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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2002-11-20

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 Thessaloniki, November 20, 2002

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] SIMITIS: GREECE WILL RISE TO THE OCCASION
  • [02] HOLY SYNOD TO DISCUSS CYPRUS ISSUE
  • [03] PAPANDREOU: WE ALL WISH TO RESOLVE THE CYPRUS ISSUE BY COPENHAGEN
  • [04] PAPANTONIOU: EUROARMY OPERATIONAL BY THE END OF THE GREEK PRESIDENCY
  • [05] NEW BUDGET APPROVED
  • [06] PAPANTONIOU: MINIMUM DEFENSE SPENDING CUTS
  • [07] PROTOPAPAS: THERE IS NO NON PAPER
  • [08] WARNINGS BY PAPANDREOU ON THE ISSUE OF CYPRUS' EU ACCESSION
  • [09] THE CHURCH OF GREECE ON THE CYPRUS ISSUE
  • [10] CYPRIOT UN AMBASSADOR TO MPA ON IRAQ
  • [11] SMALL GAINS IN THE ASE
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [12] PROVOCATION TARGETING GREEK EURO-DEPUTIES NEWS IN DETAILS

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] SIMITIS: GREECE WILL RISE TO THE OCCASION Prime Minister Kostas Simitis characterized the position of the political parties on the resolving of the Cyprus issue "valuable capital" for Greece.

    "Despite individual reservations of political leaders, there is a strong will to resolve the Cyprus issue, which cannot be affected by party interests. Greece can and will rise to the occasion", underlined Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, in statements he made concerning his impressions from discussions he had with political leaders on the Annan proposal for Cyprus.

    "Nobody is forcing us to do anything", stressed the Prime Minister, and repeated that we will not settle for just any solution, but the fair, viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem, in the framework of the EU. He pointed out that despite re servations on the negative aspects of the Annan proposal, refusing a dialogue would be at the expense of Cyprus and Greece, and he underlined that even if the solution does not come before Copenhagen, Cyprus will be incorporated.

    Prime Minister Kostas Simitis had meetings yesterday with the Secretary General of the Greek Communist Party, Aleka Papariga, and the President of the Coalition of the Left, Nikos Konstantopoulos.

    Mr. Simitis met with Mrs. Papariga yesterday afternoon, while after their meeting, the Secretary General of the Greek Communist Party appeared pessimistic on the resolving of the Cyprus issue. She said that all discussions are taking place with a gun to the head of the participants, to the head of Cyprus. "It is essentially an American-British plan, which displays the obsession of the US to pass it as is, and the obsession of the British to act as "overlords" in Cyprus", she stressed.

    Later in the afternoon, Mr. Simitis met with Mr. Konstantopoulos, who, following the meeting, stressed that "all political powers must support the negotiation position of the National Council of Cyprus.

    "Any delays carried out by Ankara and Denktash must not affect or hinder the unimpeded accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU", he said.

    "It is obvious that in view of the Copenhagen Summit, the torch has been past into the hands of the Greek government. The Greek government must support the accession procedures of the Cypriot Republic to the EU", he said.

    "We, on the side of the Coalition, point out that no enlargement can take place, if it does not include Cyprus. The negotiations the National Council of Cyprus and the Cypriot government must carry out are harsh", he stressed.

  • [02] HOLY SYNOD TO DISCUSS CYPRUS ISSUE The Standing Holy Synod of the Church, which Archbishop Christodoulos called to an emergency meeting today, will explore the rapid developments following the submission of the Annan proposal, today.

    Two days ago, Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou informed the Archbishop of the Annan proposal, the Metropolites of Nafpaktos, Ierotheos, and Kalavryta, Amvrosios, traveled to Cyprus where they had discussions with representatives of the Holy Synod of t he Church of Cyprus, while yesterday, Mr. Christodoulos had a telephone communication with Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kassoulidis.

  • [03] PAPANDREOU: WE ALL WISH TO RESOLVE THE CYPRUS ISSUE BY COPENHAGEN An appeal to find a solution for the Cyprus issue based on the Annan plan by the Copenhagen Summit, was made by the Council of Foreign Ministers of the European Union, which convened yesterday.

    The council affirmed the EU's wish for Cyprus to become a part of it, even if there is no solution agreement of the political problem by the Copenhagen Summit.

    Commenting on the relevant statement of the Danish Presidency, Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou stressed that "it echoes the wish we all share for a solution to be found by Copenhagen".

    But everybody knows, added Mr. Papandreou, that the time limits are stifling and that Turkey has also asked for an extension.

    In the margin of the Council meeting, Mr. Papandreou noted that if no agreement can be reached by December, the Helsinki provision will come into effect - on the accession of the Cypriot Republic regardless of the resolving of the political problem - and

    may be combined with a Protocol of "automatic" accession of the island's northern portion when the Cyprus issue is resolved, as Commissioner Ferheugen proposed.

    Mr. Papandreou also stated that the Council informed Ankara that certain good will movements in the sector of human rights, the Euroarmy, and the resolving of the Cyprus issue, could elicit a positive reform regarding its request for a date to start acce ssion negotiations.

    As far as the Euroarmy is concerned, Mr. Papandreou mentioned that the EU "hopes to have the first positive sign from Turkey in the upcoming NATO Summit Meeting in Prague".

  • [04] PAPANTONIOU: EUROARMY OPERATIONAL BY THE END OF THE GREEK PRESIDENCY The time schedules for the formation of a European Rapid Response Force were made definite in today's Council of EU Defense Ministers meeting in Brussels.

    Following his meeting with High Representative for Joint Foreign and Security Policy of the EU Xavier Solana, Mr. Papantoniou stated that the proposals of the work groups will be completed by March 1, 2003, and by the end of the Greek Presidency, the Eur oarmy will be operational and functional.

    Mr. Solana expressed his optimism on finding a way out of the dead end the Euroarmy issue is in, in the immediate future. At the same time, Mr. Solana did not rule out the possibility of Turkey accepting the agreement of the "15" and the pending matter b eing solved once and for all at the NATO Summit Meeting in Prague.

    On his side, Mr. Papantoniou stressed that the Defense Ministers finalized the full operational potential of European Defense. "The main result of the discussion is the reassurance of our willingness to materialize the goal of operational readiness of th e Euroarmy by 2003", he noted.

  • [05] NEW BUDGET APPROVED The 2003 budget was approved by the Cabinet and submitted to Parliament yesterday, by Minister of Economy and Finance Nikos Christodoulakis. Mr. Christodoulakis pointed out that the new budgets' goals are the retaining of stable conditions, the continuat ion of fiscal reform, and the funding of the insurance and tax reform.

    The Minister characterized the budget as "another step in the course towards real convergence of the Greek economy with other economies of the EU". He mentioned that in 2003, the average per capita income will rise to 71% of the EU average.

    Specifically, the budget foresees the Greek growth rate at 3.8% in contrast to the original 4.1%, and the deficit will be at 0.9% of the GDP, instead of the 0.5% surplus that had been foreseen in the plan.

    The public debt is expected to drop to 100.2% of the GDP (instead of 95.1%) and the increase rate of net income was readjusted to 5.1% from the original 5.6% of the plan.

    Net income is expected at 38.9 billion euro, instead of this year's 37 billion euro or the expected 39.2 billion foreseen in the plan and the income of the regular budget is expected to increase by 5.3% running into 40.9 billion euro, instead of this yea r's 38.9 billion.

    The increase rate of primary expenses is limited to 6% instead of 6.3% foreseen by the plan and is expected to rise to 29.972 billion euro instead of 28.276 of 2002 and the 30.06 foreseen by the plan.

    Regarding wages, they are expected to increase by 5.6%, to 15.1 billion euro. Specifically, the sums allocated for wages are increased by 5.9% (12.65 billion) euro and pensions by 4.5% (to 9.01 billion). However, the increases will be in the neighborhood

    of 2.5% for salaries and 4% for pensions, maturing to 3.5% and 6% respectively.

    Expenses for interest rates are foreseen to increase by 2.2% and run into 9.4 billion euro, and those concerning insurance and health care will be reinforced by 19.1% (at 5.55 billion), in order to fund the securities reform.

    It should be noted that grants to IKA are expected to increase by 82.3% in relation to this year, and reach 1.373 billion euro, while there will be a 17.5% increase of 448 million euro, for people with small pensions.

    The Public Investment Programme expenses will increase by 13% at 8.9 billion euro, in relation to 2002.

    Party reactions The coordinator of ND's Economic Affairs Committee, Mr. Alogoskoufis, pointed out that "the budget submitted by the government today reflects its dead end policies. Policies that do not offer the country developmental prospects. Policies that cannot solve

    social problems. Policies that accumulate even greater problems for the future".

    The Greek Communist Party supported that the 2003 budget is promoting an unpopular economic policy. Its direction remains redistributive in favor of monopolistic capital and tax collection from the workingman. It is a tool for the acceleration of privati zations, the restructuring of strategic sectors of the economy and the leveling of workers' triumphs.

    After the "landing" of its original expectations and the damper of Eurostat, the government has submitted yet another budget with lowered expectations and an insistence on Right wing oriented policies, stated Mr. Papadimoulis, responsible of Financial an d Social Policies in the Coalition of the Left. "The income policy of 2.5% with an inflation near 4%, marks the continuation of the same one sided policy at the expense of the weak".

    President of DIKKI Dimitris Tsovolas pointed out that "after the government's alchemies concerning the Public Debt and the Public Deficit were revealed, the new budget is one of frugality for the many, something that will lead to the rise of unemployment

    and the further disorganization of productive economy".

  • [06] PAPANTONIOU: MINIMUM DEFENSE SPENDING CUTS Minimum defense spending cuts is the government's goal and this turn toward defense policy will be signaled in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Government Council meeting on Monday, November 25, stated Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou after the meetin g he had with Prime Minister Kostas Simitis.

    The need for modern weapons must be met while, at the same time, resources should increase for the government to exercise its policy, said the Defense Minister. He also said that the armaments program, as it was formed after the 2001 spending cuts, will materialize as planned.

    Mr. Papantoniou raised the issue of the increased contributions requested by NATO from Greece and the other member-states within the framework of the alliance's adjustment in order to be able to protect Europe from international terrorism. Greece, said t he Defense Minister, has exhausted its defense spending limits as a result of the danger coming from its eastern borders, adding that the rest European countries are able to contribute more as they spend less for their defense.

    Also, the Defense Minister discussed with Mr. Simitis the issues that will be raised in the NATO Summit meeting in Prague such as, the Euro-army and NATO enlargement.

  • [07] PROTOPAPAS: THERE IS NO NON PAPER Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas reiterated the statement made by Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou when journalists asked him if there is a US non paper addressed to the EU states calling them to deal positively with Turkey's demand to s et a date for the opening of its EU accession negotiations.

    Mr. Papandreou had responded that he is not aware of the existence of such a document and that he has not seen it himself.

  • [08] WARNINGS BY PAPANDREOU ON THE ISSUE OF CYPRUS' EU ACCESSION A message toward every direction that Greece will react strongly to likely objections to Cyprus' EU accession during the Copenhagen Summit meeting, was sent by Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou. The statements were made after the meeting held under the

    presidency of Prime Minister Kostas Simitis with the participation of Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Minister of Press Christos Protopapas.

    The meeting was held for the preparation of the Greek delegation in view of the NATO Summit meeting.

    "It has been stressed that Cyprus will become an EU member on December 12 and we hope that no one will block a course that was absolutely positive until now. In a different case they will have to deal with us", stated characteristically Mr. Papandreou.

  • [09] THE CHURCH OF GREECE ON THE CYPRUS ISSUE The Church of Greece cannot congratulate UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for the plan for the solution of the Cyprus problem and does not believe that this is a plan for a real solution to the problem. The above were stressed by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece after the Church of Greece Holy Synod meeting on the developments in the Cyprus issue.

    The Archbishop pointed out that the Greek Church welcomes the Annan initiative for the solution of the Cyprus problem stressing, however, that the plan does not adhere, to the decisions of the UN which he represents.

    The Holy Synod came to the conclusion that the Annan Plan does not have as a guideline the law of the EU and that it includes the likelihood of a long suffering with victims the members of the two communities in Cyprus.

    The Archbishop underlined that the Church of Greece expresses satisfaction for Cyprus' EU accession course and expects that the EU leadership will confirm its decision for Cyprus' accession during the Copenhagen Summit meeting.

    Archbishop Christodoulos recognized that the current situation makes the solution of the problem compelling and issued an appeal to the political leadership of Hellenism to remain firm to the values and principles respected by the Greek nation and mainly , the principle of freedom. He also clarified that the Church does not give directions to the political leadership and supports the Greek nation, not in a political sense, stressing that the Cyprus issue is a national issue.

    Earlier, the Archbishop held meetings with Cypriot hierarchs. Metropolite Chrisostomos of Paphos underlined that there is a need to exert real pressure on the Greek and Cypriot leadership to hold tough negotiations because the Annan Plan cannot be operat ional. Also, Metropolite Pavlos of Kerinia pointed out that the Annan Plan aims at the self-abolition of the Cypriot Republic.

  • [10] CYPRIOT UN AMBASSADOR TO MPA ON IRAQ The view that a new war in Iraq can be averted, was expressed by Cypriot ambassador and UN Human Rights Committee special sponsor Mr. Andreas Mavromatis attributing the favorable climate created to the change in the stance of the Iraqi government.

    Speaking to MPA, he referred to the informal meeting he had in New York with head of the international inspectors in Iraq Mr. Hans Blix, before his departure for Baghdad, during which it was established that the climate in the country has improved. He ch aracterized the head of the inspectors as an incorruptible, experienced and able diplomat, who can deal with all likely difficulties during the mission for the inspection of the mass destruction weapons' sites.

    The Cypriot ambassador expressed the view that the Iraqi government is willing to cooperate more than any other time, mainly due to the pressure and fear of the likelihood of new attacks.

    He also stated that the settlement of the arsenal problem in Iraq creates favorable conditions for the improvement of the human rights situation in the country.

    Mr. Mavromatis added that if the conditions allow for it he will be in Iraq himself by January and will be able to visit different regions, among them the northern Kurdish part of the country, to assess the situation. He said that he will deal mainly wit h the issue of the election rights of the people, and the death penalty, while he will sponsor the release of inmates from the country's glutted prisons.

  • [11] SMALL GAINS IN THE ASE Small gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.27% at 1.821,16 points, while the volume of transactions was 72.1 million Euro.

    The main index in the ASE managed to recover by mid session in spite of the fact that the major European markets followed a downward course since the beginning of trading this morning.

    Of the stocks trading today, 199 recorded gains and 91 had losses, while the value of 84 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [12] PROVOCATION TARGETING GREEK EURO-DEPUTIES Photographic material and photocopies of international press reports referring to the tragedy in Cyprus posted outside the office of Greek Euro-deputy Stavros Xarhakos, elected with the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy, were removed by u nidentified individuals.

    According to the press release of the ND Euro-deputies in Strasbourg, Mr. Xarhakos became aware of the incident on Monday, November 18. The unidentified individuals removed photographic material and photocopies of press reports referring to Cyprus which had been published by the newspapers "The Sun", "The Guardian", "The European Voice" and others. Obviously, the culprits were annoyed by the reminder of the atrocities committed by the Turkish occupation army, like the killing of Tasos Isaak and Solomos S olomou, the destruction of ancient monuments and churches in the occupied territories, etc.

    This is not the only provocation targeting a Greek Euro-deputy inside the European Parliament building in Strasbourg in the last five months. It is reminded that last September slogans like "Cyprus belongs to the Turks" were written outside the office of

    ND Euro-deputy Yiannis Marinos.


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