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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2002-09-06

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, September 6, 2002








  • [01] SIMITIS TO COVER ALL ISSUES TONIGHT Prime Minister Kostas Simitis' speech, in view of the opening ceremony of the 67th Thessaloniki International Fair, which will begin at 7pm, will cover all issues. The Ceremony will begin with a speech by the President of the two TIF companies, Vassilis Kourtessis and the Minister of Macedonia-Thrace, Giorgos Paschalidis.

    Mr. Simitis will take the podium at exactly 8pm and is expected to pay special attention to security and stability issues, especially after the success in the terrorism sector, which he will probably combine with holding the Athens 2004 Olympics. The Pri me Minister will make reference to political developments, the battle of the municipal and prefecture elections, the Greek Presidency of the EU, Cyprus' accession and resolving the Cyprus issue, developments in the Balkans, as well as the Greek government 's income and developmental policies.

    Immediately following the opening ceremony, at 9pm, an official reception will be held in the 3rd Army Corps gardens.

    The Prime Minister will leave from the "Eleftherios Venizelos" airport in Athens at 1:30pm today, and will reach Thessaloniki's "Macedonia" airport at 2pm, where he will be officially welcomed by the city's officials, ministers and PASOK officials.

  • [02] KOUFONTINAS TO TESTIFY TODAY Dimitris Koufontinas, Greece's most wanted who turned himself in yesterday, will appear before Special Examiner Leonidas Zervobeakos today.

    "November 17's" "Lucas" has been charged with more than 70 criminal counts, while according to Greek Police officials, the number will probably increase. In any case, in a statement he made, Koufontinas mentioned that he holds the political responsibilit y of the organization's actions, while he denies the charges as they have been described in the indictment.

    The 44-year-old arrived at the Attica General Police Direction with short hair and freshly shaven, wearing dark glasses, looking nothing like the three pictures the police had published two months ago.

    The reasons that led Dimitris Koufontinas to surrendering are still unknown, but there is information that the police had been closing in around him and people close to him lately.

  • [03] PROTOPAPAS: KOUFONTINA'S ARREST ENDS N17 Dimitris Koufontinas' surrender is a major event because it marks the final operational eradication of "November 17", stated Minister of the Press Christos Protopapas, who stressed the need not to monopolize the issue of terrorism.

    Speaking to "Flash" radio, Mr. Protopapas stressed that Koufontinas did well in surrendering, and added: "There was an immense activation of authorities who were working systematically, and the network, or the people, or the person moving him around, fel t enormous pressure. They could not take it. Then Koufontinas obviously appreciated that to guard his own life the best thing he could do was to turn himself in".

    He also noted that terrorism is a major national issue, and added that "we never attempted to exploit this issue for political or Party gains".

    Politicians are not the only ones affected by Koufontinas' surrender. The other N17 suspects already held at the Corydallos Penitentiary were very surprised when they heard that he had turned himself in.

    The information came in over the radios the suspects have in their cells, and, according to information, most of them were discussing it during their time in the courtyard.

    Savvas and Christodoulos Xeros, who were the most surprised of all, contacted their lawyer, Mr. G. Agiostratiti, in order to be further informed on the developments.

    Changing where they stand

    In fact, things are changing concerning Savvas Xeros' testimony, who made a new statement through his lawyer.

    S. Xeros mentioned: "Soon there will be a review of what, how and why things happened from 29/6 to 5/9. Blame will be placed within and outside the organization, beginning with me. As far as the testimonies are concerned, they are the fabrication of a si ngle mind. How they were enforced will soon be proven, so that we may regain some of our wounded dignity". This statement was signed by Savvas, Christodoulos and Vassilis Xeros.

    With this turn in the events, it seems that the Xeros brothers do not accept the testimonies they gave so far. This action took place one day after Dimitris Koufontinas turned himself over to the authorities and stating that the main value of every fight er is his dignity.

  • [04] KARAMANLIS' MESSAGE ON THESSALONIKI'S 67TH ITF Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy President Kostas Karamanlis in his message on the occasion of Thessaloniki's 67th International Trade Fair, characterized it as a well-established institution totally identified with the city of Thessalon iki.

    Mr. Karamanlis referred to the role of the International Trade Fair in the new international environment, characterized by the free movement of people, goods, capital, ideas, and technology, and in the crucial time for Greece after the economic and monet ary unification.

    The New Democracy President also underlined the need for the Greek society to become activated in order to materialize the Greek and the European vision for the future. He stressed that within this framework the ITF can play its own role and make its own


  • [05] THE US INVESTMENTS IN GREECE Athens US embassy adviser Walter Hage predicted a slow but stable increase in the US investments in Greece, while he characterized the Greek market as very receptive to the US products.

    He also said that the US investments in Greece in the past five years were over US$2.5 billion and expressed the belief that in the future they will be even bigger.

    In a press conference he gave on the occasion of the US participation in Thessaloniki's 67th International Trade Fair, Mr. Hage stated that the US companies participating in the exhibition are 30, five more compared to last year.

    On the US economic presence in Greece, he said that the US companies are active in all the phases of the Olympic Games preparations, participating in the renovation of hotels and the upgrading of hotel infrastructure.

    Responding to the question whether the successful efforts against terrorism in Greece will attract more tourists from the United States, Mr. Hage responded that himself sees the developments positively stressing, however, that the US tourists never felt as the targets of terrorists and therefore, tourism will not be affected. He also underlined that tourist facilities should be improved to be more attractive to tourists.

    On the effect of the Euro, Mr. Hage commented that it was positive for the US investors and expressed the belief that it will facilitate the US investments.

  • [06] SIMITIS: THESSALONIKI IS ALWAYS AMONG THE GOVERNMENT'S PRIORITIES Thessaloniki is always among the government's priorities and very soon it will have modern infrastructures allowing it to become the economic center of the Balkans, stated Prime Minister Kostas Simitis upon his arrival at Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport


    Responding to prefect Kostas Papadopoulos' address, the Prime Minister stated that the government has a strategic development plan for Thessaloniki and gave the assurance that the metro and the rest projects are moving forward. He also referred to the tw o very important events for the city, the EU Summit meeting in June 2003 and the 2008 EXPO.

  • [07] PROTEST LETTER TO BUSH BY GREEK-AMERICAN, ARMENIAN AND KURDISH ORGANIZATIONS Six major Greek-American, Armenian and Kurdish organizations addressed a letter to US President George Bush condemning the efforts to distort the historical truth and reality regarding Turkey, while they expressed their opposition to the free aid offered

    to this country by the United States.

    In their letter, dated September 4, the organizations ANCA, AHEPA, HAWC, HANC, AKIN, and AHI, condemn the recent statements made by US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. He had made the statements to CNN Turk and in speeches in Istanbul and Wash ington when he praised Turkey, stating among others that he is impressed by its democratic attitude toward the minorities in its territory.

    In the letter they present strong evidence on the gross violations of minority human rights by Turkey in the 20th century, while they wonder how can a country be democratic when genocide has been committed repeatedly on its territory and its government i s still controlled by the army.

    They referred to the genocide of 1.500.000 Armenians (1915-1923), 550.000 Greeks from Pontos and Asia Minor (1914-1922) and 50.000 Kurds. They also referred to the events in Istanbul in September 1955 and the persecution of 100.000 Greeks from the city. They also raised the issue of the reopening of the Theological School of Chalki, while they pointed out that the Young Turks launched an anti-Christian policy in the country which is being followed until today.

    The human rights violations by Turkey have been recorded in full on the annual reports issued by the US State Department, Amnesty International, Human Watch and other non governmental organizations.

    Responding to the comments by the US official according to which, Turkey is one of the most reliable allies, it is pointed out that Turkey had helped the Russian army during the Cold War. While in response to his comment, that it is one of the most self- sufficient US allies, they stress that in the 90s it received over US$1 billion in aid.

    To the praises concerning Turkey's role in the international war against terrorism, they stress that Turkey is an international terrorist country which, in violation of the NATO principles, invaded Cyprus in 1974 and continues to occupy its northern part . They also reminded that the US had encouraged the coup against Archbishop Makarios on July 15, 1974 and the invasion that followed on July 20, while they added that the criminal acts against the Kurds continue.

  • [08] MARGINAL GAINS IN THE ASE Marginal gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.14% at 2.066,84 points, while the volume of transactions was at 82 million Euro.

    Of the stocks trading today, 114 recorded gains and 179 had losses, while the value of 82 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [09] PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS' SPEECH IN THE INAUGURATION OF THE 67TH ITF Today Democracy strikes down terrorism and consolidates security. Terrorism is neither "resistance" nor "social revolution". It is a form of totalitarianism. It is an attempt to blackmail Democracy and an effort to downrate all those who fought for it wi th a personal cost and risk.

    The above were stressed by Prime Minister Kostas Simitis in his speech in the inauguration of Thessaloniki's 67th International Trade Fair.

    The Prime Minister characterized the terrorists as the "stowaways of the leftist ideology" and made it clear that terrorism will not be allowed to become an alibi for all those who want to stigmatize the Left.

    He also referred to the unfavorable international economic environment, the security issues and the threat of international terrorism. He pointed out that the goal is to consolidate higher levels of security for the citizens, family, society, economy and

    Greece itself.

    Mr. Simitis stated that the farmers are a big concern for the government, while responding to all those who maintain that the convergence with the EU will take place by signing wage increases for the workers, he stated that a political decision equating wages is a subscription for disaster.

    The Prime Minister also referred to the priority of Cyprus' EU accession, the Greek EU Presidency in the first half of 2003 and the Greek-Turkish relations.

  • [10] RODRIGUEZ: GREECE HAS MADE A NOTABLE PROGRESS ON THE REFUGEE ISSUE Greece has made a notable progress on the issue of refugees overcoming all bureaucratic obstacles as almost all applications filed this year have been examined. According to UN figures, 2.810 of the 2.838 applications have been examined and only 2% of th e applicants have received a refugee status.

    UN High Commission for Refugees representative in Greece Florida Rojas Rodriguez stated to MPA that in spite of the steps of progress made the refugee issue needs a bigger effort.

    There are a total of 13.000 refugees in Greece mostly from Africa, Iraq, Iran and Turkey.

    Of the 100.000 applications filed in Western Europe only 751 concerned a request for asylum in Greece, while in other European countries the number is bigger. For example, 25.000 have requested an asylum in Britain, 17.000 in Germany and 12.000 in France .

    In the past year private donations for the refugees in Greece have increased at almost US$200.000, while the state contribution is still at US$300.000 and remains unchanged for the past 12 years. The UN High Commission for Refugees representative in Gree ce stated that the UN's presence in Thessaloniki's International Trade Fair is expected to have a positive contribution to the effort to sensitize the people toward this direction.

    Referring to the likelihood of an attack on Iraq, Ms. Rodriguez expressed the wish that those at the decision-making centers will reach the best decision to secure peace and development, stressing that development is impossible without peace.

  • [11] ACTRESS ILIA LIVIKOU HAS DIED One of the last great ladies of the Greek theater and cinema, Ilia Livikou, died today at the age of 82.

    She was very popular and played next to the unforgettable actor Vasilis Logothetidis, who was also her partner in life. She was born in Iraklion, Crete and her first appearance in theater took place in 1947.


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