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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2002-09-04

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, September 4, 2002








  • [01] GIANNITSIS-WESTON MEETING The need to look for "different versions" and "alternatives" - always overseen by the UN Secretary General - if the Cyprus issue is not resolved by the Copenhagen Summit Meeting of the EU, was referred to today by special coordinator of the State Departm ent on the Cyprus issue, Thomas Weston, who met with alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Giannitsis in Athens.

    The US, as a member of the UN Security Council, where the Cyprus issue is discussed "regularly", believe that "if the course followed does not pay off, different versions and alternatives will have to be looked into", stated Mr. Weston after the one hour

    meeting he had with Mr. Giannitsis. He also pointing out that the selection of "the different ways and alternatives", must be made by the UN Secretary General.

    Mr. Weston underlined that political will to resolve the issue must be promoted, strengthened. "There is no tactical reason - based on the history of the problem - for which to not find a solution to the problem. Everything depends on the political will of the parties involved", he said.

    On his side, Mr. Giannitsis pointed out that "there is no argument and no political legalization that could stand in the way of Cyprus' accession to the EU".

    He stressed that Cyprus' accession to the EU is in its final phase, noting that Cyprus is one of the countries meeting the Copenhagen political criteria to the letter, it is heading the negotiations for the Enlargement, and along with two other countries , it has closed the largest number of negotiation chapters.

    "It is the country which, structurally, politically, financially and socially, is closer, almost identical I would say, to the European model, than any other country. Cyprus will also be a financier, due to its high growth level, when it is incorporated to the EU", he added.

    Mr. Giannitsis noted that the political issue of Cyprus is still open, however he pointed out that a solution could be found with effort, before Copenhagen.

    "If this is not doable, the path is not cut off. These efforts can continue later. Greece, the Greek government, is increasingly interested in the European path, European prospects and the approach of Turkey. We have proven this, and we believe that all efforts in the future must be concentrated, so that this European path is indeed proven constructive and positive for Turkey, and Greece, and Cyprus, and Europe, and the whole international system", he underlined.

  • [02] SIMITIS SCHEDULE AT THE TIF At 2pm on Friday, Prime Minister Kostas Simitis will arrive at Thessaloniki's "Macedonia" airport, escorted by members of the Cabinet. He will be officially welcomed at the airport and then taken to stay at the "Macedonia Palace" hotel.

    At 7pm, the opening ceremony of the 67th TIF will begin at the "I. Vellidis" conference center, and the Prime Minister's speech will begin at 8pm exactly. At 9pm, the official reception will be held in the gardens of the 3rd Army Corps.

    At 11am on Saturday, he will visit the new building of the Administrative Court of Appeals of Thessaloniki and at 12 noon the water refinery in Sindos, where there will be a test run of the facility.

    At 2:30pm, Mr. Simitis will have lunch with government and party officials at "Macedonia Palace".

    From 7pm to 9pm, two working meetings will be held in "Macedonia Palace", with representatives of social and local government bodies.

    At 9:30pm, he will address a greeting at the dinner held in his honor by the two companies of the TIF, at the "I. Vellidis" conference center.

    On Sunday, from 11am to 12 am, the Prime Minister will visit the administration building of the TIF and kiosks, such as that of France, which is the country honored at the 67th TIF and the 2008 EXPO. At 1pm he will hold a press conference at the "I. Vell idis" and will then depart for Athens.

    However, four rallies have been organized during the Prime Minister's stay in Thessaloniki. On Friday, during the opening ceremony, 7pm, farmers will protest after the decision of the Confederation of Democratic Farmers' Associations, which is affiliated

    to ND. At the same time, the Committee for International Detente and Peace has organized a rally at the Camara.

    On Saturday at 7pm, farmers affiliated to the KKE and workers members of the Workers Fighting Front, will gather in the YMCA square. The European Social Forum, the Civil Servants Association, the "Genoa" Initiative, the "International Action", and other organizations and associations have called a meeting at the same time, at the statue of Venizelos.

  • [03] SIMITIS: ECONOMY DOING FINE The Greek economy is doing very well despite the international situation, has high growth rates and is in a dynamic period, stated Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, immediately following his meeting with the President of the Republic Kostis Stefanopoulos.

    Leaving the Presidential residence, Mr. Simitis stated:

    "With the President of the Republic we discussed interior and foreign policy issues. We made special mention of the course of the economy and what I will say in relation to it at the Thessaloniki International Fair.

    I would like to stress that the economy is doing well, that this year we have realized two major reforms: The insurance reform, which was completed, and the tax reform, which has moved to its main part.

    Especially the measures decided on yesterday by the Government Committee, in relation to income tax, which are measures promoting social justice and the redistribution of income. This way we are trying to support dynamic convergence, support a course tha t will bring Greece closer to other European countries.

    Of course, there are some issues that are occupying us, for example the issue of inflation. But these issues are not such that would cancel out the general image of an economy, which, despite the international situation, has a high growth rate and is in a dynamic period.

  • [04] G. PAPANDREOU: NO ENLARGEMENT WITHOUT CYPRUS "Whomever decides to stop Cyprus' accession, will essentially stop the EU enlargement", stated Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou.

    "There can be no enlargement without the accession of Cyprus", said the Minister to Flash radio, and noted: "We are not the ones who want to stop the enlargement, but, of course, if someone dares to, Greece will in no case leave Cyprus on its own". He ad ded that at the Helsinki Summit, it was made clear that Cyprus' accession is independent from the resolving or not of the Cyprus issue.

    On the upcoming meeting of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan with the President of the Cypriot Republic, Glafkos Cleridis, and the leader of the Turkish Cypriots, Rauf Denktash, he appeared reserved concerning its results, due to the fluid political situat ion in Turkey, which is on its way to elections.

    Meanwhile, the position that "the political resolving of the Cyprus issue cannot be a condition for Cyprus' accession to the EU", was repeated by Commissioner Gunther Verheugen, at the plenary session of the European Parliament, answering questions of eu roMPs Kostis Chatzidakis, of ND, and Alekos Alavanos of the Coalition. Mr. Verheugen also pointed out that Turks and Turkish Cypriots have a lot to win from resolving the Cyprus issue and from Cyprus' incorporation as a unified state to the EU.

    "I will make every effort possible and will make an emergency appeal to Turkey and Turkish Cypriots once more, to recognize the fact that if the Cyprus issue is not resolved, the consequences will be faced by the Turks, who would greatly benefit from the

    political resolving, while on the contrary, would have a lot to lose by not resolving the issue", stressed Mr. Verheugen.

    Referring to the benefits all of Cyprus' population will have from its accession as a unified state, he pointed out that the EU "is prepared to offer significant financial support for the broader development of Cyprus, as a consequence of its accession".

    The German Commissioner confirmed that opinion the Commission will present on October 16, that Cyprus is in a previous stage of negotiations and that the covering of related chapters has almost been completed.

    Both Mr. Chatzidakis as well as Mr. Alavanos welcomed the positive position of the Commission, and especially that of the relevant Commissioner on the enlargement, seeking a final and fair solution to the Cyprus issue.

  • [05] PASOK PARLIAMENT DEPUTIES ON THE INTERIM ACCORD BETWEEN GREECE AND FYROM Governing Socialist Party of PASOK parliament deputies Stelios Papathemelis, Kiriakos Spiriounis and Panagiotis Kritikos requested to be informed on the stance that will be adopted by the Greek government in view of the fact that the interim accord betwe en Greece and FYROM will expire in the next few days.

    With a question directed to Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou the three parliament deputies stressed that a likely silent extension of the accord will not be good for Greece because it will mean that FYROM will take advantage of the time that will pas s.

  • [06] UNEMPLOYMENT AT 8.3% IN THE EURO-ZONE IN JULY Unemployment remained steady at 8.3% in the Euro-zone in July, according to the European statistics agency, Eurostat.

    Meanwhile, Eurostat has revised the unemployment percentage for the month of June from 8.4% it had announced initially to 8.3%.

    In the 15 EU states, unemployment in July remained at 7.7% with the lowest percentage (2.4%) recorded in Luxembourg and the highest (11.3%) in Spain.

  • [07] THE GOVERNMENT ADMITTED INADEQUACY IN DEALING WITH THE FLOODS Government spokesman Christos Protopapas admitted that the picture of the state mechanism reflects inadequacy and weakness, adding that mistakes were made in dealing with the floods.

    Mr. Protopapas apologized to those damaged by the floods and maintained that there would have been no damages if all the responsible officials were at their posts. He also stressed that those who were damaged will be compensated.

    The heavy rain yesterday caused serious problems in the Athens area when the Kifisos River broke its banks and tens of basements and stores in the residential regions of Menidi, Moschato, Renti, Ilion, Nea Ionia, Faliro and Perissos were submerged in mud dy waters.

    Minister of Interior Kostas Skandalidis asked and received last night the resignation of civil protection general secretary Dimitris Papanikolaou. As it was made known, he will be replaced by Ioannis Geograkopoulos.

  • [08] PERSONAL DATA PROTECTION AUTHORITY: SCHOOL DIPLOMAS SHOULD NOT MENTION THE HOLDER'S RELIGION The exemption of students from religion classes is not being considered, clarified Minister of Education Petros Efthimiou referring to the issue that was created after the statements by the personal data protection authority. In essence, the personal dat a protection authority suggests that religion courses should become elective, while it also suggests that school diplomas should not mention the holder's religion.

    Government spokesman Christos Protopapas stated that politically the issue has closed.

    The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece that met today expressed satisfaction for the developments on the issue. Education Ministry general secretary Yiannis Konidaris, responsible for religion issues, visited the Holy Synod today and briefed it on the st ance adopted by the ministry.

    Meanwhile, the issue also reached parliament where six governing Socialist Party of PASOK deputies have tabled a question directed to Minister of Education Petros Efthimiou. The six maintained that the sensitivity of the Greeks is deeply insulted by the personal data protection authority suggestion.

    Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy has also expressed its opposition to the suggestion through its spokesman Thodoris Rousopoulos.

  • [09] LOSSES IN THE ASE Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.84% at 2.086,90 points, while the volume of transactions was at 75.3 million Euro.

    Of the stocks trading today, 102 recorded gains and 202 had losses, while the value of 71 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [10] FARMERS IN GREECE DECIDE ON THEIR MOBILIZATIONS The final form of the protest rally that will be held on Friday, on the occasion of the inauguration of the 67th Thessaloniki International Trade Fair by the Prime Minister, was discussed by representatives of farmers from Macedonia, Thrace and Thessaly in their meeting in Thessaloniki today.

    The farmers have already took their tractors to city squares or lined them up along highways.

    The tractors will remain in Tirnavos, central Greece, until September 6, while similar mobilizations will be launched today by the farmers in the prefecture of Magnisia.

    Meanwhile, the minimum price for the new cotton crop is being decided in Brussels today.

  • [11] FRANCE IS THE OFFICIAL GUEST COUNTRY IN THE 67TH ITF France is the official guest country in the 67th Thessaloniki International Trade Fair, ITF, and the French delegation in Greece has prepared a number of events within this framework. The most impressive will be the air show by the Patrouille de France s quadron.

    A joint press conference was given in Thessaloniki today by Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Giorgos Paschalidis and French ambassador to Athens Jean-Maurice Ripert.

    Mr. Paschalidis referred to the good bilateral relations and pointed out that France has shown in action that it wants the improvement of economic relations with northern Greece.

    The French ambassador stressed that Greece and France share a common future and the same views on life, society and the EU decisions. He also expressed the certainty that the Greek EU Presidency in the first half of 2003 will go very well and that France

    has confidence in it.

    France is Greece's third biggest trade partner after Italy and Germany and in 2001 the French subsidiaries in Greece increased by 20% reaching a total of 102. They have an overall turnover of 5 billion Euro and they employ a total of 24.102 permanent per sonnel.

    Based on estimates, 10% of the Greeks speak French and over 80% of the Greek students learn French. Also, France supports the teaching of the ancient Greek language in the secondary education, while a total of 2.500 Greeks leave each year to study in Fra nce.

    A total of 64 companies will exhibit their products and services in the French pavilion within the framework of the 67th Thessaloniki International Trade Fair.

  • [12] SAE DEPUTY PRESIDENT STATEMENTS TO MPA The fall of 2002 has a special importance for the Greeks living abroad. The World Council for Hellenes Abroad, SAE, regional conferences in Australia, South Africa, Germany and the United States will get underway by late September. The goal is to promote

    the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, and issues that have to do with the Greek Diaspora such as, education, communication, information as well as, the issue of the National Fund of the Greeks Living Abroad.

    The above were stressed to MPA by SAE Deputy President Stefanos Tambakis, who pointed out that almost a year after SAE's 4th World Conference in Thessaloniki the Greeks abroad and the Greek state work together to strengthen the sense of cohesion between Greece and Cyprus and the Diaspora. Also, their goal is to promote the issues of Greek national interest in the countries where the Greeks of the Diaspora live.


  • [13] EPP IN FAVOR OF REOPENING THE CHALKI SCHOOL The European People's Party - European Democrats (P.P.E - D. E), with a proposal of their EuroMP, Giannis Marinos, has fully adopted the Greek positions on the reopening of the Chalki Theological School and the protection of Christian churches and cemete ries in Turkey and occupied Cyprus.

    This recommendation was incorporated in the most official way, at the joint communique published in Bucharest, a few days ago, after the end of the works of the "6th Dialogue between Orthodox Churches and the European People's Party".

    In a press release, ND euroMPs in Strasburg, stressed that it was the first time that such a recommendation was included in a joint communique of an Inter-Orthodox Dialogue, a procedure repeated annually for the past few years, and is a sample of the imp ortance the PPE-DE gives the role that Orthodoxy plays in European building.

  • [14] PASSARIS' LAWYER IS SATISFIED WITH THE TESTIMONIES GIVEN BY WITNESSES Greek criminal Kostas Passaris' lawyer expressed satisfaction for the testimonies given by witnesses in the trial of her client that got underway yesterday.

    Defense lawyer Julia Iliescu stated to MPA that the real culprit of the double murder in the currency exchange office in Bucharest on November 24 is Gabriel Melinte, the man identified by Kostas Passaris in his testimony.

    Regarding the incriminating evidence against her client, like the DNA test based on which the blood found on a pair of trousers in Passaris' apartment matches the victims', Ms. Iliescu stressed that the trousers were placed in the apartment by Melinte in

    his effort to incriminate Passaris.

    She also clarified that Melinte had the key to the apartment and added that the specific trousers were beige as opposed to the eye witnesses, who maintained that the man they saw committing the crime was wearing blue jeans.

    Gabriel Melinte has disappeared and according to authorities, he is probably hiding in Holland.

    The trial is expected to resume on September 23.

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