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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2002-11-25

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, November 25, 2002








  • [01] GREECE'S DIPLOMATIC MARATHON Prime Minister Kostas Simitis returned from Holland yesterday afternoon, where he had met with the Dutch PM, in the framework of his meetings with European leaders in view of the Copenhagen Summit, where the decision on Cyprus' accession will be made. Ea rlier, Mr. Simitis had participated in the NATO Summit in Prague, where he had important meetings with officials of the North Atlantic Alliance on the developments in Cyprus.

    Mr. Kostas Simitis stated that the Greek government is after a "clear solution", with no asterisks or footnotes, and in order to achieve this goal it will take advantage of everything at its disposal, even vetoing if necessary. At the same time he pointe d out that it is Greece's wish to resolve the Cyprus issue as soon as possible.

    However, the position of Holland to connect Cyprus' accession with resolving the Cyprus issue, and the support the US and the UK are offering Turkey, are worrying the Greek government,

    Greece's diplomatic marathon will continue with telephone communications the Prime Minister will have with his European counterparts, while Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou is in London today and will travel to the US for a two-day visit, on Tuesday a nd Wednesday. Mr. Papandreou will have meetings with Secretary of State Collin Powel and the US President's Security Consultant Contoleezza Rice, with whom he will discuss the crucial developments concerning the Cyprus issue, and the preparations for the

    Greek Presidency of the EU in the first half of 2003.

  • [02] BAKOYANNI: DANGERS IN THE CYPRUS SOLUTION "Our great fear is one: That Cyprus' accession to the EU will take place normally, but with a small phrase, as usually happens in Summit Meetings, which will set a three-month deadline to resolve the Cyprus issue, either as a "wish" or as a term. Both ar e very dangerous, because this last little phrase or footnote could, possibly, hold the entire future of the Cypriot people", stated Mayor of Athens and New Democracy MP Dora Bakoyanni, during the meeting of ND's Central Committee.

    Mrs. Bakoyanni underlined the need for the Greek side to hold very harsh negotiations, and stressed that we are not entering the negotiations with the feeling of being a poor, weak little country.

    In fact, Mrs. Bakoyanni noted that we are at the beginning of an extended election period, which, she foresaw, will be marked by the developments of the Cyprus issue and the Greek Presidency of the EU. She stressed that the government should not give out

    the impression that the Presidency's only concern will be Cyprus accession and that all other issues can be left aside.

  • [03] ACTIVISTS TAKE OVER INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES "Greenpeace" activists took over the facilities of the "Greek Olive Oil Production" industry this morning, demanding the termination of importing genetically mutated products.

    "Greenpeace's" action is taking just place two days before the Meeting of Ministers of Agriculture of the EU, where the legislature on genetically mutated foods will be discussed.

    The operation started early this morning, when "Greenpeace" activists, from Greece and abroad, infiltrated the company facilities and set up a large banner reading "Genetic Danger.

  • [04] OLYMPIC SECURITY TESTED SUCCESSFULLY The drill in case of a terrorist attack during the 2004 Olympics, codename "Ouranio Toxo" (Rainbow) in the framework of the Olympic Games' Security Programme, was completed successfully yesterday. It was a broad exercise, with intersectoral cooperation, under joint command and with the participation of the Tactical, Operational and Strategic Level of Crises Control.

    "Rainbow 2002" concerned possible incidents of major importance, specifically an landed airplane hijacking and a bomb threat to a "floating hotel". The two incidents took place in the Athens International Airport "Eleftherios Venizelos" and the Piraeus H arbor.

    Its aim was to test operational plans and the degree of response and intersectoral cooperation of all involved bodies and services in such eventualities. Over 1800 individuals participated in the 3-day drill.

    In statements, Minister of Public Order Michalis Chrysochoidis pointed out that this drill was the product of at least one year's worth of preparations with British officers of the Scotland Yard, he congratulated all those who participated and pointed ou t that an important step forward was made for an even more professional Greek Police. The success of the Greek Police was also underlined by the Chief of Police, Lieutenant General Fotis Nasiakos.

  • [05] M. KAPETANEA: INTOLERANCE BREEDS EXTREMISM Words cannot convey the horror and what is described by the President of the Greek Women's Association of Palestine, Margarita Kapetanea, regarding the situation in Palestine, would seem distant and incomprehensible, were it not for the short daily scene s in the news to remind us of the continuing carnage.

    Speaking to the Macedonian Press Agency, Mrs. Kapetanea noted that because of what is still happening in region since last Spring, the Palestinian people have been driven into a state of hunger and squalor, and with them, the few Greeks that reside there . While referring tot the Palestinian issue Mrs. Kapetanea stressed how the Israelis themselves have started to see that Sharon's policies are a dead end, and that these criminal policies fuel the Hamas extremists rage.

    Mrs. Kapetanea underlined the important role played by the Greek Solidarity Caravan, which, in cooperation with the 40 members of the Greek Women's Association of Palestine, subsidizes the education of orphans and the children of workers. She also mentio ned that the Palestinian people has placed great hopes in the Greek Presidency of the EU, while she is optimistic about the future, as Israelis and Palestinians are condemned to living together, and that is why, as she says, the voices of reason are growi ng stronger, especially in Palestine.

    Greeks in danger

    On the situation in Palestine today, Mrs. Kapetanea stated that "the horrible events of the past few months have unfortunately put us in the global spotlight, so you are more or less informed of what is going on. All I can add is that what you hear us de scribing at times is only 1/10 of what is really going on. The horror here cannot be expressed in words".

    "We, the Greeks of the occupied territories, have absolutely no medical coverage, because the Israeli authorities do not even recognize that we are Greeks. They treat us clearly as Palestinians, thus when I say "we" from now on, I mean both the Palestini an people and us.

    I must mention that right now, the lives of Greeks and Greek children are in danger. Greek families living in the north are facing nutritional problems, not only due to lack of money, but also because of the food shortage and because it is difficult to a ccess one area of the city from any other, one neighborhood from another." "I came into contact with the Greek Consul General in Ramallah to form a convoy to supply Greek families in Nablus and Jenin with milk and food", she stated.

    Concerning the activities of the Greek Women's Association of Palestine, she said that the necessity of organized action was evident in cases when tanks and armored vehicles showed up in their front yards and schools, and after all journalists had been t hrown out, the Association was the only organized source of information.

    She stated that there had always been close contact among the Greeks of the region, but that it was during those difficult hours that it became daily. "Last Spring there were as many as 5 meetings a day, especially with women far away from Ramallah and B ethlehem, as well as with monasteries and churches that are also far away".

    "We came out of that struggle strong and completely united. At this moment we are truly 40 young women making up a clenched fist. Our efforts continued, even after those difficult hours had passed". Mrs. Kapetanea also expressed her gratitude to SAE and the Foreign Ministry for its help with Greek high school seniors, who are all in Greece with scholarships. "It was perhaps the first time that we felt our homeland by our side".

    We are vigilant

    "We are in a very special situation, since we are expecting a war in Iraq and developments there. We have lists with all Greeks, not just names and numbers, our preparations include city diagrams, the neighborhoods in which each Greek's house is located,

    so that if someone needs us we can reach them immediately". "We have also prepared packages with enough provisions to sustain a family for a 20 day siege", she stressed.

    An immediate problem for the Association is the fact that if the Foreign Ministry orders all Greeks to evacuate Palestine, the women cannot take their husbands with them. "This is an issue we all share, and I hope it does not go on for ever". Unfortunate ly, the Association's initiative to gather money for families with financial problems has not succeeded yet. "We have created a "solidarity caravan", we have drawn up lists with Palestinian orphans adopted by Greek families with 50 euro a month, in order for us to get a chance to support them".

    "We are also working on "adoptions" of bombarded and poor schools, one school in Palestine, one in Cyprus and one in Greece, with the prospect of forming future relations between the schools, not just financial, but cultural ties".

    "Each day five or six or ten Palestinians are killed, mainly students, dozens are rendered homeless with the Israeli practice of demolishing houses, and hunger and this dead end pushes people to actions of violence or suicide.

    On the other side there are the Israelis, who live in the daily torture of terror, because they never know where or when the next attack will come. They cannot stop at traffic lights without being afraid, or use the highways. The fear and the propaganda they see on television does not let them see the violence they are allowing their government to use, which is not and cannot be a solution.

    The Islamists will always find the next martyrs to sacrifice themselves and the extremist Hamas will rise. This is what is happening to us. And all of us who are living there are paying a very heavy price".

  • [06] MURAT BILHAN: GREECE AND TURKEY SHOULD BECOME STRATEGIC PARTNERS The strategic cooperation between Greece and Turkey will make the two countries strategic partners which is a most desired goal, stated to MPA Turkish Foreign Ministry Strategic Research Center ambassador Murat Bilhan. Mr. Bilhan, who served as Turkey's ambassador to Athens in 1990-1994, stated that Greece and Turkey can become strategic partners through strategic cooperation.

    Commenting on the statement of Justice and Development Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the time of the status quo in Turkey's domestic and foreign policy has passed, Mr. Bilhan stated that the Turkish foreign policy guidelines were defined in the early years of the Turkish Republic. He explained that from time to time certain adjustments were made to bring foreign policy lines closer to the contemporary conditions. He said that the country's stance was preserved more or less by the 57 governments that ruled until today and there is no reason to expect changes in the goals and directions of the overall Turkish policy by the 58th government. However, he added that it will not be a mistake to think that the 58th government could make certain moves to

    be in harmony with the current conditions.

    Responding to a question on the likelihood of a package that will include the Cyprus issue, Turkey's EU accession and the European Policy on Security and Defense, he said that this would not affect the priorities of Turkey in its daily agenda and its pol icy. He said that each of those issues develops independently of the rest, adding that there can be joint or independent developments in each sector.

    On the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Mr. Bilhan stated that it has a technocratic structure and a highly specialized personnel. Therefore, there can be no different political directions in the management of the Turkish foreign policy because through the year s it was refined in the ministry and became state policy. He also underlined that the new Turkish Foreign Minister comes from the diplomatic corps, stressing that this is useful because he is aware of the problems and he is expected to be constructive.

    He said that Turkey due to its geographic position it has an obligation to be interested in the developments in the Middle East and develops special policies for its neighboring regions. According to Mr. Bilhan, Turkey's Middle East policy together with its policy for the regions of Caucasus and the Balkans is among the most important sectors of its foreign policy.

    Mr. Bilhan said that the new Foreign Minister due to his experience on the Middle East he will contribute positively to Turkey's policy in this region. He added that the current developments in the region call for Turkey's close interest in it. He also e xplained that there will be no change in the Turkish policy concerning other priority regions or in the overall policy it follows toward other countries.

    Mr. Bilhan stated that the one-party governments are more effective than the multiparty coalitions as they reach decisions faster and follow a more active policy. Therefore, the new Turkish government can make faster and more decisive moves, said Mr. Bil han.

    On the issue of the human rights situation in Turkey, he said that the new government gives signs that it will follow the efforts of the previous governments toward the solution of the human rights problem.

  • [07] GREECE'S 2001-2005 ARMAMENTS PROGRAM The Government Council on Foreign Affairs and Defense that met under Prime Minister Kostas Simitis decided the purchase of 12 Apache attack helicopters worth 683 million Euro, 42 transport helicopters produced by the European Consortium worth 651 million

    Euro, the upgrading of 6 Navy frigates in the Skaramanga Shipyards worth 381 million Euro and the purchase of a corvette warship worth 415 million Euro.

    Mr. Simitis stated that the government will not purchase anything that it is not absolutely necessary for the country's security.

    From his side, Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou stated that the armaments decided to be purchased in today's meeting are necessary for the recapture of islands and rocky islets and therefore, they constitute the armory of a modern army specifically i n the operational environment of the Aegean.

  • [08] GAINS IN THE ASE The Athens Stock Exchange recorded gains in today's session resisting the downward trend in the European stock markets.

    The general index rose to +0.75% at 1.872,77 points, while the volume of transactions was satisfactory at 83.4 million Euro.

    Of the stocks trading today, 241 recorded gains and 79 had losses, while the value of 55 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [09] PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS ON THE ARMAMENTS, TURKEY AND CYPRUS In the cabinet meeting held today, Prime Minister Kostas Simitis referred to the Greek armed forces armaments program, the relations with Turkey, the Cyprus issue and Cyprus' EU accession.

    Mr. Simitis stated that the government purchases the weapons that are absolutely necessary for the defense of the Aegean. He stressed that Greece seeks cooperation with Turkey and at the same time, it wants a climate of security and cooperation and there fore, it has to be ready for every eventuality.

    Referring to the European Union enlargement, he stressed that Greece will not accept an EU enlargement if Cyprus is not included.

    On the developments in the Cyprus issue after the presentation of the Annan Plan for the solution of the Cyprus problem, he characterized Turkey's stance as inconsistent. He said that the statements made by the Turkish side are many and conflicting and f or this reason the problem is not a Greek-Turkish one but it concerns Turkey's relations with Europe.

  • [10] THE GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN ON CYPRUS Greece wants a clear accession of Cyprus into the EU without "ifs and buts", stated government spokesman Christos Protopapas and added that there can be no EU enlargement without Cyprus.

    Mr. Protopapas said that so far nobody has associated the solution of the Cyprus problem with Cyprus' EU accession because nobody has the political or moral right to do so.

    Regarding Turkey's stance, Mr. Protopapas spoke of an ambiguous and inconsistent stance characterized by conflicting statements and constant changes. This stance, said Mr. Protopapas creates problems to Turkey's European course. He said that its refusal to give final responses to two issues that do not concern only Greece but the whole of the EU namely, the Euro-army and the solution of the Cyprus problem, creates problems to its European course.

  • [11] THE PRIME MINISTER BRIEFED THE GOV'TAL COUNCIL ON THE NATO SUMMIT Prime Minister Kostas Simitis briefed the Governmental Council on Foreign Affairs and Defense on the outcome of the NATO Summit meeting in Prague.

    Mr. Simitis said that through the procedures ratified with the Brussels decisions NATO is called to face asymmetrical threats and mass destruction weapons. He said that there is a need for a rapid intervention force and reminded that the establishment of

    a similar force is in progress within the EU with the difference that the European force will undertake peacekeeping missions. He pointed out that developments show that the EU and NATO have two different but parallel orientations, while there is room fo r cooperation between them.

    The Prime Minister also mentioned that NATO's spread to the east and central Europe and the accession into NATO of three countries which belonged to the former Soviet Union means that NATO has become a wider alliance in which the US plays a decisive role .


  • [12] MAGRIOTIS SATISFIED WITH AMERICA REGIONAL SAE Deputy Foreign Minister Giannis Magriotis expressed his satisfaction with the results of the 5th Regional SAE of N&S America and his meetings with the Archbishop of America Dimitrios, as well as with representatives of Greek community organizations in Ne w York, during a press conference he held yesterday afternoon for the Greek media abroad, shortly before leaving for Greece.

    His discussion with the Archbishop was on issues concerning Greeks abroad, while he said that the conference was a success, because the first step for the consolidation of the strength of Greeks living in the US was made. He also congratulated the SAE Co ordinator of the N&S America, Christos Tomaras, region and the SAE Secretary, K. Maragoudakis, on organizing the conference and its cultural events.

    In individual meetings with representatives of Greek community organizations, the role of SAE and the need for cooperation with the organized structures of Greeks abroad, was discussed at length, as there were openly many reservations from the very first

    moment, which in some cases broke out into open disputes, were harmful to the body of Greeks abroad. SAE networks have an important role to play in this direction by consolidating and promoting the strengths of Greeks abroad. At that point he stressed th e need to connect them with Greece, and effort that has already begun with SEVE and the network of Greek businessmen and Greek universities with their network of Greek scientists.

    One of the main issues of the conference was that of education and culture, and as Mr. Magriotis said, although the responsibility for the education of Greeks abroad is handled by the Church, SAE and major Greek community organizations, the Greek state c annot stand by doing nothing, and is ready to coordinate a joint effort through the Ministry of Education.

    As far as national issues are concerned, the deputy Minister expressed his satisfaction on the common feeling he received from Greece and the sensitivity of Greeks abroad towards such issues. Today there is understanding towards their hierarchy from the Greek side and this was indicated by the resolution of the conference on the Cyprus issue, the so-called Macedonian issue and the minority in Albania.

    Finally, Mr. Magriotis noted that there is constant communication and briefing from Greeks abroad on difficult issues, and that within that framework the Greeks of America are united concerning great goals, and repeated he was certain that their help is decisive once again, especially at this delicate point for the Cyprus issue.

  • [13] MEETING ON THE ORGANIZED CRIME IN THE BALKANS Greek Public Order Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis attends a meeting held in London on security and measures against organized crime in the Balkan region.

    The meeting is held with the participation of delegations from 57 countries, while among the issues under discussion is the problem of the export of organized crime types from the Balkan countries to the rest European countries.

    Mr. Chrisochoidis stated that in Greece the problem is imported and stressed that the countries themselves, from which organized crime originates, will suffer more as development and democracy are undermined.

    Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou also attended the proceedings of the meeting. Mr. Papandreou had contacts in London today with his British counterpart Jack Straw and Cypriot AKEL Party General Secretary Dimitris Christofias to discuss the Cyprus issu e.

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