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Macedonian Press Agency : News in English, 99-12-07

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, December 7, 1999

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] SAE'S THIRD INTERNATIONAL ASSEMBLY CONTINUES IN THESSALONIKI
  • [02] PM: GREECE VIEWS NEXT MILLENNIUM WITH CONFIDENCE, OPTIMISM
  • [03] ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH VARTHOLOMEOS SALUTES SAE IN MESSAGE
  • [04] PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS FORWARDS SALUTATION TO SAE'S CONGRESS
  • [05] DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER ADDRESSES SAE THIRD WORLD ASSEMBLY
  • [06] THESSALONIKI PREFECT FAVORS FOUNDING OF DIASPORA MINISTRY
  • [07] SAE BESTOWS HONORS UPON WORLD-WIDE DISTINGUISHED GREEKS
  • [08] GREEK-AUSTRALIANS LOOK TO NORTHERN GREECE FOR VENTURES
  • [09] NORTHERN GREECE INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION ON MISSION TO KOSOVO
  • [10] DIPEK COMPLETES SUCCESSFUL MISSION IN ALBANIA
  • [11] MPA TO HOST INTER-BALKAN CONFERENCE ON REGIONAL PEACE
  • [12] COURT SENTENCES SAILOR TO LIFE OVER MURDER, BEHEADING
  • [13] GREEK MUNICIPALITIES SEEK RETURN OF NIKE OF SAMOTHRACE
  • [14] 1.500.000 COPIES OF KAZANTZAKIS' BOOKS HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED IN BULGARIA
  • [15] REPPAS: MR. CEM'S MOVE IS POSITIVE
  • [16] BIG LOSSES OF 2.55% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [17] INFLATION WAS AT 2.6% IN NOVEMBER
  • [18] THE DEVELOPMENT COURSE OF THE GREEK ECONOMY WAS PRESENTED BY THE UNDERSECRETARY OF FINANCE
  • [19] THE NATIONAL ISSUES AT THE CENTER OF THE SAE PROCEEDINGS
  • [20] THE SCIENTIST WHO DISCOVERED THE GROWTH HORMONE WILL VISIT THESSALONIKI
  • [21] BAKOURIS: THE 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES BRING THE GREEKS LIVING ABROAD CLOSER TO THE GREEK STATE
  • [22] SAE'S 3RD WORLD ASSEMBLY OPENED IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF PATRIOTICH EXAUTATION
  • [23] KAKLAMANIS: SAE MUST BE UPGRADED IN QUALITY
  • [24] THE MESSAGE BY THE MINISTER OF MACEDONIA- THRACE IN SAE
  • [25] THE MESSAGES OF THE GREEK POLITICAL LEADERS IN SAE'S 3RD WORLD ASSEMBLY
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [26] EU GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL CAN'T AGREE ON TURKEY'S BID
  • [27] TRAJKOVSKI IS THE WINNER OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN FYROM
  • [28] GREEK HOUSING LOANS TO ALBANIA
  • [29] THE PROXIMITY TALKS ON CYPRUS CONTINUE IN NEW YORK
  • [30] BULGARIA REQUESTED GREECE'S ASSISTANCE FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE "VONTOLEI 1" MOTOR-SHIP - - - - - - - - - - - - -

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] SAE'S THIRD INTERNATIONAL ASSEMBLY CONTINUES IN THESSALONIKI

    The proceedings of the World Council of Hellenes (SAE) Third International Assembly are presently underway in Thessaloniki, following yesterday's grand inaugural ceremony where the delegates were addressed by the President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Speaker of the House Apostolos Kaklamanis and other leading officials and dignitaries.

    Today's discussions will center on issues pertaining to foreign policy and the Olympic Games of 2004. Also, the four different groups of overseas Greek entrepreneurs, scientists, artists and Greek women which held forums last week will outline their findings during meetings to be held today.

    The SAE's third council will elect an 11- member presidium, while SAE President Andrew Athens will seek his re-election for the third time.

    [02] PM: GREECE VIEWS NEXT MILLENNIUM WITH CONFIDENCE, OPTIMISM

    Addressing the delegates of the World Council of Hellenes (SAE) Third International Assembly in Thessaloniki yesterday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis outlined Greece's role in the European developments and stressed that the country is facing the 21st century with confidence and optimism, being a strong country, with a leading presence in southeast Europe.

    Mr. Simitis called on Greeks throughout the world to set new goals at the onset of the new millennium.

    "During this century, Hellenism expanded throughout the world, lived through difficult times, it rooted and succeeded. It became assimilated into other societies, yet, it nevertheless maintained its conscience of heritage and reference alive. Your presence here proves that," Mr. Simitis poignantly told the delegates.

    The Premier urged those present to set new goals that will secure a new role for Hellenism in tomorrow's world and stated that the Greek State has already embarked on a massive, national effort for this aim.

    Citing one particular example of the various programs the Greek State has forged in order to maintain ties with the Diaspora, Mr. Simitis referred to the issues concerning the approximately 150,000 repatriated Greeks from the republics of the former Soviet Union.

    "With a bill that enjoys the consensus of all the relevant ministries," Mr. Simitis stated, "final solutions will be given to pressing issues, such as housing and employment.

    "For the first time ever, we are trying to provide solutions to the problems faced by expatriated Greeks in their host countries. For example, the granting of the Greek nationality or, when that is not feasible, the granting of a Greek Descent Special Identity Card, with a residence and employment permit in the Greek state, a true innovation."

    Furthermore, the Premier stressed the need to create modern ties, common targets which Hellenes throughout the world serve, such as democracy, peace, social justice, tolerance and solidarity.

    The Premier called on the delegates to envisage a global society of Hellenism, which would create a society superseding national boundaries, a society whose identity would be marked by culture, humanity and values.

    [03] ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH VARTHOLOMEOS SALUTES SAE IN MESSAGE

    The Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos called on Greeks throughout the world to cooperate with their Orthodox church leaders, during his message forwarded to the World Council of Hellenes (SAE) Third International Assembly inaugurated in Thessaloniki yesterday.

    Mr. Vartholomeos also pointed out that this cooperation will be beneficial to the Nation , while he stressed that the Orthodox faith is not only a course of teaching whose righteousness we accept, but it is also a reality which we live. Moreover, he stated that God's grace is aimed towards all people, indiscriminately, and added that Hellenism is not determined solely by the Orthodox faith as there are Greeks who believe in other religions.

    [04] PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS FORWARDS SALUTATION TO SAE'S CONGRESS

    The successful handling of Hellenism's national matters, with the Cyprus issue being the foremost priority, is the core aim of the national causes fought by Greeks throughout, in Cyprus, Greece and the Diaspora, stated the President of the Republic of Cyprus Glafcos Clerides during his salutation forwarded to the World Council of Hellenes (SAE) Third International Assembly inaugurated in Thessaloniki yesterday.

    President Clerides thanked the delegates for their support, which, he stated, has produced positive results in the past.

    "I want to assure you that we always use (your support) rightly," he stated and, referring to the ongoing proximity talks in New York, added that Cyprus is participating in the talks with good faith and honesty, wishing to arrive at a resolution as soon as possible, i.e. a compromise solution in line with the G-8 appeal and the relevant resolutions issued by the UN Security Council.

    "Our goal is one Cyprus united, where all the citizens will enjoy the enforcement of human rights, one Cyprus demilitarized, one Cyprus - member of the European Union, which will contribute to security, political stability and cooperation," he stated.

    [05] DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER ADDRESSES SAE THIRD WORLD ASSEMBLY

    Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoris Niotis, addressing the President and other dignitaries attending the inauguration of SAE's Third International Assembly yesterday, stated that this year's event is enriched by the participation of representatives from the most dynamic sectors of the Greek Diaspora.

    Specifically, he saluted the participation of the Greek-descent businessmen from throughout the world, as well as the representatives from the area of culture and arts.

    Mr. Niotis stated that SAE's Third International Assembly finds all Greeks, in and beyond Greece, more united and more resolved to defend their common interests and lead a stronger Hellenism into the next millennium.

    The inaugural ceremony was also attended by the ambassadors of Austria, Canada, South Africa and Sweden, as well as the consul-general of Australia.

    [06] THESSALONIKI PREFECT FAVORS FOUNDING OF DIASPORA MINISTRY

    The Prefect of Thessaloniki Costas Papadopoulos reiterated the local authorities' request of the establishment of a Ministry for Greeks Living Abroad, while he also announced the expansion of the programmed alliance of the Center of Study and Development of Greek Culture in the Black Sea.

    Addressing the delegates of the World Council of Hellenes (SAE) Third International Assembly in yesterday, Mr. Papadopoulos stated that the government should review the prospect of founding a ministry for the Diaspora, since this would also contribute to Thessaloniki's establishment as the capital of Ecumenical Hellenism.

    Regarding the Center of Study and Development of Greek Culture in the Black Sea, the Prefect announced that it enjoys the participation of five ministries: Interior, Public Administration and De-Centralization; Foreign Affairs; National Education and Religion; Culture and Macedonia-Thrace.

    The Center was established with the sole aim to strengthen and promote the Greek presence in the Black Sea region through innovative and flexible programs.

    [07] SAE BESTOWS HONORS UPON WORLD-WIDE DISTINGUISHED GREEKS

    In the presence of the President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos, the Council Of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) bestowed honors in Thessaloniki on a number of Greeks for their distinguished, worldwide accomplishments in each of their fields of endeavor.

    They were: Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, the Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria Petros, the Archbishop of Tirana and All of Albania Anastasios, Greece's National Weightlifting Team (Valerios Leonides, Akakios Kakiashvili, Leonidas Kokas), film director Costas Gavras, singer George Dalaras, Nelson Mandela's attorney at law George Bizos, Greek businessman and benefactor Zisis Dardalis and professor Andreas Dimarogonas.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch was honored for his overall contribution to humanity and for his efforts to promote environmental protection.

    The Patriarch of Alexandria referred to the role carried out by the Patriarchate in keeping Hellenism united.

    The Archbishop of Albania Anastasios was honored for his contribution to the peaceful coexistence of the Balkan peoples.

    [08] GREEK-AUSTRALIANS LOOK TO NORTHERN GREECE FOR VENTURES

    Future investments amounting to tens of billions of drachmas in the sectors of hotel infrastructure, gold mining industry and liquid fuel are planned by Greek-Australians presently visiting the region.

    The prospective investors are in want of local partners for forming joint ventures a in all sectors, looking at Thessaloniki as a starting point for Balkan and Black Sea markets.

    One example of these ambitious plans in the establishment of a four-star hotel in Kastoria by the Afkos Industries Group. The project is expected to be completed in 2002.

    Northern Greece's abundant gold mines are also an enticing point for Oceania's ventures, as two Australian companies, Cyprus Mining and the aforementioned Afkos Industries, are already looking into expanding their activities into Kavala's copper and gold regions.

    Posing as another strong attraction in the field of gold mines are the countries of the former eastern bloc, where the mines are numerous but these states lack in technology and mechanics. As such, according to the President of Afkos Industries Paul Afkos, Australian and Greek ventures could both benefit in these markets through the formation of joint ventures, as the Australian side would contribute in the technological aspect and the Greek side in the market awareness.

    Moreover, Mr. Afkos referred to the Olympic Games of 2004, where he stressed the economic gains to be reaped by Greece which, he assesses, will surpass the state's expectations. He also stated that Greek businessmen have discovered Australia's shipping industry and pointed out that Greece has recently ordered Australian ferry boats through a purchase amounting to $135 million.

    Another successful Greek-Australian businessman George Andrianopoulos, who is active in the energy sector, is looking into forming ventures in the fuel trade market, aspiring to establish an extensive line of gas stations which will provide, in addition to fuel, natural gas for automobile use.

    [09] NORTHERN GREECE INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION ON MISSION TO KOSOVO

    The Northern Greece Industries Association (SVVE) is to conduct a business mission to Kosovo on January 10 in an effort to boost the participation of Greek ventures in the Balkan Reconstruction Program, which, to date, does not surpass the two percent mark.

    The delegates will hold meetings with the officials from the Reconstruction Program, the United Nations High Commissioner, and Kosovo's Chamber of Commerce.

    [10] DIPEK COMPLETES SUCCESSFUL MISSION IN ALBANIA

    The recent business mission conducted to Albania by the Inter-Balkan and Black Sea Business Center (DIPEK) has produced tangible results, including the signing of a cooperation protocol with Albania's Agency of Economic Development.

    The DIPEK delegates reported that their Albanian counterparts expressed a strong interest in forming trade alliances, while Albania's ministers of public works and economy and the undersecretary of Trade reiterated their interest in holding a Greek products fair in Tirana in the spring of 2000.

    [11] MPA TO HOST INTER-BALKAN CONFERENCE ON REGIONAL PEACE

    The Macedonian Press Agency is to host a journalism conference, titled "the Prospect of Inter-Balkan cooperation after Kosovo: the Role of the Media", which will be attended by senior journalists from 60 of the Balkan region's largest media organizations.

    The event, to be held in Thessaloniki on December 10-11, will feature the participation of leading journalists from Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, FYROM, Moldova, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey and Yugoslavia, as well as directors and chief editors from Greece's largest media.

    The strife-torn region of Kosovo will also be represented at the conference; the publisher of the "Koha Ditore" daily Beton Suroi will attend, as well as the director of the "Rilidia" daily Plerim Reka, the journalist-historian Skelcem Ratsa, and others.

    Moreover, the event will feature the participation of officials from the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as FYROM's alternate Minister of Press and Information Dragi Arsov and Albania's Minister of Press Musa Oulkini.

    The conference is taking place under the auspices of the Ministries of Press and Mass Media, Development, and Macedonia-Thrace, as well as with the assistance of the Thessaloniki Trade and Industry Chamber and the Northern Greece's Journalists Association.

    [12] COURT SENTENCES SAILOR TO LIFE OVER MURDER, BEHEADING

    The Greek sailor who killed his American girlfriend and then beheaded and burned her body was given the maximum sentence - life imprisonment without the possibility of parole - by a Greek court yesterday, which dismissed the defense's argument that he was mentally unstable while committing the heinous crime.

    George Skiadopoulos, 25, was found guilty of one count of premeditated murder in the killing of 31-year-old Julie Marie Scully, of Mansfield, N.J., on January 8 and also found him guilty of other counts, such as desecrating the dead, perjury and false testimony.

    Ms. Scully met Skiadopoulos in 1997 on a Caribbean cruise ship, where he served as petty officer. She had moved to Kavala in December of 1998 and they planned to marry. According to reports, she apparently had changed her mind and planned to return to the United States where she has a three-year-old daughter from her previous marriage. She had recently been awarded about $600,000 in a divorce settlement and had given up custody of the child.

    On January 11, 1999, Skiadopoulos returned to Athens and went live on television to report his girlfriend missing, claiming that she left him after a quarrel. He later confessed his crime to the police and led investigators to her dismembered body in a ravine, on the hills of northern Greece.

    [13] GREEK MUNICIPALITIES SEEK RETURN OF NIKE OF SAMOTHRACE

    Representatives of 48 various municipalities in Greece have signed a declaration requesting the return of the renowned Greek sculpture Nike of Samothrace, a.k.a. the Winged Victory, which is presently kept in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

    The municipalities are requesting that the statue be returned to its birthplace, tthe Aegean island of Samothrace where it was created by a Rhodes sculptor between 220 and 190 BC. The sculpture was discovered at Samothrace in 1863 by Champoiseau, the French then-consul.

    The sculpture portrays the goddess of victory alighting on a ship's prow, with her wings spread apart and her garments rippling in the wind.

    [14] 1.500.000 COPIES OF KAZANTZAKIS' BOOKS HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED IN BULGARIA

    Nikos Kazantzakis is the most popular Greek author in Bulgaria as over 1.5 million copies of his books have been published in the country.

    The above were stated by Bulgarian translator and member of the board of directors of the Association of Greek-Bulgarian Friendship Georgi Kuvov, who is of Greek origin and is currently in Thessaloniki to attend the events held within the framework of the 3rd World Assembly of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, SAE.

    Mr. Kuvov dedicated 40 years of his life to translations and he has already translated 33 books of Greek authors, seven of them written by Kazantzakis. He said that he is of Greek origin and started translating books based on the language he had learnt from his parents, stressing that he is self-taught. He also said that there was no school teaching the Greek language in Bulgaria when he was young and that a modern Greek language department was established in Sofia in the past 5 years.

    [15] REPPAS: MR. CEM'S MOVE IS POSITIVE

    Greek government spokesman Deimitris Reppas characterized the statements made by Turkish foreign minister Ismail Cem on the Greek-Turkish relations in view of the EU Summit meeting in Helsinki as a positive message that must be put into practice.

    Mr. Reppas said that a good will gesture from Ankara constitutes a step that will bring Turkey closer to the European Union.

    Mr. Cem in statements he had made to the Turkish newspaper "Milliyet" he had stressed that his country will be harmonized with the European Union rules.

    [16] BIG LOSSES OF 2.55% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    The general price index in the Athens Stock Exchange closed with losses of 2.55% at 5.349,18 while the volume of transactions remained at low levels at 273 billion drachmas.

    The lack of liquidation and the bad psychological state of investors exerted pressures on the Athens Stock Exchange, while the biggest pressures were exerted on the stocks trading in the parallel market.

    [17] INFLATION WAS AT 2.6% IN NOVEMBER

    New inflation increase was recorded in Greece. Inflation closed at 2.6% in the month of November, according to the National Statistics Agency. Specifically inflation was increased by 0.4% compared to 2.2% in the month of October.

    Meanwhile, prime minister Kostas Simitis will meet tomorrow with minister of national economy and finance Yiannos Papantoniou and National Bank of Greece governor Theodoros Karatzas to discuss the regulations prepared by the government to deal with compound interest imposed by the banks.

    [18] THE DEVELOPMENT COURSE OF THE GREEK ECONOMY WAS PRESENTED BY THE UNDERSECRETARY OF FINANCE

    The axes on which the development course of the Greek economy moves were presented to the delegates of the 3rd World Assembly of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, SAE, by undersecretary of finance Rodoula Zisi.

    Ms. Zisi referred to the fundamental reform of the Greek economy underlining that Greece is an organic part of the European Union, which is the most advanced form of a states' union at a world level. She stated that a considerable number of businesses, about 3.500, discover that they have the ability to expand their productive action outside national borders and beyond the protection of the state not only through exports but through their immediate establishment and operation in third countries as well.

    [19] THE NATIONAL ISSUES AT THE CENTER OF THE SAE PROCEEDINGS

    The proceedings of the 3rd World Assembly of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, SAE, continued today with the presentations made by the delegates and briefings on issues of national importance and the country's foreign policy. Also, there were presentations of the findings reached in the different meetings organized within the framework of the conferences of the Greek businessmen, scientists and intellectuals living abroad.

    The applications for candidature to the 11member presiding board of SAE were submitted today and elections will be held tomorrow. Based on a presidential decree, from now on the SAE presiding board will be made up of 11 members. Specifically, the presiding board will be made up of the president the deputy president, five vice-presidents, four from the regional SAE and the fifth from the Cypriots living abroad, three secretaries and a treasurer. The world assembly of SAE will be held every two years.

    Meanwhile, right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy parliament deputy Fani Petralia protested against the way the SAE assembly was organized and maintained that the government uses the assembly for internal consumption purposes.

    [20] THE SCIENTIST WHO DISCOVERED THE GROWTH HORMONE WILL VISIT THESSALONIKI

    Israeli child endocrinology professor Zvi Laron, who discovered the growth hormone and is a candidate for a Nobel prize, will be in Thessaloniki on Thursday.

    The disease that stops the growth of children was named after him and as it was made known he will give a press conference in Thessaloniki before leaving for Athens to attend the 4th conference of the Growth Hormone Greek Society of Research and Applications that will take place on Saturday.

    [21] BAKOURIS: THE 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES BRING THE GREEKS LIVING ABROAD CLOSER TO THE GREEK STATE

    The belief that the 2004 Olympic Games will make the ties stronger between the Greeks living abroad and the Greek state, while they will also help in bringing closer to their fatherland the 2nd and 3rd generation Greeks, was expressed by "Athens 2004" organizing committee president Kostas Bakouris, who spoke today in the 3rd World Assembly of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, SAE.

    He said that the Olympic Games will be the means to establish Athens as a modern metropolitan center in the wider region of eastern Mediterranean and the Balkan countries and added that those games constitute an opportunity for the promotion of the true values of Olympism.

    [22] SAE'S 3RD WORLD ASSEMBLY OPENED IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF PATRIOTICH EXAUTATION

    In a festive atmosphere and in a climate of patriotic exaltation, optimism and trust in the future of Hellenism the 3rd World Assembly of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, SAE, opened in Thessaloniki yesterday in the presence of president Kostis Stephanopoulos, prime minister Kostas Simitis, parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis, political party leaders, government ministers, Church representatives, members of the diplomatic corps, parliament deputies, local authorities and 600 delegates from all over the world.

    The conference opened with a holy blessing by Metropolite of Thessaloniki Panteleimon, who delivered a warm message to the delegates. A message by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos was also read by Archbishop of Austria Michail.

    Greek president Kostis Stephanopoulos formally opened the 3rd World Assembly of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, SAE, in Thessaloniki and his words moved the delegates who responded with enthusiasm to his speech. Mr. Stephanopoulos spoke of "the epic of the Greeks abroad" and characterized the 7 million Greeks all over the world as more worthy of praises than those who live in Greece because they have to preserve their cultural heritage. He also spoke of "a blessed part of Greece" and urged the present political leadership of the country to help the Greeks abroad to preserve the language, religion and the idea of Hellenism. He also referred to the plight of the Greeks in Himara, Korce, Pontos and Caucasus underlining their needs in schools, churches and everything else.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos said that SAE's 3rd World Assembly must be called "Conference of the Greeks" because all the Greeks are present, stressing that Greece owes a lot to its children living abroad. Mr. Stephanopoulos stated that now Greece has known progress and has an obligation to give back to the Greeks living abroad what it owes to them.

    He made a special reference to the needs of the Greek minority students in Albania and stated that those needs must be met so that the people there will not be forced to leave their homes, while he also spoke of the Greeks of Pontos, the Caucasus and the Vlachs, who also need the support of Greece.

    Referring to the Greeks living abroad, Mr. Stephanopoulos said that they strengthen patriotism which is nothing more than the love for Greece.

    [23] KAKLAMANIS: SAE MUST BE UPGRADED IN QUALITY

    The need for the upgrading of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, SAE, in quality was underlined by president of the Greek parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis speaking in its 3rd World Assembly. This way, said Mr. Kaklamanis, all the forces of Hellenism will be activated and cooperation will be strengthened toward achieving the common goals.

    On the more effective organization of the SAE activities, Mr. Kaklamanis said that the council itself must be reorganized with the establishment of special forums. He stressed that the dialogue of the Greek parliament with the parliaments of other 20 countries within he framework of the European Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of Orthodoxy offers one more chance for cooperation among the Greeks all over the world.

    [24] THE MESSAGE BY THE MINISTER OF MACEDONIA- THRACE IN SAE

    The 3rd World Assembly of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad in Thessaloniki is a turning- point because an opportunity will be given to assess the maturity of the organized Greeks who live abroad and a new beginning will be made, stated minister of Macedonia-Thrace Yiannis Magriotis, speaking in the opening of the SAE 3rd World Assembly proceedings yesterday.

    Mr. Magriotis said that an opportunity will be given to plan the next steps in a responsible and realistic way, with initiatives for the support of Cyprus and the Greek communities all over the world, while there will be a new beginning aimed at the completion of the communication networks established for the better cooperation of the Greeks abroad.

    He also said that the conference for the finalizing of the sports events that will culminate with the 2001 Helleniad will be held next year.

    [25] THE MESSAGES OF THE GREEK POLITICAL LEADERS IN SAE'S 3RD WORLD ASSEMBLY

    The time has come for Greece to adopt a common national policy, underlined right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis, speaking yesterday before the 3rd World Assembly of the World Council of Hellenes Abroad, SAE, while he also added that we do not have the luxury of confrontation when it comes to issues of national interest.

    Mr. Karamanlis said that the rights and the interests of the people are above political parties and different views, while he appealed for a joint effort to be made without taking political expediency under consideration. Mr. Karamanlis also expressed the hope that the National Council of Foreign Policy will become a reality.

    The amendment of the presidential decree on the operation of SAE was suggested by Communist Party parliament deputy Stratis Korakas, who also called for changes in issues concerning SAE's representation, operation, audit checks and activities.

    The need for a flexible, reliable and effective policy for the Greeks living abroad was stressed by Coalition of the Left leader Nikos Konstantopoulos, while Democratic Social Movement president Dimitris Tsovolas, also speaking in SAE's 3rd World Assembly, called for the establishment of a ministry responsible for the Greeks living abroad.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [26] EU GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL CAN'T AGREE ON TURKEY'S BID

    Greece is not ready to approve or reject Turkey's bid for candidacy as a European Union member, stated the Foreign Minister George Papandreou following yesterday's General Affairs Council held in Brussels.

    Mr. Papandreou stated that a number of issues remain open in areas such as Greek- Turkish relations,, the Cypriot matter, Cyprus's accession to the EU, and the subject of human rights.

    They Foreign Minister stressed that the candidate countries should not be judged by double standards and added that a potential failure of the Helsinki-held talks this Friday should be attributed to the European allies who did not appreciate the significance of the issues set forth by Athens.

    [27] TRAJKOVSKI IS THE WINNER OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN FYROM

    The VMRO-DPMNE candidate Boris Trajkovski is the winner of the presidential elections in FYROM as it was indirectly confirmed by the state electoral committee which announced the results of the second ballot on Sunday.

    According to the votes counted in the 230 polling stations where the second round of the elections was repeated, Trajkovski got 133.782 votes while the Social-Democratic Union candidate Tito Petkovski got 3.681 votes. The participation of the voters was 86.49% while the spoilt ballot papers were 1.541. The state Electoral Committee will announce the formal final results of the presidential elections by tomorrow evening.

    [28] GREEK HOUSING LOANS TO ALBANIA

    The Greek housing loan to Albanian families, who lost their homes in 1997 after the collapse of the so-called pyramid schemes in which they had invested all their savings, will be granted before the end of this month.

    According to the newspaper "Koha Yone", the responsible state committee has decided that the loans will be granted in the next few days to the first 300 families that lost their houses when they invested in the pyramid schemes.

    [29] THE PROXIMITY TALKS ON CYPRUS CONTINUE IN NEW YORK

    The proximity talks on Cyprus continue in New York with the separate meetings of UN secretary-general special adviser Alvaro de Soto with Cypriot president Glafkos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash.

    Based on reliable sources, in yesterday's meeting of Rauf Denktash with UN secretary- general Kofi Annan, the Turkish Cypriot leader raised the issue of the embargo and the recognition of the Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state in the Turkish occupied northern Cyprus.

    Cypriot president Clerides from his side stated that it would had been a big mistake on behalf of the European Union to open the way for Cyprus' full EU accession if no solution is found to the Cyprus problem.

    Meanwhile, Rauf Denktash appeared provocative again as according to Turkish Cypriot newspapers, he called on the Greek Cypriot side to abandon its intransigence, stressing that he will never sign an agreement that will be based on two "states" in Cyprus, while he also stated characteristically that he will not allow Cyprus to be turned into another Chechnya.

    [30] BULGARIA REQUESTED GREECE'S ASSISTANCE FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE "VONTOLEI 1" MOTOR-SHIP

    Bulgarian minister of transportation Wilhelm Kraus issued an appeal calling for the Greek government's assistance in order to contribute to the protection of the lives of the crew members of the "Vontolei 1" motor-ship that continues to wander since last Saturday night in the international waters of the Aegean Sea with about 300 illegal immigrants on board.

    The ship, which belongs to the state "Transibex" company, was chartered by the private "Ahtokomers" company and had left the Burgas port for Istanbul on November 29 with an 8member crew. It appears that an undetermined number of unknown nationality illegal immigrants have boarded the "Vontolei 1".

    The Bulgarian ministry of transportation maintains that the motor-ship was hijacked by the illegal immigrants and that its crew was forced to change its course to Italy where the illegal immigrants want to go.

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