run of Thessaloniki's International Trade Fair was a resounding success having reached reached a record number of visitors who were triple in numbers when compared to past years.

    The Fair served as a meeting point for the Balkan business world, as well as for businesspersons from southeast Europe, and illustrated Thessaloniki's leadership role in the region.

    Specifically, over 1,245 trade visitors attended the 63rd Fair, as opposed to last year's 396, representing 30 countries from the Balkans, Europe, Black Sea region and the Middle East, as well as the United States, Canada and Africa.

    Several exhibitors were awarded for organizing successful pavilions, among them car manufacturers Chrysler and Citroen, as well as the enterprises "ATTICO METRO", "HELLENIC PETROLEUM", ERGOSE", CENTURY-CENTRO, MURATI BROS." "INTRACOM", "LEAD" and "MINOS".

    Commendations of good participation were also given to "NATURAL GAS", "ERT", "OTE", the "Athens Stock Exchange", "BOSCH", "FORD", "ĹRRICSON", "PANAFON", "UNIFON" and "Theocharakis S.A."

    Special awards were granted to Thessaloniki's Water Company, Greek Railways, National Bank, European Parliament, General Secretariat of the New generation, Athens Airport, "EGNATIA Road", "HYATT" (who was also a sponsor of the event), and PYRKAL.

    [06] STATEMENTS BY TSOCHATZOPOULOS ON THE SITUATION IN ALBANIA

    The Greek force in Albania is not only safe but it safeguards stability and security for the foreign delegations and international organizations represented in the country, stated minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who attributed the crisis to nationalistic circles in Albania and linked it to the unrest in Kosovo.

    Mr. Tsochatzopoulos stated from north-eastern Greece, where he inaugurated an army camp at the village of Provatonas, that there were moments of anarchy and chaos and that the nationalist forces that are responsible for the conflict in Kosovo have invented terms such as "democratic violence", adding that it is now obvious that there are common goals set all over the Balkans.

    The Greek minister of defense also pointed out that the effort made by the international community in the past year for the restoration of democracy in the country is at risk.

    [07] THE GREEK FORCES ALONG THE BORDERS WITH ALBANIA ARE IN HIGH ALERT

    Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Philippos Petsalnikos stated to MPA that the Greek forces along the borders with Albania are in a state of high alert. He clarified that the presence of military forces at the borders was already reinforced to deal with the illegal immigrants problem and there was no need for additional measures except from an extra vigilance due to the developments in the country.

    Mr. Petsalnikos, who is on a tour of Kastoria and Grevena in north-western Greece, stated that the movement of Albanians toward Greece through the border crossing of Kristalopigi is at normal levels and expressed the wish that the bloodshed in Albania will end for the country to continue its course toward securing conditions of stability and security.

    [08] REPPAS: THE GREEK GOVERNMENT DOES NOT INTERFERE WITH THE DEVELOPMENTS IN ALBANIA

    The situation in Albania is better today stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, who called on all sides in Albania to behave responsibly and lead the country to normality and progress.

    The Greek government spokesman stated that the political directors of the EU will meet on Thursday to discuss the situation in Albania and expressed the view that the political statements of the EU member-states that recognized the legitimacy of the Albanian government have contributed to the easing of the crisis.

    On the Greek minority, he said that it does not face any problems and that the Greek government is interested in maintaining this situation, while the Greek military force in Tirana which is in high alert to deal with every eventuality, also faces no problems. Responding to Sali Berisha, who called on Greece and prime minister Kostas Simitis not to interfere with Albania's internal affairs, Mr. Reppas stated that the Greek government and Mr. Simitis do not interfere with the developments in the neighboring country. As far as the military force is concerned, Mr. Reppas said that it remains in the country as a factor of peace in accordance with the decisions reached by international organizations.

    Mr. Reppas stated that based on the facts so far there is no evidence that a wave of Albanian refugees will enter Greece but he did not rule out the likelihood for the crisis to spread to Kosovo.

    [09] KAKLAMANIS: THE CRISIS IN ALBANIA IS AN UNPLEASANT FACT

    Greek Parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis characterized the political crisis that erupted in Albania as a very unpleasant fact for the whole region and especially for Greece which wants democratic order to rule in the neighboring country.

    Mr. Kaklamanis said that the latest information coming from Albania gives a positive picture regarding the restoration of order, adding that from Greece's side all measures were taken to prevent any negative impact either on the Greek minority in Albania or on the people living along the borders with Albania.

    In conclusion, Mr. Kaklamanis stressed that the relations of the Balkan peoples must be ruled by values and principles that have nothing to do with racism and nationalism.

    [10] THE SITUATION IN ALBANIA IS FLUID AND DANGEROUS ACCORDING TO GREEK HISTORIANS AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS SPECIALISTS

    Historians and international relations specialists from Greece characterize the situation in Albania as fluid and dangerous stating however that it is too early to make final assessments. The view shared by all is that Democratic Party leader and former president Sali Berisha can cause serious problems that can lead to the further spread of the crisis.

    International relations specialist professor in Thessaloniki's Aristotle University Kostas Hatzikonstantinou stated to MPA that the situation is very dangerous due to the non existent state structure in Albania and because no one can be sure that decisions can be implemented.

    The situation in Albania can lead to an unrest that will be hard to control as well as, to the overthrow of the government and finally to chaos unless a political solution is found, stated modern history professor in Aristotle University and Balkan Studies Institute director Vasilis Kontis.

    International relations specialist Veniamin Karakostanoglou stated that last year's events are being repeated and there is a risk for the crisis to spread and destabilize the neighboring regions as well.

    Historian Stavros Dagios, who comes from Gjirokastre, stated that in the next 48 hours the whole issue will be settled. He said that the Albanians detest Berisha and want the economy and democracy to be restored, while they also want the crimes committed on the streets on a daily basis to end. Mr. Dagios stated that the killing of Haidari is unrelated to politics, stressing that Haidari's behavior was strange and provocative and made him disliked.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [11] TIRANA UNDER POLICE CONTROL, BUT FEARS ABOUND FOR NEW EPISODES

    Relative order appears to have been restored at the Albanian capital city of Tirana, where the government has banned an opposition rally scheduled for today and warned of a tough response to any resistance from supporters of the former President - and leader of the opposition Democratic Party- Sali Berisha after armed clashes Monday between them and security forces.

    The Socialist government has regained control of ministry buildings and the state-run TV network from armed demonstrators demanding the immediate resignation of the government. According to the Ministry of Public Order, three persons were killed and 13 others were wounded during exchange of fire yesterday.

    Nevertheless, fears remain for new episodes erupting during today's rally where, the Minster of Public Order Perikli Teta stated, police have been authorized to ``shoot without warning'' against anyone who attempts to create episodes.

    ``We call on the Democratic Party do distance itself from those individuals,'' the ministry said, adding ``otherwise, it will bear responsibility for subsequent developments.''

    Mr. Teta stressed that emergency security measures have been taken and issued an appeal to the Albanian people to refrain from participating in today's anti-government rally, which he characterized as illegal. . Meanwhile, the state-run television station in Tirana refuted a report according to which the Nano government gave Berisha a deadline to leave the country. The Albanian television station, quoting a telegram from the Italian news agency, reported that Premier Fatos Nano's spokesperson Ben Bliusi said there is no deadline, but added that "it would be best if he (Berisha) left the country on his own free will."

    Meanwhile, the Albanian government appears determined to proceed to a reshuffle, but will not resign.

    Vice-president Kastriot Islami told the Macedonian Press Agency that the solution to the crisis will be given by the present coalition government.

    "Changes in the government's formation will be made, but (they will be made) at the base of the coalition. This proposal is supported by the international community," he stressed.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Berisha has stressed that he will continue to fight until the government resigns.

    He reiterated that the Nano cabinet should resign and proposed that a new government of technocrats should be formed, which will restore public order, locate the assassins of opposition deputy Azem Hidari, revise the constitution and hold early elections.

    [12] ALBANIAN GOVERNMENT TO BERISHA: LEAVE COUNTRY OR BE ARRESTED

    The Albanian government yesterday ordered the main opposition leader, Democratic Party's Sali Berisha, to either leave the country by 5 am Tuesday, or face an arrest.

    Speaking to the French news agency AFP, Mr. Berisha responded that "in no case will leave from the country."

    [13] CALM RESTORED IN TIRANA, POLICE HAS CONTROL OF SITUATION

    A climate of calm has been restored in the Albanian capital of Tirana, after police managed to regain control of the situation. Nevertheless, fear of new episodes erupted does exist, since the leader of the main opposition party Sali Berisha, is reportedly planning to organize a new rally in the city's center today.

    The Nano government announced that it averted an attempted coup d'etat and has restored order in the capital city.

    Four persons died from the violent incidents. Foreign Minister Paskal Milo blamed Mr. Berisha for the episodes.

    [14] US STATE DEPARTMENT COMMENTS ON ALBANIAN CRISIS

    US State Department spokesperson James Rubin stated that Washington strongly condemns the use of violence for political ends in Albania, adding that the political leadership in the government and the opposition will be held responsible for resolving the current crisis. Members of all parties must work together toward a peaceful solution that respects the democratic process.

    "The United States will not recognize or work with a government that comes to power through violent means, Mr.Rubin stated during yesterday's State Department briefing.

    " We call on the political leadership of Albania to cooperate with the president in working on constructive proposals that will end the current upheaval. The leaders of all political parties in Albania must take responsibility for the behavior of their followers. Those that do not play a constructive role must bear the consequences."

    [15] ICON RETURNED TO CYPRIOT CHURCH, VENIZELOS, KRANIDIOTIS AT CEREMONY

    An icon, stolen from a church in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus, was returned to the Orthodox Church in Cyprus yesterday, in a ceremony attended by Greek Culture Minister, Evangelos Venizelos and Foreign Under-Secretary, Yiannos Kranidiotis.

    The icon, depicting Virgin Mary, was stolen from the 12th century church of Antifonitis in Agios Ambrosios village in the Turkish occupied Kyrenia district.

    According to the CNA, it was sold by Turks in the international black market and was bought by a Greek selector. The icon remained in the Byzantine Museum of Athens and was repatriated this afternoon by the Greek government.

    Speaking at the ceremony, the Primate of the Orthodox Church in Cyprus, Archbishop Chrysostomos, said the return of the "august icon strengthens our faith and expectation that soon we shall take back our occupied holy churches".

    The Archbishop reiterated the hope that the Turkish occupied areas will be freed, and that the "human rights of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will be restored".

    Mr. Venizelos said Cyprus is a "cradle of culture", noting that the return of the icon was an immensely symbolic gesture.

    The Culture Minister said that what takes place in Cyprus since 1974 is the "rape of international law and the rape of cultural heritage".

    On his part, Mr. Kranidiotis said that the ceremony marks "the reassurance that Hellenism is fighting to restore" the island's cultural heritage.

    "Among the victims of the Turkish invasion are Cyprus' antiquities", Mr. Kranidiotis added and said that in its efforts to save its cultural heritage, Cyprus will always have the support of Greece.

    The Cypriot government thanked the Greek government for the return of the icon.

    [16] RUSSIA: HUNGER STRIKERS TAKE HOSTAGE NUCLEAR PLANT MANAGERS

    An unknown number of nuclear plant managers have been taken hostage by hunger strikers, who are demanding their due pay.

    The strikers, who are employed at the nuclear plant in eastern Russia, have said that as soon as their salaries are paid the hostages will be freed.

    One of the vows made by Russia's new Premier Yevgeni Primakov is the payment of salaries and pensions.

    [17] MEIDANI CALLS FOR INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTION

    Albanian president Redzep Meidani called for international intervention for the solution of the crisis in his country in the meeting he had just before noon today at the presidential building with the ambassadors of the United States and the European countries.

    Council of Europe special representative in Albania Andreas Papakonstantinou, who participated in the meeting, stated to MPA that a special meeting of the Council of Ministers will be held today to discuss the situation in Albania.

    Prime minister Fatos Nano has made no public appearance yet, while foreign diplomats pressure Berisha to cancel the rally of his supporters he has announced that it will be held in Tirana.

    [18] TSEKA CALLS FOR THE RESIGNATION OF NANO

    Democratic Alliance party leader and former minister of interior and public order Neritan Tseka called for the resignation of prime minister Fatos Nano and the establishment of a new government.

    He stated that the new government will be formed by the political parties participating in the current government coalition and that the Socialist party will again play a leading role.

    In an interview with MPA, Mr. Tseka underlined that Fatos Nano should become past history for Albania as he failed to protect the leading members of the opposition. He also said that the unsettled situation of the past few days was created because of Berisha, adding that the coup attempt was a mistake and the former Albanian president will be brought before justice.

    Referring to Albania's future, Mr. Tseka appeared optimistic and expressed the hope that in the future the Albanian state will develop into a factor of peace in the Balkans.

    [19] TENSION REMAINS HIGH IN ALBANIA

    About 1.500 followers of Sali Berisha's Democratic Party remain at the square in front of the party offices, while strong police forces have deployed in the wider region and the party leadership was forced to cancel the protest rally announced earlier.

    Meanwhile, Albanian president Redzep Meidani met with prime minister Fatos Nano who was in his office since this morning and assessed the situation.

    In statements he made to Macedonian Press Agency, Socialist Party general secretary Panteli Maiko expressed satisfaction over the fact that president Meidani characterized as a "coup" yesterday's incidents, adding that the Socialist Party leadership supports the changes in the Albanian government.

    [20] THE ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER'S TELEVISED ADDRESS TO HIS PEOPLE

    Albanian prime minister Fatos Nano in a televised address to the Albanian people earlier this afternoon stated that he rejects any call for his resignation which is expressed in the form of an ultimatum and through terrorist actions.

    Mr. Nano called on the political parties to keep their distances from the coup organizer Sali Berisha characterizing him as a terrorist.

    [21] NEW ULTIMATUM FOR BERISHA

    Albanian minister of public order Perikli Teta issued an ultimatum to Sali Berisha to hand over the two armoured tanks that are being occupied by armed followers of his Democratic Party by 8pm local time. Mr. Teta threatened Berisha that in a different case police forces will intervene for the complete restoration of order and the disarmament of the gunmen.

    Until this hour, 7pm Greek time, prime minister Fatos Nano had non-stop meetings with the minister of public order and according to certain information, they drew up a plan for the disarmament of Berisha's armed supporters in case they do not hand over their guns.


    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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