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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 99-12-13

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 13, 1999

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] PREMIER TO MEET WITH PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC TODAY
  • [02] QUAKE OF 4.5 RICHTER RATTLES CHALKIDIKI, NO INJURIES REPORTED
  • [03] PREMIER TO ADDRESS FOREIGN PRESS ASSOCIATION TOMORROW
  • [04] MAIN OPPOSITION LEADER CRITICIZES EU DECISION ON TURKEY
  • [05] FM TO CONDUCT OFFICIAL VISIT TO TURKEY NEXT MONTH
  • [06] BALKAN JOURNALISTS CALL FOR A COMMON CODE OF ETHICS
  • [07] SEISMOLOGISTS ARE CAUTIOUS REGARDING THE SEISMIC ACTIVITY IN LAKE VOLVI
  • [08] COOPERATION BETWEEN THE GREEK AND RUSSIAN MINISTRIES OF DEFENSE
  • [09] SIMITIS: THE HELSINKI DECISION CREATES THE PRE-CONDITIONS FOR STABILITY IN THE REGION
  • [10] MR. KARAMANLIS ACCUSED THE GOVERNMENT OF ABANDONING THE GREEK POSITIONS
  • [11] BIG GAINS IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [12] THE HELSINKI DECISION IS POSITIVE - THE GREEK-TURKISH RELATIONS WILL BE IMPROVED ACCORDING TO TURKISH JOURNALISTS
  • [13] PAPANDREOU STATEMENTS ON THE HELSINKI EU DECISIONS
  • [14] PERRAKIS: THE HELSINKI EU DECISION IS VERY IMPORTANT
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [15] UK PREMIER: PARTHENON MARBLES WON'T BE RETURNED TO GREECE
  • [16] ROMANIAN OFFICIAL SPEAKS TO MPA ON FALL OF FATEFUL "FALCON"
  • [17] US PRESIDENT CLINTON CONGRATULATES GREEK PM OVER HELSINKI
  • [18] D'ALEMA : THE GREEK "YES" IN HELSINKI IS A HISTORIC MOVE - - - - - - - - - - - - -

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] PREMIER TO MEET WITH PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC TODAY

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to meet with the President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos today in order to brief him on the results of the European Union's Helsinki Summit where the allies accepted Greece's three terms on Turkey's bid for candidacy.

    The same issue will be discussed in the Parliament on Wednesday at a political leaders levels. Mr. Simitis will give a press conference with foreign press correspondents tomorrow.

    The three conditions set by Athens for approving Turkey's candidacy are that a solution to the Cyprus problem will not be a precondition for an EU decision on the island republic's accession; that Turkey's various territorial disputes with Greece be referred to the International Court of Justice at The Hague within a specific time-frame; and that the same conditions apply to Turkey as to the 11 other candidates states, emphasizing the need for an enhanced dialogue on human rights with a view to Ankara meeting the Copenhagen criteria on entry negotiations.

    [02] QUAKE OF 4.5 RICHTER RATTLES CHALKIDIKI, NO INJURIES REPORTED

    An earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale was felt throughout the northern Greek peninsula of Chalkidiki and Thessaloniki yesterday evening, although no injuries or damages have been reported.

    The quake's epicenter was located 55 kilometers east of Thessaloniki, while seismologists have stated that the tremor falls within the Serb-Macedonian fault which also caused the tremendous quake of 1978 that measured 6.5 on the Richter scale.

    Earthquake experts are to closely follow developments for the next 48 hours.

    [03] PREMIER TO ADDRESS FOREIGN PRESS ASSOCIATION TOMORROW

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will be the guest speaker at a 1 p.m. luncheon held in his honor by the Foreign Press Association (FPA) of Greece tomorrow, December 14, at the Caravel Hotel in Athens.

    Mr. Simitis will speak on government policy and answer questions by Greek and foreign reporters.

    [04] MAIN OPPOSITION LEADER CRITICIZES EU DECISION ON TURKEY

    Main opposition New Democracy leader Costas Karamanlis criticized the government on the outcome of the EU summit in Helsinki, particularly blasting what he called the "recognition of unilateral Turkish claims as Greek-Turkish differences".

    The Communist Party of Greece-KKE also said that the government's triumphant words were an effort to set up a smoke screen to cover up the fact that the agreement signed in Helsinki was at the expense of Greece's sovereign rights and the Cyprus issue.

    [05] FM TO CONDUCT OFFICIAL VISIT TO TURKEY NEXT MONTH

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou is to conduct an official visit to Turkey next month where he will sign a section of the Greece- Turkey agreements on minor policy matters, while his Turkish counterpart Ismael Cem will reciprocate the visit to Athens at a later date when the remaining agreements will be signed.

    Commenting on the European Council's decision regarding Turkey's bid for candidacy to the European Union, Mr. Papandreou told the Athens daily "Ta Nea" that "we are now at a completely different level or environment of opportunities, a new framework of conditions and political parameters, that grants significant tools not only to the Greek diplomacy, but to the European Union as well, to contribute to the resolution of issues, such as Greek-Turkish matters or the Cyprus problem, as well as to the resolution of domestic issues in Turkey."

    Concerning Cyprus. Mr. Papandreou stated that "In a border-free Europe, one where various peoples cooperate, with different languages and cultures, it is not possible to have a dividing line on a relatively small island, which does not allow cooperation among the people."

    Concerning G/T relations, Mr. Papandreou stated that they now essentially become European- Turkish relations, where "our issues become issues between Europe and Turkey.

    [06] BALKAN JOURNALISTS CALL FOR A COMMON CODE OF ETHICS

    The need for the establishment of a common code of ethics that would ensure the objective and sober reporting of news, regardless of ethnic backgrounds and political affiliations, was stressed by journalists from throughout the Balkan peninsula who participated at the Macedonian Press Agency's Thessaloniki-held conference titled "The prospect of Inter-Balkan Cooperation after Kosovo: The Role of the Mass Media".

    The general director of the Hellenic Radio (ERA) Yiannis Tzanetakos submitted the proposal for creating a code of ethics, while most of the delegates endorsed the need for objective news reporting, irrespective of the journalist's nationality and political affiliation. Namely, among the delegates who voiced their support of objectivity were the Turkish television station's ATV Kosovo correspondent Serif Turgut, the director of the Yugoslav daily "Danas" Radomir Licina, the general director of the FYROM daily "Puls" Mice Tomovski, the editor in chief of the Athens daily "Ta Nea" Costas Betinakis and the editor of the Turkish daily "Milliyet" Sahin Alpai.

    `The Balkan journalists who convened in Thessaloniki for two days to exchange points of views and proposals, concluded that their role requires increased responsibility and a heightened sense of awareness in order to near the vision of inter-Balkan peace and cooperation or, at the very least, to establish more humane conditions and long-term cooperation.

    A great number of delegates, among them the director of the "Thessaloniki daily" Traianos Xatzidimitriou, stressed the need to strengthen institutions such as the Balkan Press Center and the Association of Balkan News Agencies (ABNA), which carries out a significant role in providing objective and well-rounded news and information pertaining to the Balkans, while Albania's former press minister Musa Ulkini stressed the importance of establishing a Balkan Television Network, much like "Euronews".

    Concerning issues of media credibility, objectivity and ethics, the director of the Greek radio station ERT 3 Nikos Dimaras, as well as the director of Athens' "Flash" radio station Panos Koliopanos stressed the need to differentiate between commentary-opinion and hard news.

    The editor in chief of Romanian news agency Rompress Leila Bretan, Turkish daily "Yeni Asir" journalist Suleiman Gentzel, the general Direcotr of FYROM"S MIA news agency Zifko Georgievski and the general director of Albanian news agency ATA Frok Cupi stated that journalists should carry out their role as messengers, free of any propaganda that would serve political, religious or even cultural fanaticism, and also underlined the need for the Balkan news agencies to inform the region's peoples of the consequences of war.

    The director of the "Macedonia" daily Lazaros Hatzinakos and the editor in chief of the Serb daily "Oslobodjehje" Slobodan Stazic stated that inter-Balkan cooperation foremostly needs a more progressive democratization of the political institutions in every country and the development of the overall region.

    The Macedonian Press Agency's initiative to hold this conference in its effort to promote cooperation among the region's media will be held again next year.

    The MPA's general director Spyros Kouzinopoulos stated that the efforts to contribute to the better understanding and improved cooperation among the region's peoples will enter a new phase by the end of this month when the MPA's Balkan News Bank will embark on its operation.

    [07] SEISMOLOGISTS ARE CAUTIOUS REGARDING THE SEISMIC ACTIVITY IN LAKE VOLVI

    Seismologists state that they are cautious regarding the development of the seismic activity in the region of Lake Volvi which was the epicenter of last night's earthquake that measured 4.5 on the Richter scale.

    The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Geophysics Laboratory announced that the epicenter of the earthquake, that was recorded at 9:26 last night, was at the Migdonia Basin at the southern part of the Serb-Macedonian zone and is at a distance of 55 kilometers east of the city of Thessaloniki. Twenty minutes after the earthquake the seismologists recorded another tremor of 2.9 on the Richter scale that came from the same epicenter.

    Seismologist Vasilis Karakostas stated to MPA that last night's earthquake is most likely a delayed aftershock of the strong earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale that occurred on May 4, 1995 with an epicenter at the region of Arnea in Chalkidiki. Mr. Karakostas stated that in order to draw safe conclusions there must be a waiting period of at least 48 hours, adding however, that everything leads to the conclusion that last night's earthquake is placed within the aftershock activity of the Arnea earthquake.

    [08] COOPERATION BETWEEN THE GREEK AND RUSSIAN MINISTRIES OF DEFENSE

    Russian general Leonid Ivasov, responsible for the ministry of defense international military cooperation, is on a four-day visit to Athens and he will have meetings with Greek ministry of defense officials.

    The two ministries are expected to sign a military-technical cooperation agreement for the year 2000, while a press conference will be given in the Russian embassy in Athens on the NATO-Russia relations and the developments in northern Caucasus.

    [09] SIMITIS: THE HELSINKI DECISION CREATES THE PRE-CONDITIONS FOR STABILITY IN THE REGION

    The belief that the Helsinki EU Summit meeting decision on Turkey's candidature creates the pre-conditions for stability in the region was expressed by prime minister Kostas Simitis in statements he made after the meeting he had with president Kostis Stephanopoulos in order to brief him on the conclusions of the EU Summit meeting.

    The prime minister added that any such decision constitutes a framework and depends on the further developments how positive will be the results. He characterized as favorable and satisfactory that framework and pointed out that we can face the future with optimism and move to exploit the potential opened with optimism.

    Earlier in his meeting with the prime minister Mr. Stephanopoulos expressed the hope that the framework formed in Helsinki will be beneficial for the national affairs and for peace and stability in the region. From his side Mr. Simitis pointed out that Turkey must understand that it should abandon the past which was characterized by rivalries and tensions.

    [10] MR. KARAMANLIS ACCUSED THE GOVERNMENT OF ABANDONING THE GREEK POSITIONS

    Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis accused the government of abandoning the firm Greek positions of the past 25 years, speaking on the developments in Helsinki, while he expressed strong concern and called for a meeting of the political party leaders council to be held under president Stephanopoulos.

    The leader of the main opposition party stated that in the Greek-Turkish relations Greece gave away too much and got nothing in return. On the part of the EU decision that concerns Cyprus, he said that in principle this was a positive development adding however, that even in this case there are extremely dangerous terms.

    Regarding the different views expressed by members of his party, Mr. Karamanlis stated that in a major issue there can be differentiation, stressing that the positions he expressed today constitute the formal stance of New Democracy.

    [11] BIG GAINS IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    The outcome of the Helsinki EU Summit meeting and the expected cut of interest rates by the Bank of Greece on Wednesday brought a climate of euphoria to the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general index closed at 5.624,55 recording an increase of 3.81%, while the transactions reached 261 billion drachmas. The rise was notable from the start of the session when the general index had gains of over 4% maintained throughout the session. The stocks of constructions and the parallel market had the leading role in today's session. Three hundred and one stocks recorded gains, 5 recorded losses, while 23 remained stable.

    [12] THE HELSINKI DECISION IS POSITIVE - THE GREEK-TURKISH RELATIONS WILL BE IMPROVED ACCORDING TO TURKISH JOURNALISTS

    As extremely positive was characterized the decision reached in Helsinki on Turkey's EU candidature by two leading Turkish journalists, Haluk Sahin, news general coordinator of Channel D and "Milliyet" editor Sahin Alpai, who were in Thessaloniki on the occasion of the MPA journalist conference on "The prospect of inter- Balkan cooperation after Kosovo: The role of the mass media". The two journalists stated that this decision will contribute positively to the Greek-Turkish relations.

    Haluk Sahin commented that the decision reached in Helsinki is extremely positive for Turkey and constitutes a reference point for the mission of modernization undertaken by Turkey in the past 150 years. He also stated that it will be a new start for the Greek-Turkish relations and added that he is very optimistic.

    Sahin Alpai said that it is a very positive decision and that the EU has corrected the mistake it had made in Luxembourg which had negative consequences on Turkey. He said that the decision is very positive for the common interests of Turkey and the EU and the common interests of Greece and Turkey.

    [13] PAPANDREOU STATEMENTS ON THE HELSINKI EU DECISIONS

    The view that the Helsinki EU Summit decisions favor the common prospect and the common vision of all the Balkan peoples through their participation in the great European family was expressed by Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou today.

    The minister pointed out that the respect of basic rules that safeguard peace, democracy and the non use of violence open the way to development and prosperity for all people. He also said that the above framework was formed at the initiatives of Greece and added that the country can use effectively those elements in order to be able to speak about a different era in the new millennium.

    [14] PERRAKIS: THE HELSINKI EU DECISION IS VERY IMPORTANT

    As extremely important decision that opens new prospects for the region, was characterized the Helsinki EU Summit decision by Greek foreign ministry general secretary professor Perrakis, responsible for EU affairs.

    Mr. Perrakis, who participated in all the negotiations for the acceptance of the Greek terms by the EU partners, stated to Macedonian Press Agency that the exercise of the foreign policy is a continuous effort and a continuous negotiation. He also said that the Helsinki decision is an extremely important decision and the way it will materialize will depend on Turkey.

    On the term concerning the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Mr. Perrakis stated that it concerns the EU candidate states and not the EU members. Specifically, the decision mentions that if a candidate state has differences with another state then it will have to seek the peaceful solution of those problems and if this is not achieved the case will be brought before the International Court of Justice in The Hague within a reasonable period of time. It is mentioned that the European Council will observe the course of the efforts and in the year 2004 at the latest it will reconsider the situation especially, with regards to the effects on the EU accession procedure.

    Also, Mr. Perrakis emphasized that the only difference between Greece and Turkey is the continental shelf, adding that we should not be carried away in interpretation efforts that have nothing to do with reality. Mr. Perrakis stated that we did not have anything on that before, but now we have the Helsinki decision, stressing that continuous effort and vigilance are needed.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [15] UK PREMIER: PARTHENON MARBLES WON'T BE RETURNED TO GREECE

    British Prime Minister Tony Blair has categorically ruled that the Parthenon Marbles will not be returned to Greece, the British daily "The Guardian" reported.

    According to the article, Mr. Blair is said to believe that his government must have a "collective view" regarding the priceless artifacts and his decision narks a U-turn from the position maintained by two of his predecessors, Neil Kinnock and Michael Foot who had pledged the return of the Marbles to their homeland.

    Moreover, "The Guardian" reported that the British Premier wants to "handle the issue sensitively and not antagonize the Greeks", quoting sources close to Downing Street as having said that "the last thing Mr. Blair wants is another row with a fellow European Union member when he is already at loggerheads with the French about beef and the Germans over withholding tax."

    [16] ROMANIAN OFFICIAL SPEAKS TO MPA ON FALL OF FATEFUL "FALCON"

    The tragic death of Greece's alternate Foreign Minster Yiannos Kranidiotis and seven of his fellow passengers was probably not caused by air turbulence, human error or poor aircraft maintenance, according to Romanian Deputy Ioan Ciliman, but was most likely a result of a malfunction in the plane's auto-pilot mechanism.

    Speaking to the Macedonian Press Agency, Mr. Ciliman, who is also one of the vice- president of his country's parliament and a certified engineer who specializes in automation systems, stated that information systems installed by a French aircraft industry in other planes have been problematic in the past, citing one case where an aircraft actually crashed.

    [17] US PRESIDENT CLINTON CONGRATULATES GREEK PM OVER HELSINKI

    United States President Bill Clinton congratulated Prime Minister Costas Simitis on what he called the latter's 'responsible stand' at the European Union summit meeting, a clear reference to Greece's diplomatic green light for Turkey's move towards eventual membership of the EU.

    "I respect and esteem your stand," the US leader told Mr. Simitis in a letter, adding: "Under your leadership, your country can look forward to playing a key role in the region in securing stability, prosperity and peace."

    Lastly, thanking Mr. Simitis for the hospitality that had been extended to him during his recent visit to Greece, Mr. Clinton expressed his conviction that 'together we shall respond to the challenges of the new millennium'.

    [18] D'ALEMA : THE GREEK "YES" IN HELSINKI IS A HISTORIC MOVE

    The Greek "Yes" in Helsinki is a historic peaceful gesture that crosses out conflicts and hatred of the past with one move, said Italian prime minister Masimo D' Alema referring to the outcome of the European Council in Helsinki in a statement published on every Italian newspaper.

    The newspaper "La Stampa" underlines that the Italian prime minister had repeated contacts with the Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis both on the sidelines of the negotiations and within the framework of the European Socialist party leaders meeting, while minister of foreign affairs Lamberto Dini had repeated contacts with Turkish foreign minister Ismail Cem.

    However, the newspaper "Sole 24 Ore" writes that the role of the armed forces in the Turkish political life is incompatible with the EU criteria and that the two hot issues for Turkey are Cyprus and the death penalty. The big issue, writes the Italian newspaper, is the army the role of which can not be compared to any other European country, adding that the European prospect means that the military establishment must give away national sovereign rights. The newspaper stresses that the National Security Council must adopt an advisory character which means constitutional reforms.

    The degree of legality of the Turkish constitution is extremely small, according to professor Bument Taner, who stated that it is general Evren's constitution which was put into effect after the 1980 military coup. If Turkey really wants to become a member of the EU then all these represent the cost it will have to pay in return for the EU accession, the newspaper concludes.

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