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

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, September 9, 2002








  • [01] PRIME MINISTER'S TIF PRESS CONFERENCE The government will clear up the terrorism case completely, it will reveal the whole truth, stated Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, who attacked New Democracy intensely, accusing its leadership of attempting to involving PASOK and its officials with terror ism. He also attacked all those cultivating myths about Greece's secret services, who he characterized as "terrorism merchants", longing for a parastate Greece.

    During his press conference at the "I. Vellidis" TIF conference center, the Prime Minister referred to the terrorism case in detail and characterized terrorists as mafiosos and criminals.

    Concerning the efforts being made by Dimitris Koufontinas and other suspects in the terrorism case to place an ideological or political cloak over N17's murderous activity, he commented: "There is an effort being made these past few days, to present the whole issue as that of avengers versus an unjust society". "They are trying to gain the public's sympathy by using words such as socialism, dignity, and so forth. This entire effort is based on a twisting of the meaning of the words they are using, and th ey are smugglers of Leftist ideology".

    In regards to party structure, Mr. Simitis stated that he is neither considering running for President of the Republic in 2005, nor reshuffling the party. To the question on whether he will remain at or give up the leadership of PASOK, he stressed that h e is tired of answering this particular question every three months (having already said that he will lead PASOK to the next elections).

    On the municipal elections, he pointed out that regardless of the result, the government will persist in its policies and will exhaust its four year term. "PASOK's goal for the October elections is to win in all municipalities and all prefectures, and it s attitude will be the same as if it had achieved this goal regardless of the result", he stated.

    Concerning the polls that place ND ahead of PASOK, he observed that these are a basis on which to judge public opinion, but they are not elections. "Polls will not determine our goals or policies, because that would not be democracy, but a poll based pol itical system".

    As far as the problems with the Kifissos river and the catastrophic floods it caused, the Prime Minister stated that flood control works will be completed by 2004.

    Mr. Simitis referred to Cyprus' accession, and said that there will certainly be those who will create a negative atmosphere concerning its course towards EU accession, but Greece will fight alongside Cyprus and Cyprus will be in the first group of new m embers.

    On Turkey he noted that it is not capable to make decisions at this time, because it is in the midst of elections, and he characterized the threats expressed by the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side as "negotiations".

    On international affairs, Mr. Simitis stressed that for an attack on Iraq to take place, there must be a UN decision, and if that occurs, then Greece will side with that decision, while the issue will be discussed within the EU based on foreseen procedur es.

    He observed, however, that an attack on Iraq, would have negative consequences on the region, it would hinder the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue, and would create new friction and tension on the terrorism issue.

    Finally, on the issue of the economy, Mr. Simitis stated that the government has achievements and that our country has ten times the growth rate (4%) the European Union has (0.4%).

    Greece is changing, it is in a great procedure of change, he said, and expressed with certainty that PASOK will win the next parliamentary elections.

  • [02] CHRISTODOULAKIS IN FAVOR OF STANDING BY THE STABILITY PACT Minister of the Economy and Finance, Nikos Christodoulakis, was in favor of standing by the Stability and Growth Pact, while presiding over Eurogroup, on the same lines as Prime Minister Kostas Simitis was during his press conference at the 67th TIF.

    Meanwhile, Ecofin (EU Financial Ministers' Council), rejected Italy's proposal for greater flexibility in the Stability Pact, although it accepted Germany's proposal not to include the cost the recent flood damages in the expensed deficit.

  • [03] SAE KIOSK OPENING AT THE 67TH TIF The innovations of the Council for Greeks Living Abroad (SAE), the presence of Greek American fireman from New York, Peter Cristimilios, who participated in the rescue efforts on 9/11, as well as the participation of Olympic Champion Dimosthenis Tambakis in the Helleniad Council, were pointed out by deputy Minister Giannis Magriotis, during his speech at the opening ceremony of the SAE kiosk at the 67th TIF. Mr. Magriotis pointed out that the innovations of SAE include: organizing and developing regional SAE councils and strengthening networks, materializing the Helleniad (Greek Abroad Olympics), support programs for Greeks of the Black Sea and the promotion of Cypriot culture in view of the EU enlargement in European capitals (Copenhagen, Brussels, Londo n) The SAE kiosk opening was greeted by SAE President Andrew Athens, Secretary General of Greeks Abroad D. Dollis, as well as MPs on the relevant parliamentary committee, Grigoris Niotis and Vassilis Pappas, who stressed that Mr. Critsimilios' presence is a symbol of Greece's mourning for the victims of the September 11 terrorist attack and reminds us of the importance of self sacrifice. US Consul General in Thessaloniki John Coenig, stressed that Mr. Critsimilios' presence is a great honor for Thessaloniki,

    and thanked SAE for its cooperation and for connecting Greeks living in the US with Greece. Mr. Coenig characterized Peter Critsimilios as a hero for his participation in the rescue operations.

    On his side, the New York City Fireman said: "I am just a simple fireman and it is a great honor for me to be welcomed here. Wherever I go in Athens and Thessaloniki I receive warm welcomes. People ask me, "how is New York? What is happening to the Fire Department?" I answer that it has been a tough year, but that we're fighting it. God bless America and Greece".

    Finally, Olympic Champion Dimosthenis Tambakos stressed the great honor in participating in the Helleniad Council, and underlined the importance of everyone contributing to Hellenism abroad.

  • [04] INCREASED NUMBER OF VISITORS IN THESSALONIKI'S 67TH ITF The number of visitors in Thessaloniki's 67th International Trade Fair on the first day after its formal opening recorded an increase of 50% compared to last year.

    The visitors come from all over Greece and a number of foreign countries like, Bulgaria, Romania, China, Turkey, the Czech Republic and FYROM.

  • [05] KARAMANLIS: THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD DISPLAY MORE SENSITIVITY ON ISSUES OF MAJOR IMPORTANCE Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis made a surprise visit to Schinias, in Marathonas near Athens where the construction of the Olympic rowing facilities are underway and asked to be briefed on the archaeological fin dings that were unearthed during the construction works.

    Mr. Karamanlis stated that the archaeological findings were unearthed in Marathonas not as a result of a systematic excavation but as a result of the construction works. He said that the government went on with the construction of the project in spite of

    the objections raised by archaeologists, historians and others and added that the archaeological agency must protect and evaluate the findings. Mr. Karamanlis stated that Marathonas is a world culture heritage monument that has to be protected, adding th at civilization and history are for the Greeks their identity and soul.

    Mr. Karamanlis stated that everybody wants the best Olympic Games in Athens in 2004 but it would not hurt if the government displayed a greater seriousness on issues of major importance and sensitivity.

  • [06] INFLATION AT 3.5% IN AUGUST A slight increase was recorded in inflation in the month of August compared to July, as it reached 3.5% compared to 3.3% in the previous month, according to the Greek National Statistics Agency. The harmonized inflation closed at 3.8% in August compared to 3.6% in July.

    The greatest price increases were recorded in fresh vegetables (17.2%), ship fares (12.1%), hotels (9%), car insurance (8.3%) and fresh fruits (9.4%). The greater price drop was recorded in potatoes (31.3%) and telephone services (4.5%).

  • [07] TRADE TRANSACTIONS INCREASE BETWEEN GREECE AND CYPRUS The overall trade transactions between Cyprus and Greece showed an upward tendency in the past 6 years with an average annual increase of about 10.5%. Greece holds the second place in the list of countries receiving most Cypriot exports. The above were p resented by Andreas Savvidis, in charge of the Cypriot pavilion in Thessaloniki's 67th International Trade Fair. Cyprus has a presence of a total of 42 years in the exhibition.

    Specifically, the overall trade between the two countries reached 277.8 million Cyprus pounds in 2001 compared to 171.6 million in 1996, which is an increase of 61.9%.

    The main Cypriot products exported to Greece are copper, plastics, furniture, equipment, car batteries, paints, food and beverages, dairy products, cosmetics, clothing items, footwear etc. The Greek exports to Cyprus are electric equipment and devices, s pare parts, metals, paper, fertilizers, cosmetics, tobacco and cigarettes, clothing items, footwear, etc.

    Regarding tourism, 2001 was a year of record arrivals and inflow of foreign currency, as Cyprus was visited by a total of 2.7 million tourists and the revenue reached 1.3 billion Cyprus pounds.

  • [08] BEGLITIS' STATEMENT ON FYROM Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis denied information according to which, there are developments on the issue of the FYROM name.

    Mr. Beglitis expressed the hope that the new government that will be the result of the imminent elections in the neighboring country will deal with the issue with the necessary realism.

  • [09] LOSSES IN THE ASE Big losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -1.45% at 2.036,89 points, while the volume of transactions was at 93.3 million Euro.

    Of the stocks trading today, the overwhelming majority of 284 recorded losses and 36 had gains, while the value of 55 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [10] THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER WILL VISIT THE UNITED STATES Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou departs tomorrow for the United States, where he will have important contacts, accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Tasos Yiannitsis.

    The agenda with the consultations of the Greek Foreign Minister includes the Cyprus problem, the Euro-Turkish issues, terrorism, Iraq, the Middle East and the issue of the International Penal Court.

    The first meeting Mr. Papandreou will have with his new Turkish counterpart Mr. Gurel, scheduled to take place on September 12 within the framework of the UN General Assembly, is expected with great interest.

    On September 16, Mr. Papandreou will have consultations with US Secretary of State Colin Powel, while he will also meet with representatives of the US Congress.

    Mr. Papandreou will give a special emphasis to the Cyprus problem and Cyprus' EU accession course, while he will also promote the recent success of the Greek authorities in the efforts against terrorism.

    On the issue of the Euro-army, Mr. Papandreou is in contact both with Mr. Solana and his European counterparts. However, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Mr. Panos Beglitis there is no development on the issue that is worth announcing. He added th at today's political situation in Turkey is not helpful not only in the case of the Euro-army but in the Cyprus issue as well.

    On the Cyprus issue, he said that the political conjuncture of events in Ankara does not avert the international community efforts to exert pressures on the Turkish Cypriot side aimed at breaking its intransigence. Mr. Beglitis denied, however, that the US and the UN have raised an issue regarding an interim accord on Cyprus.

  • [11] THE GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN ON KARAMANLIS' VISIT TO MARATHONAS Government spokesman Christos Protopapas referred today to the visit of right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis to Schinias, in Marathonas near Athens where the Olympic rowing facilities are under construction.

    He said that Mr. Karamanlis tried once again to create problems to Greece's international picture by presenting everything in dark colors. Mr. Protopapas said that the problem lays not with the criticism Mr. Karamanlis exercised regarding the archaeologi cal findings but with his attempt to say that there is no progress in the Olympic projects in Greece and that archaeological findings are being destroyed.

  • [12] THE GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN ON TERRORISM The investigation on terrorism will continue in depth, stressed government spokesman Christos Protopapas, pointing out that the terrorist group "17 November" has been dismantled.

    He referred to the efforts made to link directly or indirectly the Left or the governing Socialist Party of PASOK with terrorism, pointing out that there is expediency hidden behind this effort.


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