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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-04-11

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, April 11, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] PREMIER RECEIVES BEST WISHES FROM EU ALLIES
  • [02] NEW PARLIAMENT TO BE SWORN IN ON APRIL 20
  • [03] CHEAPER FUEL EXPECTED BY HELLENIC PETROLEUM
  • [04] 24 KILLED IN 166 TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS DURING 3 DAYS
  • [05] GREEK FM TO MEET TURKISH COUNTERPART TODAY
  • [06] GREECE'S 2000 GROWTH RATE FASTER THAN EU AVERAGE
  • [07] 2ND INTERBALKAN INFORMATICS FORUM IN THESSALONIKI
  • [08] GREEK EXPORTS TO MOLDAVIA DROPPED BY 7.5% IN 1999
  • [09] THE MARKET AWAITS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF MR. SIMITIS' PRIORITIES
  • [10] SIMITIS-PAPANTONIOU MEETING
  • [11] CONGRATULATIONS TO MR. SIMITIS BY META AND NANO
  • [12] THE MUSLIMS IN THRACE VOTED FOR CHRISTIAN CANDIDATES
  • [13] MARGINAL LOSSES OF 0.51% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [14] NEW RECORD WAS BROKEN AT THE MPA SITE ON THE INTERNET
  • [15] THE FINAL RESULTS OF THE APRIL 9 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [16] US PRESIDENT CONGRATULATES PM ON RE-ELECTION
  • [17] PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS CONGRATULATES GREEK PM
  • [18] CLARK SPOKE OF PROGRESS IN THE GREEK-TURKISH RELATIONS
  • [19] THE EU-TURKEY ASSOCIATION COUNCIL MEETING WILL BE HELD TODAY

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] PREMIER RECEIVES BEST WISHES FROM EU ALLIES

    European Commission President Romano Prodi has congratulated Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis on his re-election.

    In a message forwarded to the Greek Premier, Mr. Prodi stated that "we sincerely wish you much success in the continuation of your work. The European Commission is committed to continuing to work closely with your government and you personally, and I want to assure you that you'll have its support and cooperation in the joint efforts at dealing with the challenges in building Europe."

    Mr. Simitis also received telephone calls from his Spanish and Luxembourg counterparts, Jose Maria Aznar and Jean Claude Juncker, respectively.

    In a telegram from London, British Prime Minister Tony Blair stated: "Congratulations on PASOKs success in (Sunday's) general election.

    "This is a strong vote of confidence in your management of Greece's economy; in your success in bringing Greece towards membership of the Euro and in your foreign policy, in particular re-building the mutual relationship between Greece and Turkey. I look forward to carrying forward our shared objectives in Europe and bilaterally."

    On his part, Dutch Premier Wim Kok stressed that Mr. Simitis' victory as an incumbent premier "comprises a significant political and popular confirmation," while he praised the re-elected PM's efforts at preparing the Greek economy for inclusion into the euro- zone.

    [02] NEW PARLIAMENT TO BE SWORN IN ON APRIL 20

    Prime minister and PASOK leader Costas Simitis received yesterday the mandate to form a new government from President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos, after winning Sunday's general elections.

    In order to form a government, Mr. Simitis must wait for the official final results on the composition of the 300-member parliament, and immediately afterwards present the new government.

    The new parliament will be sworn in on April 20, with the election of the Speaker of the House taking place on the following day. The Premier will announce the government's program on April 22 and will receive a vote of confidence on April 24.

    [03] CHEAPER FUEL EXPECTED BY HELLENIC PETROLEUM

    Hellenic Petroleum is expected to announce lower oil prices, following OPEC's recent decision to set higher output limits, thus resulting in lower oil prices, i.e. 20 dollars per barrel.

    Greece's inflation rose to 3.1 percent in March, an increase attributed to the then-soaring global crude oil prices.

    [04] 24 KILLED IN 166 TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS DURING 3 DAYS

    A total of 24 people were killed and 230 were injured in 166 road accidents throughout the country between Friday afternoon and Sunday midnight as out-of-town voters flocked to their home towns to vote in Sunday's general elections.

    Although, the highway patrol had taken emergency measures during the aforementioned time period, including the allocation of an extra lane on the Athens-Corinth highway, Greece wasn't able to beat its grim record.

    [05] GREEK FM TO MEET TURKISH COUNTERPART TODAY

    Greece's Foreign Minster George Papandreou is to meet with his Turkish counterpart Ismael Cem today, within the framework of the EU-Turkey Association Council meeting in Luxembourg today.

    The European Union foreign ministers finalized a report on EU- Turkish relations yesterday, which refers to the decisions drawn during the EU Helsinki Summit regarding the peaceful resolution of differences, as well as to the International Court of the Hague as a medium, and to the support of the UN Secretary General's efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue.

    According to Mr. Papandreou, the report constitutes a significant development for Greece, as it confirms the targets achieved during the Helsinki Summit of December 99.

    [06] GREECE'S 2000 GROWTH RATE FASTER THAN EU AVERAGE

    According to the European Commission's spring report, to be presented in Brussels today, the Greek economy will grow at a rate of 3.9 percent this year - faster than the European Union's average - and four percent next year.

    However, the report earns of a high rate of unemployment in Greece, expected to rise to ten percent by the end of the year, an assessment increased by a one-percentage point from the Commission's last report in November.

    Furthermore, the Commission's report forecasts that inflation will be 2.3 percent for both 2000-01, with the public debt at 1.3 percent of the GNP this year and 0.6 percent next year. Investments will increase by 9.1 percent in 2000, as opposed to the EU average of 7.5 percent.

    [07] 2ND INTERBALKAN INFORMATICS FORUM IN THESSALONIKI

    The organizing committee of the Second Inter-Balkan Informatics Forum is to hold its first meeting in Thessaloniki on April 14.

    Organized by the Northern Greece Informatics Companies Association, the forum aims at strengthening information and know- how in the sectors of communications and informatics throughout Southeastern Europe.

    The organizing committee is to discuss the establishment of a Balkan platform for the training of sector professionals, and the encouragement of joint ventures among the region's countries.

    [08] GREEK EXPORTS TO MOLDAVIA DROPPED BY 7.5% IN 1999

    Greek exports to Moldavia dropped by 7.5 percent in 1999, although Moldavian imports marked an impressive increase of 26.1%, according to the latter country's Statistical Service and Ministry of Economy and Reforms.

    In all, Greece ranked 16th among Moldavia's trade allies in 1999, representing a 1.2 percent share of Moldavian exports and 1.3% of imports.

    The products most imported to Greece form Moldavia are live cattle, food, beverages, tobacco and goods made of natural materials.

    Conversely, Greek exports to Moldavia include machinery, appliances, electrical devices, metals, food, beverages and tobacco.

    [09] THE MARKET AWAITS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF MR. SIMITIS' PRIORITIES

    The county's business world has focused its attention on the priorities of the new government economic policy which are aimed at backing the private sector. According to the newspaper "Express", the business world has reservations on whether the new government would want to revise its policy on basic sectors such as, taxation and the operation of the market in order to consolidate production and services, given the fact that Greece is in the process of joining the EMU and in addition taking under consideration the complex problems that will be created in the overwhelming majority of the Greek businesses due to the increase in competition.

    The small-medium sized business want meaningful changes that will shield their sector from the liberalization they will find ahead of them. The production sector called on the new government to keep the promises it gave during the election campaign concerning the drastic cut of state spending, the acceleration of privatization and the reduction in business taxation.

    Also, the sector of commerce calls for measures for the development of business activities, while the small scale industries want immediate solutions to their chronic problems such as funding, export incentives and taxation cuts.

    [10] SIMITIS-PAPANTONIOU MEETING

    Yiannos Papantoniou, who held the ministry of national economy in the last government, met with prime minister Kostas Simitis today within the framework of the contacts the prime minister has with leading PASOK members for the formation of a new government.

    In statements he made immediately afterwards, Mr. Papantoniou pointed out that he discussed with the prime minister issues concerning the program of the new government. He also briefed Mr. Simitis on the course of the negotiations for Greece's accession into the EMU and the materialization of the big social and structural policies that will be implemented by the new government.

    When asked to comment on whether he will remain in the national economy ministry, Mr. Papantoniou responded that the prime minister will decide on the issue.

    [11] CONGRATULATIONS TO MR. SIMITIS BY META AND NANO

    Prime minister of Albania Ilir Meta and Albanian socialist party leader Fatos Nano sent congratulatory telegrams to Greek socialist party of PASOK leader and prime minister Kostas Simitis for the party victory in the parliamentary elections.

    In his message the Albanian prime minister congratulated Mr. Simitis on PASOK's victory, pointing out that the election outcome is an approval of the correct policy that is being followed and also an approval of his own role as an able leader that will lead the country on the road toward continuing progress.

    Mr. Meta expressed the belief that Greece's development will continue and its economic growth will affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of Albanians working in the country.

    Fatos Nano stated in his congratulatory message that the mandate received by Mr. Simitis was as expression of the fact that the voters appreciated the determination of the PASOK government to follow the course toward the further modernization of Greece. He also expressed the belief that the excellent relations between the two political parties and the two state governments will contribute to the strengthening of friendship and cooperation between Greece and Albania and the two peoples.

    [12] THE MUSLIMS IN THRACE VOTED FOR CHRISTIAN CANDIDATES

    Christian candidates won the vote of 36.7% of the Muslim minority in Thrace, north-eastern Greece in the April 9 parliamentary elections breaking a tradition according to which, the Muslims voted only for other Muslims.

    The Muslim minority elected only one candidate in parliament namely, PASOK's Galip Galip, compared to 1996 when it had elected 3 deputies. The fact that the number of the Muslim parliament deputies has been reduced shows that the minority this time opted for the Christian candidates overcoming the bigotry and fanaticism of the past.

    Of the 91.800 registered Muslim voters in the prefectures of Rodopi and Xanthi, 65.656 exercised their right to vote and 41.554 opted for Muslim candidates, while 24.102 namely, 36.7%, preferred the Christian candidates.

    Specifically, of the 28.656 Muslims, who voted in the prefecture of Xanthi, 13.095 (45.6%) gave their vote to Muslim candidates, while 15.561 (54.4%) voted for Christians. In the prefecture of Rodopi, the Muslim candidates got more votes. Specifically, of the 37.000 Muslim voters, 28.459 (76.9%) gave their vote to Muslim candidates and 15.561 (23%) to Christians. The Muslim candidates with the party of PASOK got a total of 21.991 votes in the prefectures of Rodopi and Xanthi, while the New Democracy candidates got 13.040 votes.

    The Turkish newspaper "Zaman" underlined that 55% of the Muslim vote in the prefecture of Xanthi went to Christian candidates, while in the 1996 parliamentary elections 40% of the Muslims had voted for Christians. Also, the Turkish newspaper "Sabah", pointed out that the Muslims in Thrace voted for Christians and underlined that the minority members, who were supporters of the right, backed PASOK in last Sunday's elections and contributed to its election victory.

    [13] MARGINAL LOSSES OF 0.51% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    The Athens Stock Exchange recorded marginal losses of 0.51% today and the general index closed at 4.916,25 points.

    The volume of transactions was at 102,2 billion drachmas.

    [14] NEW RECORD WAS BROKEN AT THE MPA SITE ON THE INTERNET

    A new record was broken at the Macedonian Press Agency site on the Internet in the first hours after the closing of the polling stations in Greece on April 9 at 7pm, as it received 833.094 calls until 7am on Tuesday, April 11.

    Since the time when the exit polls were out and until Sunday at midnight, MPA received 226.384 calls, while in the early morning hours and until Monday at midnight they had reached 528.114 and from 1am until 7am on Tuesday their number was 78.596.

    Based on the statistical data gathered by the MPA servers, the busiest time was in the first 36 hours after the announcement of the election results. At 7pm on election day, there were 65.248 calls per hour on the average, 54.662 calls at 10am the next morning, an average of 52.979 calls at 6pm and 48.101 calls at 11pm.

    Apart from the election results, MPA had broadcast the political party leaders' speeches live on the cyberspace, while the televised Simitis-Karamanlis debate on March 30 had received 250.000 calls in the first 12 hours.

    At the address of MPA on the Internet (www.mpa.gr) users can find a number of information on all the post-election developments as well as, interesting news on Greece, the Balkans, the Greeks abroad and the world.

    [15] THE FINAL RESULTS OF THE APRIL 9 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

    The final results of the parliamentary elections in Greece were announced today. The registered voters were 9.373.439 and of them 7.027.007 exercised their right to vote (74.97%) in 18.959 polling stations across the country. The valid ballot papers were 6.868.484, the spoilt ballot papers were 111.389 (1.59%) and the blank ballot papers were 47.134 (0.67%).

    Specifically, the socialist party of PASOK got 43.79% of the vote (3.007.947 votes) and 158 seats in parliament, right-wing New Democracy 42.73% (2.935.242 votes) and 125 seats, the Communist Party 5.53% (379.517 votes) and 11 seats, the Coalition of the Left 3.20% (219.918 votes) and 6 seats, while the Democratic Social Movement got 2.69% (184.586 votes) and no seat in parliament.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [16] US PRESIDENT CONGRATULATES PM ON RE-ELECTION

    Following the PASOK party's victory in Sunday's general elections, re-elected Prime Minister Costas Simitis received a lengthy congratulatory message from the President of the United States Bill Clinton.

    In a telegram to Mr. Simitis, President Clinton stressed that he considers the strengthening of the historical ties connecting Greece and the United States as very significant.

    "When I was in Athens last autumn I emphasized that Greece and the United States have a long and close friendship.

    "We must continue our struggle for the deepening of our ties as friends and allies. The renewal of our cooperation is in the interests of both our countries, as well as heightened cooperation for the strengthening of trade and political ties," President Clinton stated.

    "Greece, as the only member-state of NATO and the European Union in SE Europe, has a major role to play in the Balkans," the US President wrote, adding that "in the previous year you and your government showed great fortitude in your effort to overcome historical differences between Greece and Turkey by offering a hand of friendship.

    Furthermore, Mr. Clinton expressed his hope that both Athens and Ankara will continue efforts over the next few months to continue the nascent Greek-Turkish rapprochement.

    Referring to Cyprus, Mr. Clinton mentioned his administration's desire to assist efforts to lessen differences on the divided island of Cyprus and help both of the island's communities reach a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.

    The United States Embassy in Athens also issued a press release echoing President Clinton's message.

    "We look forward to continued strong co-operation between the governments of the United States and Greece," the press release read, adding that US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was scheduled to convey her congratulations to her counterpart George Papandreou.

    [17] PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS CONGRATULATES GREEK PM

    The President of the Republic of Cyprus Glafcos Clerides expressed his congratulations to Prime Minister and PASOK leader Costas Simitis for his party's victory in Sunday's general elections and his re-election to the post.

    President Clerides, who is in London for a meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, telephoned Simitis earlier today to congratulate him.

    As he told reporters, the two pledged to continue cooperating as they have done so far in their pursue of a Cyprus settlement and intend to meet soon in order to discuss ways of promoting this objective.

    [18] CLARK SPOKE OF PROGRESS IN THE GREEK-TURKISH RELATIONS

    A big progress has been recorded lately in the relations between Greek and Turkish military officials who cooperate within the framework of the obligations of the two countries in NATO, stated NATO allied forces supreme commander in Europe Wesley Clark.

    Speaking in his farewell visit to Ankara the US general added that the efforts made must continue for a greater rapprochement between the two sides.

    From his side, the Turkish defense minister expressed satisfaction for the improvement of the Greek-Turkish relations and added that the tendency for the further development of those relations will continue as the Greek government has not changed after the April 9 parliamentary elections.

    [19] THE EU-TURKEY ASSOCIATION COUNCIL MEETING WILL BE HELD TODAY

    The Turkey-EU association council takes place in Luxembourg today and Greece is represented by foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou.

    The EU foreign ministers yesterday approved a common position on the issue of the EU-Turkey association which includes all the controversial points of the Helsinki EU Summit among them, the solution of inter-border disputes through the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the solution of the Cyprus issue and the partnership relation with Turkey.

    Mr. Papandreou appeared especially satisfied with this development as according to his statements, a positive procedure, which started in Helsinki and raises the issues that must be resolved in Turkey's course toward the European Union, has been confirmed.


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