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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2001-02-08

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, February 8, 2001

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS TITLES
  • [01] BULGARIAN FM MIKHAILOVA IN ATHENS TODAY
  • [02] CIA CHIEF: GREECE STILL HAS A LONG WAY TO GO
  • [03] GREEK DIPLOMAT DISMISSES DOOMSAYERS OVER 2004
  • [04] MORE GREEK WRITERS TO BE PRESENTED AT HARVARD
  • [05] BALKAN CONFERENCE TO BE HELD AT HARVARD
  • [06] COMMISSION REPORT: GREECE SHOWS HIGHS & LOWS
  • [07] ALBANIAN NATIONAL GETS LIFE FOR KIDNAPPING
  • [08] GREEK PM IN BOMBAY, SPEAKS ON BILATERAL TIES
  • [09] THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTRY DOES NOT INTERVENE IN THE ELECTION OF THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM
  • [10] THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTRY WORKS ON A TEXT ON SOUTHERN SERBIA
  • [11] GAINS WERE RECORDED IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [12] NO COMMENT BY THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTRY ON THE ALLEGATIONS MADE BY US OFFICIALS ON TERRORISM
  • [13] BEGLITIS DENIED PRESS REPORTS ON A PR AGENCY THAT HAS UNDERTAKEN TO HANDLE THE GREEK-US RELATIONS
  • [14] GOLDEN COINS FROM THE BYZANTINE ERA WERE FOUND IN THESSALONIKI
  • [15] GREEK AND TURKISH FILM CRITICS WILL MEET IN ALEXANDROUPOLIS
  • [16] NEW STRONG RESPONSE BY THE ACTING GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN ON THE PRESS REPORTS ON TERRORISM
  • [17] PAPANDREOU: THE PRESS REPORTS ON SECURITY IN GREECE ARE EXAGGERATIONS
  • [18] THE CEDEFOP COUNTRIES CONFERENCE IN THESSALONIKI
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
  • [19] TSOCHATZOPOULOS IS ON A VISIT TO KOSOVO
  • [20] THE GREEK DELEGATION IS SATISFIED WITH ITS VISIT TO KOSOVO

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] BULGARIAN FM MIKHAILOVA IN ATHENS TODAY

    Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mikhailova is embarking on an official two-day visit to Athens today, following the invitation of her Greek counterpart George Papandreou.

    Ms. Mikhailova, who is making her first official visit to Athens, and Mr. Papandreou will discuss bilateral political and economic relations, the situation in Yugoslavia and the Balkans in general and the course of Bulgaria's accession to NATO and the European Union. The two FMs will also review the means of expediting the materialization process of joint projects between the two countries, including the operation of three new border stations.

    The Bulgarian FM is scheduled to meet with the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, President of the Hellenic Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis, Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos and the leader of the main opposition party of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis.

    Upon her arrival in Athens, Ms. Mikhailova will hold private talks with Mr. Papandreou, while expanded talks will follow between the two countries' delegations.

    In the afternoon, she will be visiting the presidential mansion for a courtesy call on the President. This evening the Bulgarian FM will be attending a dinner given in her honor by Mr. Papandreou and tomorrow morning she will be having consecutive meetings with Messrs. Kaklamanis, Karamanlis and Avramopoulos.

    Bilateral trade and economic cooperation between the two countries was very productive in 2000 at a time when Greece, according to initial assessments, is in either first or second place regarding investments in Bulgaria.

    [02] CIA CHIEF: GREECE STILL HAS A LONG WAY TO GO

    Greece still has long way to go in effectively addressing the issue of terrorism, the director of U.S. Central Intelligence (CIA) George Tenet said in an address before the Senate's Intelligence Committee.

    In response to a question tabled by the committee's chairman Richard Shelby (R), who had asked if U.S. athletes and tourists would be safe if the Athens Olympics were to be held today, Mr. Tenet stated that what he can say openly before the committee's public hearing is that he was "very clear" during his talks with Greek officials "on the need to deal with the threat of terrorism much more seriously than they have in the past".

    Moreover, the CIA chief stated that the Games in themselves are a very vulnerable event, while also stressing that Greece has to demonstrate that it can not only resolve dormant cases, but also that it can create the conditions which would ensure security for all the athletes, including Americans, when they arrive in Greece.

    [03] GREEK DIPLOMAT DISMISSES DOOMSAYERS OVER 2004

    Following the publication of a particularly scathing commentary where a former State Department and Pentagon official blasts Greece's security measures and warns of an imminent calamity, a Greek embassy official responded that the article was written "in bad faith" and outlined the measures taken by Greece to ensure a safe and successful Games.

    In an article published in the Los Angeles Times, the same daily that ran Wayne Merry's commentary, the director of the Press Office of the Greek embassy in Washington Achilleas Paparsenos, said that "despite the doomsayers, we are confident that in 2004 (the year in which the Olympic Games will be held in Greece) millions of visitors to Greece and billions watching on television will enjoy a unique celebration of sport and culture linking the ancient with the modern, a return of the Olympic movement to its roots.

    "In bad faith, they portray Greece, one of the safest countries in Europe, a member of the European Union, NATO and a reliable U.S. partner, as a terrorist-afflicted third world country and, three years in advance, they write off the Athens Games as an Olympic tragedy in waiting, even suggesting that they be moved to another venue," he wrote.

    He also stressed that the security of athletes, dignitaries and spectators is an issue of top priority for 2004 and the Greek authorities will leave nothing to chance.

    "A comprehensive plan for the 2004 Olympic Games, approved by the IOC, delegates responsibility for security to a special Olympic Games security department. This will deploy 50,000 police, army, coast guard and commando units, all equipped with the latest technology, and 1,000 video cameras will keep constant watch from key locations," Mr. Paparsenos stressed.

    [04] MORE GREEK WRITERS TO BE PRESENTED AT HARVARD

    Three Greek writers are to be presented at Harvard University tomorrow, in an event jointly organized by the Greek Consulate's Press and Communication Office in Boston, the New York branch of the Greek Culture Foundation and Harvard University's Kokkalis Program.

    The writers, Ioanna Karystiani, Ersi Sotiropoulou and Christos Chomenidis, are to appear at the Bell Hall of Harvard University's J. F. Kennedy School of Government. Excerpts from their work will be read in English and Greek by the writers themselves and by translator David Connoly.

    The Greek Consulate also organized another event in Boston on February 5 in cooperation with the Harvard University's Seferis Faculty. Translator Jane Assimakopoulos read excerpts from Thanassis Valtinos' book "Data from the Decade of the Sixties", recently published by the Northwestern University Press.

    [05] BALKAN CONFERENCE TO BE HELD AT HARVARD

    A scientific conference on the Balkans, is to be held at Harvard's Center of European Studies on February 9-10, organized by the Kokkalis Program for Southeastern and Central-eastern Europe.

    The aim of the conference, which is held for the third consecutive year, is to bring together new researchers dealing in the field of social and political sciences in the Balkans. The conference will deal with issues related to economic reconstruction, public administration and democratization, the society of citizens and human rights, mass media and democracy, traditional and new matters concerning security, criminality and corruption.

    The selection of the 22 participants was conducted following an international competition that drew more than 200 applications.

    [06] COMMISSION REPORT: GREECE SHOWS HIGHS & LOWS

    While Greece drastically improved its performance in many sectors of the economy, it still lags far behind its 14 European Union allies in other key areas, according to a European Commission report containing an account of all the economic and social performances of EU member-states and of future targets, which is to be discussed at the special annual spring summit on the European social agenda to be held in Stockholm in March.

    According to the economic and social indicators included in the report, Greece holds the following positions among the 15 member-states:

    Sixth place in economic development rates, 14th in the relation between energy consumption and production, last in labor productivity, ninth in inflation, fourth in the annual rates of increase in labor costs, 11th in the public deficit sector, 13th in the public debt sector, last in employment increase rates, seventh in the employment of elderly people (55-64), 14th in unemployment, last in expenditures for education, last in access to the Internet, 11th in high-risk capital investments, 7th in business investments' increase rates, 11th in the cost of telecommunications at home, seventh in the cost of telecommunications abroad and 14th in the effectiveness of social benefits for combating poverty.

    [07] ALBANIAN NATIONAL GETS LIFE FOR KIDNAPPING

    An Albanian national has been sentenced to life imprisonment and an amalgamated 19-year term, for kidnapping a 21-year-old Greek in September of 1996.

    The Thessaloniki Five Member Court of Appeals convicted Dolores (aka Alexander) Mucio for his participation in the kidnapping of Diamantis Tsabazis, and demanding 150 million drachmas in ransom.

    The appellate court also upheld the lower court's verdict for Mucio's accomplice Ilias Piros, who had been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. Piros, who participated as the kidnap vehicle's driver and also carried the suitcase containing the ransom, was tried in absentia as he had been released on parole. A warrant for his arrest has now been issued, while police are still seeking the ring's other members, identified as Dolores' brother Klenti (aka Antonis) Mucio, Christos (aka Vasilis) Gusios and another Albanian national named Glenti.

    According to court records, Dolores Mucio made an appointment with the victim under the false pretense of selling his car. Ambushed by Dolores' accomplices, the victim was kidnapped and driven into Albania. Eighteen days later, and after his father paid the ransom, the kidnappers released Diamantis at the island of Corfu.

    Police nabbed Mucio when the marked ransom money was found in his possession.

    [08] GREEK PM IN BOMBAY, SPEAKS ON BILATERAL TIES

    There are vast opportunities for growth in Greek-Indian relations in the economic, business and defense sectors, according to Prime Minister Costas Simitis who is presently on an official visit to India heading a large delegation of government officials and entrepreneurs.

    Characterizing Greece as a stability factor in southeastern Europe and the Middle East, Mr. Simitis stated that a number of bilateral cooperation agreements have been signed between Greece and India

    Addressing a forum of Greek and Indian entrepreneurs this morning in Bombay, the third stop of his itinerary in India, Mr. Simitis outlined Greece's economic status and underlined that "Greece is moving towards economic prosperity, social cohesion and societal justice. Greece has a free market economy, whose main partners are its allies in the European Union."

    Moreover, the Premier stated that Greece's political and economic stability place the country at the top of the list in the investments sector. Over the past five years, he said, Greece was developing at a higher rate than the European Union average, while inflation was just at 3 percent and the current state budget had a surplus.

    "The Greek economy," he added, "is expected to develop at even higher rates of approximately 5 percent."

    Moreover, he stressed that "the number one priority for Greece is the sector of structural reforms", i.e. improving competitiveness through a market liberalization program.

    Referring to relations between Greece and India, the Greek Premier expressed the hope that his visit will serve as a catalyst for further deepening and expansion of our bilateral relations.

    "Our trade exchanges can be expanded through direct investments and joint enterprises," he stated, adding that the two countries already enjoy a restoration of cooperation in the energy sector.

    [09] THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTRY DOES NOT INTERVENE IN THE ELECTION OF THE PATRIARCH OF JERUSALEM

    Greek foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis categorically denied that the Greek foreign ministry intervenes in the process for the election of the new Patriarch of Jerusalem.

    He said that the policy followed is a policy of principles and it is based on the respect of the Patriarchate's self- administration, adding that its role must be safeguarded by the one who will be elected.

    [10] THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTRY WORKS ON A TEXT ON SOUTHERN SERBIA

    The responsible agencies of the Greek foreign ministry are working on a text with economic and political proposals for the reconstruction and development of southern Serbia that will be discussed in the General Affairs Council meeting that will be held on February 26. The text is being prepared at the orders of foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou.

    Those proposals will also be brought for discussion in the Inter-governmental Conference Summit Meeting on February 22-23 by Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis.

    [11] GAINS WERE RECORDED IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index was up by 0.88% at 3.157,52 points, while the volume of transactions was small at 91.7 million Euro or 31.23 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today, 293 recorded gains and just 43 had losses, while the value of 33 stocks remained unchanged.

    [12] NO COMMENT BY THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTRY ON THE ALLEGATIONS MADE BY US OFFICIALS ON TERRORISM

    Greek foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis avoided to make any comments on the statements made by US officials concerning terrorism in Greece and referred to the statements made yesterday by acting government spokesman Tilemachos Hitiris.

    However, he pointed out that the formal statements made by the US government recognize the efforts made by the Greek government against terrorism.

    [13] BEGLITIS DENIED PRESS REPORTS ON A PR AGENCY THAT HAS UNDERTAKEN TO HANDLE THE GREEK-US RELATIONS

    Greek foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis denied the press reports according to which, the foreign ministry allegedly will appoint an American public relations agency to handle the Greek-US relations, stressing that foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou has not considered such an issue.

    However, he admitted that it is common practice for different states around the world to appoint public relations agencies to undertake the promotion of their positions and therefore, such a plan would not have been blameful. He reiterated that Greece's relations with the new US administration are at a very good level and in the near future there will be contacts with its American officials.

    [14] GOLDEN COINS FROM THE BYZANTINE ERA WERE FOUND IN THESSALONIKI

    A treasure made up of 14 golden coins dated back to the Byzantine Era (1005-1050 AD) was unearthed during construction works made at the foundations of a building in the city of Thessaloniki.

    The treasure will be presented tomorrow and according statements made to MPA by a Byzantine Antiquities Department official, it was discovered on October 14, 2000.

    Meanwhile, the excavations made in the region of Ladi in Didimoticho, northeastern Greece, unearthed a nursing bottle, a bronze spoon and a vessel used by a small child of a royal family. The objects were found in a child's tomb dated back to the Roman Era and a small horse was buried next to it.

    [15] GREEK AND TURKISH FILM CRITICS WILL MEET IN ALEXANDROUPOLIS

    Greek and Turkish film critics will meet in Alexandroupolis on March 3-5 to exchange views on the art of making films and lay the foundations for future cooperation on culture issues.

    The meeting is organized by Alexandroupolis Film Club in cooperation with the Greek Association of Film Critics with the participation of the Turkish Association of Film Critics as well as film directors.

    [16] NEW STRONG RESPONSE BY THE ACTING GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN ON THE PRESS REPORTS ON TERRORISM

    Acting Greek government spokesman Tilemachos Hitiris gave a strong response to Wayne Merry, former US State Department and Pentagon official, who wrote an article published on "The Weekly Standard" magazine in which he characterizes Athens as the city where terror reins.

    Mr. Hitiris characterized Merry as "ridiculous, provocateur, acting in bad faith, untrustworthy and paranoid".

    Responding to the question if Mr. Merry's motives have been examined by the Greek government, Mr. Hitiris responded that he is a paranoid. To another question on whether the Greek government will ask for information by the CIA on the occasion of the statements made by Mr. Merry in an interview yesterday with the Athens television station "ALTER" in which he insinuated that he gets his information from the FBI and the CIA, Mr. Hitiris stated that he is unreliable and added that his allegations are ridiculous.

    Regarding the statements made by CIA Chief George Tennet, who calls on the Greek authorities to intensify their efforts against terrorism, Mr. Hitiris stated that the Greek government not only speaks about an effort but it materializes it as well. He also underlined that the Olympic Games preparations are the right ones and expressed the government's satisfaction.

    To the question when the Greek government will have a contact with the new US government, Mr. Hitiris stated that the timetable is not set by the Greek side and that there will be contacts between the two governments. He also denied that the Greek government has appointed a public relations agency in a move aimed at seeking contacts with the US government.

    He concluded by saying that the relations of the Greek government with the new US government are stable and good and there is no reason for concern regarding the stability of those relations.

    [17] PAPANDREOU: THE PRESS REPORTS ON SECURITY IN GREECE ARE EXAGGERATIONS

    Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou stated that the press reports that refer to the issue of security in Greece in view of the 2004 Olympic Games are exaggerations.

    Mr. Papandreou stated that Greece makes coordinated efforts that are being recognized by the whole world and the US government, adding that those efforts are coordinated and essential to tackle terrorism as a phenomenon that is not a Greek but an international one.

    He said that the exaggerations that are being heard from time to time coming from foreign journalists are being condemned and in essence they have blown out of proportion an existing problem which Greece is trying to solve.

    [18] THE CEDEFOP COUNTRIES CONFERENCE IN THESSALONIKI

    The annual conference of the representatives of countries participating in the CEDEFOP Study Visits Program will take place in Thessaloniki on February 10-14. The countries are the 15 European Union member states, the 12 candidate for accession countries as well as, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

    The goal of the meeting is to review the operation of the program in 2000 and at the same time, plan its future course. CEDEFOP director Johan van Rens and State Museum of Modern Art director Miltiadis Papanikolaou will formally open the conference that will take place on the grounds of the museum on February 10.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [19] TSOCHATZOPOULOS IS ON A VISIT TO KOSOVO

    Greek defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, addressing the members of the Greek military force at Rigas Fereos Army Camp near Urosevac in Kosovo, stated that the path followed is the right one for the consolidation of peace, security and stability in Kosovo and in the Balkans in general.

    He congratulated the Greek force for its work and referred to the issue that was created concerning the depleted uranium bombs, saying that there was great concern on the likely effects this material could have on people's lives and stressed that the outcome of the scientific investigation conducted by the Greek Atomic Energy Committee in Kosovo was not alarming. He also said that the results of the scientific investigation by the UN international health organization will be out in March.

    Mr. Tsochatzopoulos heads a large delegation made up of 25 parliament deputies, 18 from the socialist governing party of PASOK, 6 from the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy and one from the party Coalition of the Left. Also present is Irini Lambrakis, in charge of the Stability Pact office in Thessaloniki.

    Before the visit to Rigas Fereos Army Camp the mission visited the Greek army company which has undertaken the FYROM- Kosovo border control. The defense minister and the parliament deputies will also visit the headquarters of the Greek brigade at the Alexander the Great Army Camp in Kosovo Polje.

    [20] THE GREEK DELEGATION IS SATISFIED WITH ITS VISIT TO KOSOVO

    Minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos and parliament deputies Moschos Gikonoglou from the governing socialist party of PASOK, Achilleas Karamanlis from the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy and Maria Damanakis from the party Coalition of the Left referred to the usefulness of the presence of the Greek force in Kosovo in a joint press conference they gave after their visits to the army camps of "Rigas Fereos" and "Alexander the Great" in Kosovo.

    All of them shared the view that the presence of the Greek military force and the International Peacekeeping Force in general will continue for many years to come for as long as there will be no signs for a solution in Kosovo. The minister of defense stated that the normalization pace is slow and blamed the European Union and the international organizations for the fact that the materialization of the Stability Pact program for the reconstruction and the economic development of Kosovo does not move in a satisfactory pace.

    On the cost of the Greek military force in Kosovo, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos stated that the 2001 state budget provides that the force will be funded with 21 billion drachmas. On the issue of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, the Greek minister of defense stated that the International Court of Justice in The Hague must keep pace with the Yugoslav Law.

    Greek military force commander brigadier Christos Vafiadis gave a special emphasis on the significant change of atmosphere among the Greek soldiers. Specifically, of the 142 soldiers, who had requested to return to Greece as a result of the depleted uranium scare, 48 thought it over and recalled their application. Already, 31 soldiers have arrived in Kosovo from Greece, while 162 are being trained in Thessaloniki and soon they will join the Greek forces in Kosovo. He also said that there are soldiers, who even though they had returned to Greece, now they want to be sent back to Kosovo.


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