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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 99-03-16

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, March 16, 1999

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] TOP PASOK OFFICIALS MEET TODAY IN LIGHT OF THURSDAY'S CONGRESS
  • [02] TIPPER GORE, US VICE-PRESIDENT'S WIFE, IN THESSALONIKI
  • [03] EFFORTS TO RETRIEVE BODIES OF THREE CLIMBERS ARE UNDERWAY
  • [04] GREEK TELECOMMUNICATIONS ORGANIZATION ISSUES MPA PHONECARD
  • [05] GREECE AIMS AT FUNDING PACKAGE LARGER THAN 2ND CSF
  • [06] 17 NOVEMBER SENDS DECLARATION ON OCALAN CASE TO A DAILY
  • [07] GREEK EURODEPUTY: COMMISSION'S RESIGNATION UNPRECEDENTED
  • [08] TIPPER GORE VISITED ANATOLIA COLLEGE IN THESSALONIKI
  • [09] REPPAS: NO REQUEST HAS BEEN MADE FOR THE TRANSFER OF TURKISH TROOPS VIA GREECE
  • [10] REPPAS: TURKEY IS THE ONE PRESERVING THE TENSION
  • [11] MR. REPPAS COMMENTED ON PKK AND ITS THREATS
  • [12] STATEMENTS BY PAPANDREOU AND PAPANTONIOU ON THE RESIGNATION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION
  • [13] PAPOUTSIS: THE RESIGNATION OF THE EU COMMISSION IS AN ACT OF DEMOCRATIC SENSITIVITY
  • [14] REPPAS: THE RESIGNATION OF THE EU COMMISSION WAS UNAVOIDABLE AND AN ACT OF RESPONSIBILITY
  • [15] OTE ISSUED 300.000 PHONECARDS IN HONOR OF MPA
  • [16] KOSTAS SKANDALIDIS IS OPTIMISTIC OVER THE PASOK PARTY CONGRESS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [17] EUROPEAN COMMISSION MEMBERS RESIGN EN MASSE OVER REPORT
  • [18] US PRESIDENT CLINTON MEETS WITH NATO CHIEF SOLANA
  • [19] GERMAN CHANCELLOR G. SCHROEDER TO BE IN ATHENS TOMORROW
  • [20] GERMANY, BRITAIN WARN TOURISTS ABOUT TRAVELLING TO TURKEY
  • [21] UN REPORTS: BOTH KLA AND SERBS DENY ACCESS TO UNHCR TEAMS
  • [22] INSTITUTIONAL CRISIS IN BRUSSELS

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] TOP PASOK OFFICIALS MEET TODAY IN LIGHT OF THURSDAY'S CONGRESS

    Top officials from Greece's ruling PASOK party are to meet today in light of Thursday's fifth party congress.

    PASOK's political secretariat and Executive Bureau are to tackle last minute details prior to the event.

    [02] TIPPER GORE, US VICE-PRESIDENT'S WIFE, IN THESSALONIKI

    Tipper Gore, the wife of United States Vice President and presidential candidate Al Gore, is presently in Thessaloniki where she will address a forum organized by the city's American College Anatolia this evening.

    Ms. Gore will speak on The Role of Volunteerism in Covering Social Needs."

    The event will held in honor of the 60th anniversary since the founding of Anatolia's Alumni Association, which also coincides with the school's administrative board resolution to promote volunteerism through its social activities.

    Ms. Gore, a known advocate of volunteerism, is the Clinton Administration's mental health adviser.

    A dinner will be held in her honor and will be attended by several ministers, including Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, local and prefecture officials, as well as the US ambassador in Greece.

    Ms Gore will tour the city and travel to the nearby ancient Macedonian archaeological site in Vergina before briefs visits to Athens and Crete.

    [03] EFFORTS TO RETRIEVE BODIES OF THREE CLIMBERS ARE UNDERWAY

    Rescue teams are presently trying to retrieve the bodies of the three climbers of Mt. Olympus who were discovered yesterday, after having fallen into an an 800-meter deep ditch.

    The rescue team has had great difficulty accessing the steep site which is located at an altitude of 2,500 meters.

    The three male alpinists appear to have slipped and fallen into the snowed ditch and unavoidably dragged one another downwards as they were tied together with rope.

    [04] GREEK TELECOMMUNICATIONS ORGANIZATION ISSUES MPA PHONECARD

    The Greek Telecommunications Organization (OTE) has issued a new series of 300,000 phone cards which feature the logo of the Macedonian Press Agency, an acknowledgment of MPA's activity in and contribution to the Balkans, the Greek community abroad and cyberspace.

    The regional director of OTE's central Macedonia division Nikos Vervelides stressed that the phone card is the second of a like series issued by OTE (the first one was dedicated to the Organization of Exports Promotion), aiming to promote those organizations of the wider public sector which perform national service, such as the MPA. At today's press conference, where the card was unveiled, it was also pointed out that during the past two weeks (since the Ocalan case first emerged) the MPA's server on the Internet received over 900,000 calls, 40% of which were domestic and 60% foreign.

    [05] GREECE AIMS AT FUNDING PACKAGE LARGER THAN 2ND CSF

    Greece would not agree to replacing the national welfare criterion with one of regional welfare in regards to the funds distribution in the first target of Structural Policies, according to Foreign Minster George Papandreou.

    Mr. Papandreou stated that such a development would bear negative results for Greece which plans to steadfastly continue with negotiations, aiming at a funding package larger from the Second Community Support Framework.

    Moreover, the Greek FM has communicated with his Spanish counterpart Mr. Matutes who has refuted rumors of Spain having shifted its stance on the Agenda 2000.

    [06] 17 NOVEMBER SENDS DECLARATION ON OCALAN CASE TO A DAILY

    "The main person responsible for betraying and handing Ocalan over to his Turkish executioners is the Prime Minister Simitis," begins the eight-page proclamation forwarded to an Athens daily by the 17 November terrorist group that has been active for a great number of years but continues to remain elusive.

    Referring to the Ocalan case, the group also attributes blame to Mr. Simitis' ministers and "not only the known three (who resigned) since none of them acknowledged his responsibility upon resignation, as well as the leadership of PASOK. (In) the conspiracy which led to the arrest of the fighter Ocalan, Greece played the role of a "friend" who pulls you inside a trap. This role could only be played by Greece since this (is the only country) trusted by the Kurds and the PKK."

    [07] GREEK EURODEPUTY: COMMISSION'S RESIGNATION UNPRECEDENTED

    Greek eurodeputy Nikos Papakyriazis ({PASOK) commented on the resignation of the European Commission members, characterizing it as an "unprecedented" event in the institution's course.

    Speaking to the Macedonian Press Agency, Mr. Papakyriazis expressed his concern over the consequences to be borne two months prior to the enforcement of the common currency.

    [08] TIPPER GORE VISITED ANATOLIA COLLEGE IN THESSALONIKI

    Tipper Gore, the wife of the US vice-president, visited Anatolia College and the facilities of the Pinewood international school in Thessaloniki accompanied by US consul general Paul Sterhenson and vice-consul Tom Daughton. Earlier, she had visited the facilities of the American Farm School.

    Ms. Gore is in Thessaloniki at the invitation of Anatolia's Alumni Association and this evening she will be the main speaker in the forum on volunteerism which is aimed at covering social needs.

    Chairman of Anatolia's Alumni Association Mr. Florentin stated that Ms. Gore came to Greece with the mediation of World Council of Hellenes Abroad, SAE, in order to speak about volunteerism, a sector in which she is widely known for her work.

    [09] REPPAS: NO REQUEST HAS BEEN MADE FOR THE TRANSFER OF TURKISH TROOPS VIA GREECE

    Ankara never requested from Athens to issue a permission allowing the passage of Turkish troops through Greek territory within the framework of the NATO peace-keeping force sent to the region to back the alliance's mission in Kosovo, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas.

    Mr. Reppas also added that if Greece had received such a request its response would be negative.

    [10] REPPAS: TURKEY IS THE ONE PRESERVING THE TENSION

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated that there were violations and engagements in the Aegean in the past few days but there were no dangerous developments adding however, that the temperature is high in the region and it can lead to a fire.

    Commenting on the allegations made by Turkish president Suleiman Demirel on "gray zones", he said that they reveal that it is Turkey that preserves the tension and does not contribute to efforts aimed at dealing with the crisis. Mr. Reppas said that Ankara launches verbal threats but in case they become military actions the outcome will be unfavorable for Turkey.

    [11] MR. REPPAS COMMENTED ON PKK AND ITS THREATS

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas expressed the Greek government's regret over the Kurdish PKK statement which characterized Turkey as a war zone and warned tourists against visiting the country.

    Mr. Reppas stated that the blood of innocent people should not be shed and reiterated the proposal made by Greece for a political solution to the Kurdish problem.

    [12] STATEMENTS BY PAPANDREOU AND PAPANTONIOU ON THE RESIGNATION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION

    Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou characterized as unprecedented the resignation of the European Commission but stressed that there is no deadlock as democratic processes are underway in order to deal with the issue. Mr. Papandreou stated that he had a telephone communication with German foreign minister Joshka Fischer, who will announce today or tomorrow the action that will be undertaken by the German EU presidency.

    Mr. Papandreou said that Greek Commissioner Christos Papoutsis has played a positive role in the whole process and he is not stigmatized which is positive for Greece itself. Mr. Papandreou added that there is no deadlock in the European Union, stressing that Greece wants a strong European Commission and a strong Euro-parliament and backs both institutions.

    Minister of finance and national economy Yiannos Papantoniou also referred to the issue of the resignation of the European Commission and pointed out that it takes place in a very sensitive and crucial time for the European Union adding that he wishes that a solution will be found soon.

    [13] PAPOUTSIS: THE RESIGNATION OF THE EU COMMISSION IS AN ACT OF DEMOCRATIC SENSITIVITY

    Greek EU Commissioner Christos Papoutsis characterized the resignation of the European Commission as an act of democratic sensitivity and political responsibility.

    Mr. Papoutsis stated that at a crucial time for the course of Europe the political pre-conditions for the effective operation of the European Commission ceased to exist, adding that the decision safeguards the prestige and political integrity of the Commission as the executive body of the European Union. Mr. Papoutsis also said that the resignation of the Commission does not mean that it did not do a very important job in the past 4 1/2 years laying the foundations for the Europe of the 21st century.

    Mr. Papoutsis concluded that Europe today needs democratic control and clarity as well as fair and effective management, while the role of the European public administration must also be safeguarded.

    [14] REPPAS: THE RESIGNATION OF THE EU COMMISSION WAS UNAVOIDABLE AND AN ACT OF RESPONSIBILITY

    The resignation of the European Commission was unavoidable and it was an act of responsibility, commented Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, stressing that Greece is in favor of clear procedures.

    He characterized as positive the fact that there are no accusations against Greek EU Commissioner Christos Papoutsis and he did not give a response to the question made by reporters on whether the government will propose Mr. Papoutsis again for the position of the EU Commissioner. The government, said Mr. Reppas, is in contact with other EU countries on the way the posts of the EU Commissioners will be filled and stated that he believes that a common political stance will be reached.

    [15] OTE ISSUED 300.000 PHONECARDS IN HONOR OF MPA

    The Greek Telecommunications Organization, OTE, announced that it has issued 300,000 phonecards in honor of Macedonian Press Agency and its activities in the Balkans and the cyberspace as well as on issues concerning the Greeks living abroad.

    Speaking to reporters, OTE regional director Nikos Vervelidis underlined that the phonecards issued in honor of MPA are aimed at making the wider public sector organizations more known and especially those, like MPA, that have undertaken action for the promotion of national interests. It was also stressed that in the two weeks when the Ocalan affair was at its peak the MPA site on the Internet had over 900,000 visits of which 40% were from inside the country and 60% from abroad.

    [16] KOSTAS SKANDALIDIS IS OPTIMISTIC OVER THE PASOK PARTY CONGRESS

    PASOK's central committee secretary Kostas Skandalidis, speaking to reporters after the party political secretariat meeting, expressed optimism over the governing socialist party congress that opens on Thursday. Responding to the question if there was a political agreement reached, Mr. Skandalidis stated that the common stance is a united course for the party.

    The party congress will be attended by 5,802 delegates and on the first day of the proceedings the main speaker will be prime minister Kostas Simitis. On Sunday, elections will be held for the new party president.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [17] EUROPEAN COMMISSION MEMBERS RESIGN EN MASSE OVER REPORT

    The European Commission members have resigned en masse after an investigation revealed chronic cases of cronyism and repeated financial irregularities in the body's affairs.

    European Commission President Jacques Santer announced his resignation along with the 19 others.

    The 140-page report that resulted from the investigation has found that the commissioners exercised lax control over programs, put friends and relatives on their payroll and denied any wrongdoing, some saying they were unaware of sloppiness and fraud on their watch. "It is becoming difficult to find anyone who has even the slightest sense of responsibility," the report concluded.

    The fraud report was most critical of Research Commissioner Edith Cresson, a former French prime minister who "failed to act in response to known, serious and continuing irregularities over several years" in educational and other programs for which she was responsible.

    [18] US PRESIDENT CLINTON MEETS WITH NATO CHIEF SOLANA

    Talks between the two sides of the strife-torn Kosovo region (Serbs and ethnic Albanians) are to continue for a second day in Paris, France today.

    NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana was received by United States President Bill Clinton with who he discussed a potential armed intervention in the region.

    Speaking to reporters, President Clinton stressed that if the Serb side continues to refuse to sign the agreement, there will be no other option but the use of military force.

    [19] GERMAN CHANCELLOR G. SCHROEDER TO BE IN ATHENS TOMORROW

    The President of the European Union and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will arrive in Athens tomorrow, March 17, where he will be received by Prime Minister Kostas Simitis.

    Mr. Schroeder's visit to Greece is part of his series of contacts held in light of the EU Summit Conference.

    [20] GERMANY, BRITAIN WARN TOURISTS ABOUT TRAVELLING TO TURKEY

    Following a series of bombings that occurred yesterday and over the weekend in Istanbul, and the PKK's threats that tourist resorts are now within their "field of war", Germany and Britain have warned their nationals about traveling to Turkey.

    The German Foreign Ministry said that the government is taking this threat "very seriously", while Great Britain's Foreign Office said the government was advising tourists to be alert to the possibility of bombings and that, despite the efforts of Turkish security forces, their safety could not be guaranteed.

    [21] UN REPORTS: BOTH KLA AND SERBS DENY ACCESS TO UNHCR TEAMS

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has reported that clashes which occurred last week between Yugoslavian security units and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) forced approximately 12,000 villagers from their homes in the Prizren and Vucitrn areas.

    Another 6,000 people were displaced by fighting along the southern border with Macedonia.

    According to UNHCR, both the KLA and Yugoslavian forces denied humanitarian workers access to the affected areas.

    UNHCR reported that at least 230,000 persons are now displaced within Kosovo as a result of the fighting, with another 170,000 having fled the province in the past year. Several hundred thousand who have not been forced to leave their homes nevertheless remain affected by the conflict.

    Since the end of the first round of peace negotiations last February in Rambouillet, France, some 30,000 persons have been forced to flee their homes and endure miserable conditions in the surrounding forests and mountains, according to UNHCR.

    [22] INSTITUTIONAL CRISIS IN BRUSSELS

    An institutional crisis is in progress in Brussels after the resignation of all the members of the EU Commission.

    The independent committee of wise men that drew up the report mentions that it was almost impossible to find even one EU Commissioner to be in the position to assume responsibility. The resignation of the EU Commission is unprecedented in the history of the European Union and was announced a few days before the informal summit meeting in Berlin.

    Germany, which holds the rotating EU presidency, announced that the European Commission will have a transitional role under its present composition until its new members are appointed.


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