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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2002-09-17

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, September 17, 2002








  • [01] "RED LINE" FOR GREEK & TURKISH DEFENSE MINISTRIES The installation of a direct telephone line connecting the Greek and Turkish Ministries of Defense was announced by relevant ministers Giannis Papantoniou and Sabahattin Cakmakoglu.

    "It is important to avoid tensions between two friendly countries such as Greece and Turkey, which are allies in NATO and who have partners in the European Union. Thus, it is important to be able to communicate directly whenever there is a problem. It is

    the first time such a decision has been made and applied in Greek-Turkish relations", stated Mr. Papantoniou after meeting with his Turkish counterpart, in the framework of the quadrilateral of the Defense Ministers of Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Turke y in Istanbul.

    "We are all aware that Turkey is going through a sensitive pre-election period. We also know that it is approaching the Cyprus issue at a crucial decision for Cyprus' accession in Copehagen, and consequently, it is very important that both our countries stay far away from tensions and make efforts to avoid them. And of course we all know that this is connected to the systematic violations of our national air space being carried out by the Turkish Air Force during the past 18 months. Such tensions or othe r forms of tension must be avoided. I stressed this point to Mr. Cakmakoglu for the good of peace and stability in the region", he underlined.

    During their meeting, the two Defense Ministers discussed developments on the Cyprus issue. Mr. Papantoniou pointed out that, "we must not lose the opportunity for the efforts being made by President Cleridis and Mr. Denktash to justly resolve the Cyprus

    issue to have a positive outcome".

    Cyprus' certain accession to the EU at the end of the year, is an "especially attractive" prospect for the Turkish Cypriots, for the accession of Turkey itself to the EU, as well as for Greek-Turkish relations", said Mr. Papantoniou.

    "Greece supports the candidacy more, and more sincerely, than any other member-state of the EU. If Greece's support is lost, then Turkey's accession prospects may be lost. But for Greece to support Turkey, the Cyprus issue must be resolved justly, just l ike Turkey's claims on our sovereign rights, especially in the Aegean, through the procedures foreseen by Helsinki", stated the Minister of Defense.

  • [02] HIDEOUT FINDINGS ANALYSIS IMMINENT The analysis of the findings from the "November 17" hideout on Patmos st. will be completed within the next few days. According to information, the analysis of findings at the Damareos st. hideout has already finished.

    Also, the Appeals Board may meet tomorrow, in order to decide whether Aggeliki Sotiropoulou will be taken to the Corydallos Penitentiary or released. Aggeliki Sotiropoulou is Savvas Xeros' ex-wife and, at present, the companion of Dimitris Koufontinas.

    Meanwhile, after a meeting, the Corydallos board decided that communications of the N17 suspects via cardphone will be limited to only relatives, those with visiting rights and to the suspects' lawyers.

    If the above condition is not observed, the line will automatically be disconnected. This decision was made after an interview given by Savvas Xeros to a private television station, through which he tried to provide the organization's actions with an ide ological alibi.

    Meanwhile, after a decision the Journalists' Union of Athens Daily Newspapers (ESIEA) board, an appeal was made to the media, to stop dragging people through the mud, by implicating them in N17.

    In an ESIEA announcement it is stressed that it had pointed out "the dangerous pitfall which scenarios and tossing names around in the terrorism case could lead to" in time.

    "These phenomena are multiplying, and in the name of exclusive information, an increasing number of people is being labeled as "implicated" in the N17 case. Since these rumors are not corroborated, anyone labeled is rendered defenseless and obliged to pr ove that they are not connected to what they are being accused of".

  • [03] THREE US WARSHIPS IN THESSALONIKI PORT The transportation of US and other NATO member-states' troops to FYROM and Bosnia, began today, in the early morning hours, with the arrival of three US military transports in the Thessaloniki port.

    The military forces - more than 1500 men - disembarked in the Thessaloniki harbor in complete secrecy and began their transportation on 30 Thessaloniki tourist buses.

    The three US ships - the "Austin" and "Tortuga" transports and the "Nassau" helicopter carrier - docked in Thessaloniki yesterday, while according to information, a week ago, NATO had asked for permission to dock three ships in the port in the framework of a programmed visit to Thessaloniki.

    Local port and police authorities have issued no official announcement - thus far - on the arrival of a NATO force, or on the reasons for transportation to FYROM and Bosnia.

    Unofficially, however, it is related to the imminent military intervention in Iraq, while other information mentioned that approximately 1500 troops will participate in military exercises.

  • [04] THE JUDICIAL COUNCIL RULED FOR THE IMPRISONMENT OF SOTIROPOULOU The Judicial Council decided the imprisonment of Angeliki Sotiropoulou, partner in life of terrorist Dimitris Koufodinas, adopting the position of prosecutor Kiriakos Karoutsos.

    For the record, after the testimony of Sotiropoulou late last Saturday, Mr. Karoutsos had proposed that she remained in custody but the magistrate had disagreed. The prosecutor had pointed out that the presence of Sotiropoulou's fingerprint in the terror ist group "17 November" hideout in Damareos Street in Athens is indicative of the fact that she knew what was hidden in there.

    The Judicial Council ruling will be forwarded to the prosecutor to reactivate the warrant for her arrest. Therefore, the arrest of Sotiropoulou and her imprisonment in Koridallos Prison is only a matter of time.

  • [05] THE NUMBER OF GREEK STUDENTS IS ON THE DECLINE IN THE GREEK PUBLIC SCHOOLS A dramatic drop in the number of Greek students is recorded in the Greek elementary and secondary education public schools due to the increasingly low birth rate recorded in the Greek population and the large number of economic immigrants in Greece. The information was based on figures provided in a one-day conference on "Foreign Students in Public Education".

    According to a press report on the Athens newspaper "Adesmeftos Tipos", indicative of the situation are the figures on the municipality of Athens based on which, one in four students (22%) comes from a family of economic immigrants. In many Athens school s the number of economic refugees' children reaches 76.19% like in the 53rd Nursery School, in the 22nd Elementary School is at 75.93%, while in the 2nd High School they are 74.43%.

    It was also pointed out that in 2025, if today's demographic rates for the refugees continue, one in three residents of Greece will come from a neighboring Balkan country and Africa. According to OECD predictions, in 2025 Greece's population will be 14.5

    million among them, 3.5 million economic immigrants.

  • [06] 283.000 VISITORS IN THESSALONIKI'S 67TH INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR The number of visitors in Thessaloniki's 67th International Trade Fair is slightly smaller at 283.000 compared to 295.950 last year.

    The ITF's commercial visitors came from Albania, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Yugoslavia, Denmark, Switzerland, United States, India, Iran, Spain, Italy, China, Cyprus, Belarus, Palestine, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Syria, Thailand, T urkey, the Czech Republic, Tunisia, FYROM and Hong Kong.

    The 67th ITF was held on September 7-15 covering a space of 44.500 square meters. According to the available figures, in this year's ITF participated a total of 1.234 exhibitors. Also, 17 states participated formally in the event. Those countries were: E gypt, Bulgaria, Brazil, France, United States, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Cyprus, South Africa, Ukraine, Palestine, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Philippines.

  • [07] THE LOSSES CONTINUE IN THE ASE The Athens Stock Exchange did not follow the European markets in their upward "explosion" and the general index was unable to remain on the positive side due to the intense liquidation in the telecommunications sector.

    The general index recorded losses again today and dropped to -0.39% at 1.933,18 points, while the volume of transactions was at 70 million Euro.

    Of the stocks trading today, 122 recorded gains and 196 had losses, while the value of 57 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [08] THE GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN ON TERRORISM Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas stated that everybody has to react to the picture of an inmate who has admitted terrorist actions, killings and robberies, and threatens senior officials of the judiciary.

    Mr. Protopapas issued a strong response to all those who attempt to politicize the "17 November" terrorist group case by presenting the terrorists as alleged revolutionaries or fighters by saying that they are neither revolutionaries nor social fighters,

    but simply a bunch of killers and robbers.

    He also added that the goal is not just to dismantle the terrorist groups but to demystify terrorism, which is a threat to Democracy.

  • [09] SOTIROPOULOU WAS ARRESTED Angeliki Sotiropoulou is expected to be led to the Koridallos Prison tomorrow. Sotiropoulou, partner in life of Dimitris Koufodinas, a "17 November" terrorist group member who is in prison, was arrested in the area of Patisia in Athens today. With her we re her son and Alicia Romero Cortez, partner in life of Savvas Xiros, another 17N member who is also in prison.

    Earlier, the Judicial Council had ruled in favor of the prosecutor's proposal to hold Sotiropoulou in custody and its decision activated the warrant for her arrest.

  • [10] PROTOPAPAS ON CYPRUS' EU ACCESSION The Greek government believes that Cyprus deserves to become an EU member based on the EU criteria and the Helsinki decisions. The EU enlargement has to start with Cyprus. Greece will remain firm in this position and will undertake all international init iatives toward this direction, stated Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas commenting on Cyprus' EU accession course press reports.

    Responding to press reports according to which, certain EU partners will express reservations on Cyprus' EU accession, Mr. Protopapas reiterated that based on the criteria set the EU enlargement will start with Cyprus. However, he refused to comment on w hether Greece will exercise its veto power, stressing that Greece will be firm in this position.

    When asked to comment on the Denktash plan, the Greek government spokesman observed that this plan is unacceptable both by the Greek and the Cypriot governments and this position was conveyed to US Secretary of State Colin Powel by Greek Foreign Minister

    Giorgos Papandreou.

  • [11] PROTOPAPAS: POSITIVE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE ISSUE OF IRAQ The fact that the UN has taken over responsibility and Iraq has allowed inspections by the international organization is a positive development, stated Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas but he pointed out that there can be no prediction on t he overall developments.

    He added that the whole world watches this case closely and stressed the need for a solution to be found within the framework of the international community and the United Nations.

    Mr. Protopapas also referred to the objections and reservations expressed by the Greek government on the likelihood of a war and stressed that for this reason the issue should be handled by the UN and within this framework a mutually acceptable solution should be found.


  • [12] POWEL - PAPANDREOU MEETING Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou, and US Secretary of State Collin Powel discussed international developments, in view of the upcoming Greek Presidency of the EU.

    Specifically, the priorities of the Greek Presidency of the EU, developments in Iraq, the Middle Eastern issue, the Cyprus issue, and terrorism were examined.

    Mr. Powel gave his assurance that his country will make every possible effort for peace to reign over Cyprus when Mr. Papandreou notified him that Turkey is stoking tensions, due to Cyprus' accession to the EU.

    The US Secretary of State was in favor of not making statements or increasing tensions, which would create a negative atmosphere for the Cyprus issue and EU enlargement procedures.

    Concerning the Cyprus issue, after the meeting, Mr. Papandreou stated, "Collin Powel wishes to support Kofi Annan in resolving this long-lived problem, that creates friction between Greece and Turkey".

    "We discussed Turkey's progress towards the EU and the Greek position which we have already stressed publicly, which he considers correct and constructive on our side", he noted.

    Mr. Papandreou commented on the proposals Turkish Cypriot Leader Rauf Denktash made recently, saying that they do not include any substantial information to help resolve the Cyprus issue. He mentioned that Greece will cooperate with Kofi Annan in the eff orts he is making especially, after the elections in Turkey.

    The Foreign Minister also mentioned that he received congratulations from Mr. Powel once more, concerning the eradication of "November 17", and he added that during their meeting he pointed out the need for the two countries to further cooperate.

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