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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-04-24

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 24, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] PM VOWS TO FULLY UPHOLD ALL ELECTORAL PLEDGES
  • [02] VOTE OF CONFIDENCE IN PARLIAMENT TONIGHT
  • [03] GERMAN CHANCELLOR INVITES SIMITIS TO CONFERENCE
  • [04] ZEMING FAVORS RETURN OF PARTHENON MARBLES
  • [05] CYPRIOT FM ARRIVES IN ATHENS ON WEDNESDAY
  • [06] GREEK FM MEETS WITH SERB DELEGATION IN ATHENS
  • [07] ECONOMY MINISTER PAVES WAY TO PRIVATIZATION
  • [08] GREEK AND TURKISH JOURNALISTS TO MEET IN RHODES
  • [09] GREEK TOURISM TO BENEFIT GRD 2.3 TL FROM OLYMPICS
  • [10] THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE HAD LOSSES OF 0.74%
  • [11] REPPAS ON THE ELECTION LAW
  • [12] REPPAS: GREECE WANTS THE SITUATION IN YUGOSLAVIA TO NORMALIZE
  • [13] ARMENIAN DEMONSTRATION IN FRONT OF THE TURKISH CONSULATE IN THESSALONIKI
  • [14] PAPANDREOU PLEDGED CONSENSUS AND DIALOGUE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS ISSUES
  • [15] THE GREEK POLICE IS ON THE TRACES OF A CHILD PORNOGRAPHY RING
  • [16] A TRIPARTITE MEETING OF LOCAL RADIO STATIONS' REPRESENTATIVES FROM GREECE, TURKEY AND BULGARIA
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [17] ROMANIA TO HOST FORTH BSEC MEETING THIS WEEK
  • [18] TURKEY'S CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF ON G/T RELATIONS
  • [19] RUSSIA OVERTURNED TURKISH PLANS ON THE BLACK SEA
  • [20] SIMITIS-CLERIDES MEETING IN ATHENS ON MAY 19
  • [21] ITALY AND GREECE ARE ALBANIA'S TOP TRADE ALLIES

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] PM VOWS TO FULLY UPHOLD ALL ELECTORAL PLEDGES

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis vowed to fully uphold all of the PASOK party's electoral pledges, during his address before Parliament on Saturday, where he officially announced his government's program for the next four years.

    Specifically, the Premier reiterated that he will pursue steady economic growth, coupled with increased employment. Moreover, he stressed the importance his government will grant to social welfare and announced that he plans to reform the health and education.

    "The first and main aim is to raise the standard of living of all Greeks so as to converge with that of other European countries," the Premier stated, adding "but we must understand nothing was given to us as a gift. We shall earn our place in the world through our own choices, decisions and efforts."

    The Premier's "special commitments", a voluminous document submitted to Parliament, contains specific spending targets, such as 45 trillion drachmas slated for social spending between 2000- 04, which will help raise the lowest social security pension to 152,000 drachmas monthly for 350,000 individuals and provide tax breaks to families with three or more children.

    In regards to funding from the European Union's Third Community Support Framework for 2000-06, 80 percent is to be spent on developing rural areas, including 15.7 trillion drachmas for supporting regional growth, developing infrastructure and backing industry, commerce and tourism.

    Moreover, Mr. Simitis stressed his two-trillion-drachma National Employment Action Plan and reiterated that he will press forward with pledges to create 300,000 new jobs, 300,000 paid job training positions for the unemployed and an equal number of training or retraining positions for those already employed. Also, one trillion drachmas has been earmarked for providing updated technological training to employees.

    Referring to Greece's standing in European and international institutions, Mr. Simitis stated that "today, more than ever, the future of the Greek people depends on Greece's position on the international scene and in the globalized economy, mainly our strength within the European Union.

    "Our political strength is determined by our equal and dynamic participation, both institutionally and economically," the Premier stressed.

    [02] VOTE OF CONFIDENCE IN PARLIAMENT TONIGHT

    Greece's 300-member parliament will conclude a three-day debate over the ruling PASOK party's program with a vote of confidence tonight at midnight.

    Premier and PASOK leader Costas Simitis, who outlined his government's program before the House on Saturday, will make his closing remarks tonight before a roll call of the 300 deputies where they will vote on their confidence in the new government.

    In his parliamentary address on Saturday, the Premier vowed that "the commitments we made before the Greek public will be fully adhered to", stressing that the government's main priorities are the country's accession to the euro zone by January 1, 2001, supporting employment, education and wages, as well as improving health services.

    The main opposition party of New Democracy stated that the government's policy statement could not be construed as a plan of action.

    "What the prime minister said in parliament (on Saturday) could be called anything but a policy statement," ND spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos said in a statement.

    [03] GERMAN CHANCELLOR INVITES SIMITIS TO CONFERENCE

    German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has invited Prime Minister Costas Simitis to an international conference on "Progressive Governing in the 21st Century", which will take place in Berlin on June 2 and 3.

    According to the Athens Sunday paper "To Vima tis Kyriakis", United States President Bill Clinton, European center-left leaders and representatives of Latin American countries will also take part in the conference.

    [04] ZEMING FAVORS RETURN OF PARTHENON MARBLES

    The President of the People's Republic of China, Ziao Zeming, who ended a three-day official visit to Greece today, expressed the view that the Parthenon Marbles should be returned to Greece after he was given a tour of the Acropolis on Saturday evening.

    Meanwhile, at the same time human rights protesters staged a mock execution at the ancient monument, protesting China's dismal record of executions and detention of political dissidents.

    Prior to departing for South Africa from Crete this morning, the Chinese leader visited the archaeological site at Knossos.

    President Zeming is the first Chinese president to visit Greece.

    [05] CYPRIOT FM ARRIVES IN ATHENS ON WEDNESDAY

    Cypriot Foreign Minister Yannakis Kassoulides is to arrive in Athens on Wednesday, where he will hold talks with his Greek counterpart George Papandreou.

    Mr. Kasoulides has said the government will never accept injustice, imposed by the use of force, and will continue its efforts to reunite Cyprus, divided since Turkish troops invaded in 1974.

    He also stated that the position held by the Turkish side regarding recognition of two separate states on the island or acceptance of the two state entities and a confederation would never be accepted by the Cypriot side.

    Moreover, the Cypriot minister stressed the only way to a solution is to ensure that international law, respect for human rights and the European Union rules and regulations form the basis of a settlement.

    According to press reports, Mr. Kasoulides' visit was deemed necessary in view of Mr. Papandreou's forthcoming trip to the United States in the first week of May, where he will have contacts with the American Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and the Turkish Foreign Minister, Ismail Cem.

    Cypriot President Glafkos Clerides is scheduled to have a meeting with the Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis in Athens on May 19, in view of the third round of proximity talks on the Cyprus issue, scheduled to get under way in New York on ̀ay 23.

    [06] GREEK FM MEETS WITH SERB DELEGATION IN ATHENS

    An Athens-held conference of Serb opposition groups hosted by Aleksander Karadjordjevic, the son of Yugoslavia's last king, ended on Saturday with the issuing of a declaration calling for a united front against president Slobodan Milosevic.

    The declaration said a council of Serbia's "democratic forces" should unite all the democratic opposition under Mr. Karadjordjevic.

    Opposition groups also called for free elections to be held under the supervision of the international community, and voiced support for the struggle of the Orthodox church and the Serbian National Council of Kosovo to secure the rights of the few remaining Serbs in the NATO-occupied Yugoslav province.

    The declaration added that those responsible for the woes and defeats of the Serbian people should be brought to trial.

    Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou met a committee of Kosovo Serbs, including Orthodox Bishop Artemije, on Saturday, and told them that Greece wants to help international efforts to return the Kosovo Serbs to their homes, and promised assistance with recording and repairing damage to Orthodox monuments in the province.

    Mr. Papandreou also pledged Greek help in setting up Internet cafes in Kosovo, and said Athens would set up a radio station for the benefit of the Kosovo Serbs. He also met with Serb opposition leader Goran Djindjic.

    [07] ECONOMY MINISTER PAVES WAY TO PRIVATIZATION

    In a parliamentary address last night, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou made it clear that the government is shifting its focus on completing the privatization program, an important part of the structural changes to the Greek economy.

    Addressing the House, as part of the government's policy statement, Mr. Papantoniou provided the final timetable for the partial or complete privatization of about 15 state-controlled companies and public utilities by December 2000, starting with the Public Utilities Company (DEH).

    Moreover, the Minister announced the established of a Support Fund for new technologies, aimed at boosting investments in the sector and whose monies will be derived from the privatizations.

    [08] GREEK AND TURKISH JOURNALISTS TO MEET IN RHODES

    Greek and Turkish journalists are to convene at the island of Rhodes on May 26-28, where they will discuss issues pertaining to the mass media, local societies, local administration, tourism and other areas that boost ties between the two neighboring peoples.

    Meanwhile, the permanent contact and cooperation group comprising Greek and Turkish journalists and media executives, which met recently in Istanbul, the event will feature 15 journalists-guests from each country.

    [09] GREEK TOURISM TO BENEFIT GRD 2.3 TL FROM OLYMPICS

    Greece's tourism sector is expected to reap benefits amounting to GRD2.3 trillion by the year 2011, monies that are to be derived from the Athens Olympic Games in 2004 and related activities.

    Following the castigating report by the chairman of the International Olympic Committee Juan Antonio Samaranch, who last week stated that the Athens 2004 summer games would be in "danger" unless the Greek organizers made "drastic" changes by the end of the year, Culture Minister Theodoros Pangalos is to travel to the IOC headquarters on Thursday, in order to sway the "naysayers" and convince them that great progress will have been made by the end of the year.

    [10] THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE HAD LOSSES OF 0.74%

    The week opened for the Athens Stock Exchange with losses of 0.74% but today's session was not characterized by big surprises as the general index had just small fluctuations.

    The general index was at 4.362,79 points, while the purchasing interest was limited and the volume of transactions was just over 100 billion drachmas.

    [11] REPPAS ON THE ELECTION LAW

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated that the discussion on the changes in the election law is among the government's intentions.

    Mr. Reppas clarified that any changes that will be made will be put into effect after the next parliamentary elections.

    [12] REPPAS: GREECE WANTS THE SITUATION IN YUGOSLAVIA TO NORMALIZE

    The Greek government suggests that the embargo against Serbia be lifted, while it is in favor of the unchangeable of the Balkan borders, including Yugoslavia's, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, adding that those positions were reiterated by foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou in the meeting he had with the leaders of the Serb opposition.

    Responding to questions by reporters, he said that the Serb opposition leaders visited Greece legally and the government had no involvement in the meeting they had in Athens. He said that the Greek government is in favor of the normalization of the developments in Yugoslavia and the Yugoslav people must make decisions in a democratic way through a dialogue of understanding and consensus.

    On the fact that Greek foreign minister adviser Alexandros Rontos addressed the son of the deposed King of Serbia, Karajorjevic, as "Your Highness", Mr. Reppas said that conclusions should not be drawn quickly based on a courtesy address and pointed out that the government does not recognize Mr. Karajorjevic's title.

    [13] ARMENIAN DEMONSTRATION IN FRONT OF THE TURKISH CONSULATE IN THESSALONIKI

    The Armenian community in Thessaloniki commemorated the 85th anniversary of the Armenian genocide by the Turks.

    The events on the occasion of the anniversary culminated with a memorial service in the Orthodox Armenian church held in the presence of local officials. In his speech Thessaloniki prefect Kostas Papadopoulos referred to the history of the genocide of the Armenians by the Ottoman Turks and called on Turkey to follow the example of Germany that apologized to the Jews by recognizing the genocide and apologizing for it.

    After the memorial service, about 200 members of the Armenian Youth Organization holding Armenian flags held a protest march to the Turkish consulate. Tension was created when police tried to stop the young Armenians from getting to the Turkish consulate building to post a petition calling on Turkey to recognize and condemn the genocide it committed against the Armenian people and give them back the historical Armenian territory.

    [14] PAPANDREOU PLEDGED CONSENSUS AND DIALOGUE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS ISSUES

    Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou stated that he will personally guarantee the consensus and dialogue procedures with the opposition parties on foreign policy issues. Mr. Papandreou made the commitment speaking in parliament, while at the same time, he stressed that he needs cooperation and requests it from the parties of the opposition.

    He assured that the Greek foreign policy has not changed and remains firm in its values and targets for a strong Greece in the international scene, the safeguarding of national targets and the persistence to the principles and the respect of International Law.

    Mr. Papandreou gave a special emphasis to Cyprus' unhindered EU accession course and the solution of the Cyprus problem, stressing that if the problem remains unsolved will be an obstacle to the complete normalization of the Greek-Turkish relations. Referring to the bilateral Greek-Turkish relations, the Greek foreign minister pointed out that they "constitute aggressive dialogue initiative", adding that the dialogue does not mean neither negotiation nor transfer of sovereign rights but it is rather a way to avert conflict.

    He also gave an emphasis to the developments in the Balkans, pointing out that Greece undertakes initiatives for the promotion of peace, stability, the economic development of the region and its cooperation with all its allies namely, the United States, Russia and the European Union on the basis of the International Law principles and the respect of the democratic institutions and values.

    Finally, on the issue of the name of FYROM, Mr. Papandreou said that Greece is ready to reach a solution on the issue based on a mutually acceptable basis.

    [15] THE GREEK POLICE IS ON THE TRACES OF A CHILD PORNOGRAPHY RING

    At least 20 cases of child pornography in which are involved Greek Internet users are investigated by the Greek police in the past few weeks, according to a report on the Athens newspaper "TO VIMA".

    According to the report, the specialized Crime Research Office laboratories has all the electronic means to investigate such cases involving the Internet.

    [16] A TRIPARTITE MEETING OF LOCAL RADIO STATIONS' REPRESENTATIVES FROM GREECE, TURKEY AND BULGARIA

    A tripartite working meeting of local radio stations' representatives from the eastern Balkans will be held at the northern part of the prefecture of Evros in Greece on June 2-4 with the participation of the heads of the national radios. The decision was reached in the meeting of state radio directors of Bulgaria, Turkey, and Greece Alexander Velev, Tsetin Teztzan and Yiannis Tzanetakos respectively.

    In the meeting are also scheduled to participate local radio station delegations from Plovdiv, Entirne and Orestiada.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [17] ROMANIA TO HOST FORTH BSEC MEETING THIS WEEK

    The fourth meeting among the member-states of the Organization of Economic Cooperation in the Black Sea (BSEC) is to be in Romania on April 27-28, according to the host country's ministry of the interior.

    The meeting will feature the participation of Interior Ministers from Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Turkey, Russia, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Romania, which is undertaking the organization's six-month rotating presidency as of today.

    Romania's Minister of the Interior Constantin Dudu Ionescu stated that the participants will review the results of the terrorism-combat agreement signed during the BSEC's previous meeting.

    [18] TURKEY'S CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF ON G/T RELATIONS

    There are four or five problems overshadowing Greek-Turkish relations, according to Turkey's Chief of General Staff Husein Kivrikoglu, who also urged that an agreement should be reached between the two sides.

    Participating in a reception hosted by Turkish Parliament Speaker Yildirim Akbulut, on the occasion of the House's 80th anniversary, Mr. Kivrikoglu referred to military relations with Greece, and said "they only talk about the continental shelf.

    "We talk about four or five problems. We should reach an agreement. If two sides talk about different things, nothing positive can happen. They do not even consider some things as problem. How can we solve them?'"

    Moreover, the Turkish Chief stated that Ankara had proposed the exercise of joint maneuvers, but the Greek side has yet to respond.

    [19] RUSSIA OVERTURNED TURKISH PLANS ON THE BLACK SEA

    Russia ruined Turkey's plans for the creation of a multi- national force in the Black Sea. The meeting of the Black Sea Navy general staff chiefs that was held in Istanbul did not give the desired results to Turkey.

    The Turkish newspaper "Hurriyet", commenting on the results of the meeting, stressed that Russia did not accept the Kivrokoglu proposal, who had underlined the need for the establishment of a multi-national Navy Force under the name "BlackSeaFor" to operate based on the model of the NATO and UN forces in constant contact with the big defense organizations. The Turkish general maintained that the creation of such a force would stabilize peace and security in the region.

    Russia, however, which is opposed to the creation of such formations close to its borders, reacted negatively and blocked any decision on the issue to the disappointment of the Turkish generals.

    [20] SIMITIS-CLERIDES MEETING IN ATHENS ON MAY 19

    Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis will meet with Cypriot president Glafkos Clerides in Athens on May 19, according to Cypriot government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou, who characterized the meeting of the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey Giorgos Papandreou and Ismail Cem as a significant political event that it is expected with interest.

    The Cypriot News Agency mentions that Mr. Papapetrou also stated that the Papandreou-Cem meeting in the United States offers the opportunity to Ankara to present its position after the illegal elections in the Turkish occupied territories in Cyprus, stressing that the Greek Cypriot side expects that with this meeting Turkey will change its stance and enter a meaningful discussion in the third round of talks on Cyprus.

    [21] ITALY AND GREECE ARE ALBANIA'S TOP TRADE ALLIES

    Italy and Greece remain Albania's top trade allies, according to Tirana press reports.

    As the daily "Koha Jone" reported, in February 2000 Albanian imports from Italy amounted to 67.6% of the overall imports volume, while exports to the same country rose to 33.6 percent.

    Albanian imports from Greece amounted to 23.6%, while exports represented 14.2 percent of the overall exports volume.


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