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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-03-11

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, March 11, 2003








  • [01] OBJECTIONS FIRST, WITNESSES LATER With objections concerning the inappropriateness of the court and the characterization of the crimes as political, the trial of the suspected members of N17 organization is continuing today. It is appreciated that witness testimonies will begin within th e week, while the list of witnesses to testify will be announced today. Two witnesses will testify under anonymity.
  • [02] 200 WITNESS "ROLL-CALL" AT N17 TRIAL The listing of the witnesses in attendance by court President Michalis Margaritis, began the new day of the N17 trial this morning. It should be noted that Mr. Margaritis read out the names of secret witnesses A1 and B1, and the second of the two, who wa s in the courtroom, stated he was present. In fact, the testimonies of the two secret witnesses are expected to star in today's proceedings, as they are expected to testify in the murder cases of Michalis Vranopoulos and Costis Peratikos. According to inf ormation, they recognize the participation of Savvas and Vassilis Xeros, as well as Dimitris Koufontinas in the murders.

    According to the police, more than 200 prosecution witnesses are in the courtroom today, in order to observe the trial of the suspected members of the "November 17" terrorist organization.

    Police measures are still extreme and the witnesses were thoroughly searched before entering the courtroom.

    The listing of the witnesses, who have been divided into categories, was carried out by the President according to the list provided by the Athens Appeals DA. The first of the 74 case briefs, concerns the attempted murder of US official Robert Chad.

    The witnesses for the defense are also expected to draw a lot attention to the trial. Specifically, 30 witnesses will testify in defense of Giannis Serifis. They include former Minister of Justice Evaggelos Giannopoulos, member of the resistance against the Germans Manolis Glezos, and other distinguished personalities.

  • [03] ANTIWAR EVENTS A series of anti-war events will be held in Greece this week, in view of the two-day informal EU Defense Ministers' meeting beginning this Friday, with the participation of Lord George Robertson and Javier Solana.

    Specifically, "Action: Thessaloniki 2003" and "The Greek Committee for International Disarmament and Peace", will surround the Ministry of Defense on Friday, March 14 at 5pm, while on the following day it has organized a rally at the Propylea at noon, an d a subsequent march to the US Embassy.

    On its side, the Greek Social Forum has organized a concert and march to the US Embassy on Saturday March 15 at noon, as well as the surrounding of NATO bases in Suda, Tirnavos and Aktion over the weekend.

    In Thessaloniki, the Greek Social Forum will hold an antiwar rally at 1pm at Aristotelous Square. A protest march to the US Consulate will follow, and then a surrounding of the 3rd Army Corps.

  • [04] IRAQIS WITH FORGED PASSPORTS Three illegal immigrants from Iraq with forged passports, attempted to travel from Greece to Germany, via the "Macedonia" airport in Thessaloniki.

    As was announced by the police direction, during the passport checks an airport security officer discovered - through computer checks - that the passports in the possession of 37-year-old M.M., 38-year-old M.M., and 24-year-old N.A. were forged. The thre e men were then arrested.

    During questioning they supported that they entered Greece illegally 4 months ago from the Evros river region, coming from Turkey and aiming at traveling to Germany.

    They have been charged and procedures for their deportation are underway.

  • [05] 9TH ROUND OF GREEK-TURKISH EXPLORATORY MEETINGS TOMORROW The 9th round of exploratory meetings between Greece and Turkey will take place in Ankara tomorrow, as announced by Greek Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Panos Beglitis. Greece and Turkey will be represented at the meeting by the Secretaries General of the

    two Foreign Ministries, Anastasios Skopelitis and Ugur Ziyal.

  • [06] GREEK PRESIDENCY SATISFIED BY REFERENDUM RESULTS IN MALTA Its complete satisfaction on the positive result of the referendum held in Malta on Saturday, concerning the country's accession to the European Union, was expressed by the Greek Presidency.

    A Greek Presidency announcement mentioned: "With their positive vote, the people of Malta have made a historic decision for their country's accession to the great European family. We believe that the referendums to be held over the next period of time in

    other candidate countries will prove equally positive, so that the enlargement procedure and their accession to the European Union can proceed without hindrance".

  • [07] KAKLAMANIS MEETS UN HIGH COMMISSIONER ON REFUGEES The wave of refugees to be created by a war in Iraq is estimated at 600,000 people, according to the answer of High Commissioner of the UN for refugees and former Prime Minister of Holland, Ruud Lubbers, to the question of the President of the Greek Parl iament, Apostolos Kalkamanis, who met with him this morning in his office at the Parliament.

    "The UN - and no country unilaterally - has the first word and responsibility on applying and observing international law", underlined Mr. Kaklamanis, stressing Greece's full support, and specifically that of the Greek Parliament, to the work of the UN c oncerning refugees.

    Mr. Kaklamanis also expressed his wish that a military confrontation be avoided, and that Saddam Hussein disarms - if UN inspectors give their assurance that Iraq does indeed possess weapons of mass destruction - by peaceful means. At the same time he po inted out the tragic consequences of a war, and among other issues, that of the refugees who will leave their homeland seeking the path of escape and survival.

    "Greece knows what being a refugee means, since recent military events have forced hundreds of thousands of refugees into our country", noted the President of the Parliament, while he noted that "the 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees who were driven out by the Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus, are still an open wound".

    Mr. Lubbers briefed Mr. Kaklamanis on the work of the UN High Commission for refugees and referred to the efforts being made by the international organization for the effective resolving of the problem in Iraq, which consists of its disarmament by peacef ul means, without the use of armed force, while he stressed the important role undertaken by our country as President of the European Union, in order for the member-states to come to a common position in favor of the peaceful resolving of the crisis.

  • [08] 17N TRIAL: NO DECISION ON THE OBJECTION OVER THE COURT'S JURISDICTION The discussion on the objection raised by the defense attorneys in the terrorist group "17 November" trial concerning the court's jurisdiction will continue tomorrow as no decision was reached today.

    The two prosecutors, Christos Lambrou and Vasilis Makris, called for the objection to be overruled.

    Mr. Lambrou stressed that political crime is preferential and added that democracy does not give privileges to those who commit crimes in order to overturn it. He added that democracy does not pamper but punishes those who scorn it.

    Mr. Makris stated that the objection concerning the court's jurisdiction is mostly ideological than legal.

  • [09] UNEMPLOYMENT DROPPED IN 2002 Unemployment in Greece dropped to 9.9% in 2002 compared to 10.5% in 2001, according to the National Statistics Agency.

    Based on the National Statistics Agency, in the last trimester of 2002 unemployment was at 9.7% compared to 10.9% in the same period in 2001, while in the third trimester last year it was at 9.5%.

  • [10] BEGLITIS' STATEMENTS ON THE HAGUE MEETING The Turkish Cypriot side is solely responsible for the deadlock in The Hague, commented Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis.

    Mr. Beglitis stated that the deadlock in The Hague, as a result of the continuing intransigence on behalf of Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, concerning the efforts for the solution of the political problem in Cyprus has caused disappointment and r egret to the Greek government. It is a negative development the responsibility for which belongs to the Turkish Cypriot leadership.

    Throughout this crucial period, said Mr. Beglitis, the Greek Cypriot side displayed a constructive attitude and the necessary political will to negotiate on the basis of the Annan Plan for a viable and operational solution to be reached, compatible with the European standards.

    Yesterday's positive stance adopted by Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos confirmed once again who truly wants the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    The Greek side wants to thank UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for the efforts he made and the interest he displayed in the solution of the Cyprus problem and the accession of a united Cyprus into the European Union.

    This goal remains alive and strong, said Mr. Beglitis adding that Greece will continue to support firmly the UN Secretary General good services for the solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the proposed plan.

    The Hague cannot be the end of the effort. On the contrary, the effort should continue within the framework of the United Nations.

    In spite of this negative development, said Mr. Beglitis, Cyprus' EU accession course will continue smoothly based on the Copenhagen European Council decision and the Accession Act for the ten acceding countries, the Cypriot Republic among them, will be signed in Athens on April 16.

  • [11] BIG LOSSES IN THE ASE The general index in the Athens Stock Exchange barely managed to stay above the psychological limit of 1.500 points today.

    The ASE general index plunged to -2.52% at 1.501,90 points, while the volume of transactions was at 78.2 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, just 20 recorded gains compared to the overwhelming majority of 314 that had losses, while the value of 47 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [12] VENIZELOS-LUBBERS AGREEMENT ON THE REFUGEE ATHLETES A cooperation agreement for the support of sports and athletes in the refugee camps in view of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games was signed today by Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos and UN High Commissioner for Refugees former Prime Minister of Hol land Mr. Ruud Lubbers.

    Referring to the agreement, Mr. Venizelos clarified that the Greek side undertakes the obligation to create sports facilities in selected refugee management camps around the world. These facilities will allow mainly the young refugees to engage in sports

    activities and feel that they lead a normal life in spite of their status as refugees.

    Mr. Venizelos pointed out that Greece is a country of refugees and stressed that it has lived the drama of refugees mainly on the occasion of the Asia Minor Disaster.

    On his part, Mr. Lubbers expressed the hope that the Olympic Games will convey the message in favor of the refugees and the help they need, while he thanked Mr. Venizelos for the Greek initiative. Mr. Lubbers said that we live in a very difficult world e specially now with the crisis in Iraq and it is wonderful to have such a message and the materialization of the Olympic Games next year. He said that the Olympic Games have this unique power to overcome the black moments in the world and bring the peoples


  • [13] THE EXHIBITION "ATHENS, THE BIRTHPLACE OF DEMOCRACY" TRAVELS TO LUXEMBOURG Luxembourg is the last stop for the travelling exhibition "Athens, the Birthplace of Democracy" presented throughout Europe on the occasion of the Greek EU Residency. The exhibition opens in Foyer Europeen in April and is organised by the Greek Culture M inistry and the Greek Embassy in Luxembourg.

    The exhibition includes copies of findings from excavations in Athens' Ancient Agora. They were objects used in various occasions in everyday life in ancient Athens.

  • [14] A STAGE FOR DIONYSOS IN DUBLIN The dynamics of theatrical space and its strong relation to the ancient drama are being explored by the exhibition "A Stage for Dionysos - Theatrical Space and Ancient Drama". The exhibition that opened at Dublin Castle on March 7 will last for one month

    and it is part of a series of cultural events organised all over Europe on the occasion of the Greek EU presidency for the first half of 2003.

    The exhibition deals with the history of ancient Greek theater, that magnificent invention of the Athenian Democracy that left its mark on the world's cultural history.

    Among the exhibits are historical and contemporary theatrical costumes and masks, and models of Greek theatres, together with touch-screen applications relating to theatrical performances down through the ages. The Abbey Theatre has kindly lent some of i ts historical costumes for that purpose.

  • [15] GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE DEVELOPMENTS OVER IRAQ Any development on the issue of Iraq will have to pass through the United Nations, reiterated Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas responding to a relevant question by reporters and added that no unilateral action outside the UN will be accepte d by Greece.

    Mr. Protopapas also stressed that there is always room for a peaceful settlement of the issue based on the report of the UN weapons' inspectors. When asked to comment on the French newspaper "Le Monde" press report according to which, the US has called o n 60 state governments to deport Iraqi nationals, he said that this did not happen as far as Greece is concerned. He said that no such request was made to the Foreign Ministry or the Ministry of Public Order.

  • [16] PROTOPAPAS: THE TURKISH CYPRIOT SIDE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE NEGATIVE DEVELOPMENTS OVER CYPRUS Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas expressed the government's regret because a solution in Cyprus was impossible to be reached in The Hague, pointing out that the responsibility belongs exclusively to the Turkish Cypriot side and the Turkish side.

    Mr. Protopapas said that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash gave a show of intransigence once again, adding that most of the responsibility for the developments belongs to him. He reiterated UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's statement that Denktash was

    not prepared to agree on the peace plan and hold a referendum for its approval.

    The Greek government spokesman stated that it is obvious that the Turkish Cypriot side did not want positive developments in the efforts for the solution of the political problem in Cyprus and added that Greece and the Greek Cypriot stance proves that th ey want a solution to be found. He said that we want a solution to be reached in Cyprus and we will continue to work toward this direction until Turkey changes its stance. He also added that the procedures for Cyprus' EU accession move smoothly.

    Regarding Turkey's European course, he said that it passes through the solution of the Cyprus problem as well and this has to be realized by the Turkish side.

  • [17] PAPANTONIOU EXPRESSED STRONG DISCONTENT FOR THE TURKISH JETS VIOLATIONS Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou expressed strong discontent over the continuing airspace violations by Turkish fighter jets over the Aegean Sea. Mr. Papantoniou stated that this behavior is not a behavior of a civilized country and is in total

    conflict with the statements made by the Turkish leadership concerning its will to improve bilateral relations.

    Mr. Papantoniou characterized as unpleasant the continuation of the Greek airspace violations by Turkish fighter jets.

    Meanwhile, two Turkish F-16 fighter jets harassed this morning an Israeli C-130 transport plane inside the Athens FIR, 15 miles east of the Aegean island of Rhodes in southeastern Aegean. Greek fighter jets intercepted the Turkish aircraft.

    The C-130 belonged to the Israeli Airforce and had taken off from Rhodes this morning.


  • [18] END OF THE ROAD FOR THE CYPRUS ISSUE Negotiations on the Cyprus issue were led to a breakdown this morning, marking the end of yet another effort to resolve the problem that has kept the island divided. "Mr. Denktash has not accepted the plan proposed by Mr. Annan", stated Cypriot President

    T. Papadopoulos. Cyprus will sign the accession treaty on April 16, underlined deputy Foreign Minister G. Magriotis. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Panos Beglitis, foresaw another effort by the UN soon.

  • [19] GREEK STUDENT IN BRITISH COURT Two seals with the star and the initials "EO 17N", the trademarks of the "November 17" terrorist group, were found in the possession of Greek student Charalambos Dousemertzis, who will be tried in Newcastle today for violating the British anti-terrorism law. A representative of the Greek diplomatic mission to London will attend the trial. It will be neither an easy nor a quick case, stated the young man's attorney to NET Radio. Charalambos Dousemertzis claims that the objects found are related to his pos t-graduate studies.
  • [20] PROTOPAPAS ON IRAQ: NO TO THE LAW OF THE "ONE" The need to respect international law and the decisions of the Security Council were mentioned by Minister of the Press and the Media Christos Protopapas, in statements to the Greek service of the BBC, at an event of the Greek Observatory for the Greek P residency of the EU.

    Commenting on Mr. Simitis' recent statement that a war is not unavoidable, Mr. Protopapas noted that "the question is who is going to carry out the war in the first place".

    "Personally, I understand that Iraq must be disarmed, according to UN resolution 1441", he said, while noting that the UN and the Security Council must judge whether Baghdad has disarmed itself and what actions to follow.

    "But one alone cannot appreciate whether Iraq has disarmed itself, because then we would be talking about the law of the one and not international law", added Mr. Protopapas.

    He also noted that Greece is opposed to military action without UN approval. "We always believe in the path of peace and want to exhaust all options on that path. We will respect UN decisions, but not the decisions of one", underlined the Minister.

    To the question of how strong Greece feels towards the EU and Washington, Mr. Protopapas answered: "...Greece does not feel that it is anyone's opponent... the country is strong when Europe is strong".

    "We want a dialogue with the US. But we want an equal dialogue and Europe must have its own voice, and that is why we took a risk and decided on the Brussels meeting, and succeeded", he added.

    "In any case we must reexamine the initiatives we must take, always in the framework of the Brussels decisions, which states that we must exhaust the scope for peace and move within UN frameworks".

  • [21] GREEK GOVERNMENT DISAPPOINTED WITH CYPRUS DEVELOPMENTS The sorrow and disappointment of the Greek government on the unfortunate turn of events in the efforts made by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in Hague, were expressed by the head of the Greek delegation at the negotiations, Secretary General of the Fore ign Ministry Ambassador Anastasios Skopelitis.

    "As the UN Secretary General himself said in his statement, the dead end is the responsibility of the Turkish Cypriot leader", mentioned Mr. Skopelitis. "The Greek side expresses its will to support every effort for a solution, so that the present moment um is preserved", he added.

  • [22] BRITISH COURT REJECTS REQUEST FOR THE GREEK STUDENT'S RELEASE A county court in Britain decided that Greek student Charalambos Dousemetzis should be tried at a higher court accused of breaking the anti-terrorist law on two counts, while it also decided that he should not be released pending trial because he could l eave Britain and return to Greece.

    The prosecutor maintained that the actions of the student do not constitute a threat for public order or human lives. However, his obsession with terrorist groups and the fact that he displayed a partiality toward the goals of Greek terrorist group "17 N ovember" could be the cause of crimes in the future.

    The objects incriminating the Greek student, according to the prosecutor, are two plastic stamps with the star and logo of 17N, as well as a 17N propaganda sheet to which the student had added his own introduction.

    His defense attorney maintained that he collected material on 17N for his thesis and to impress his British girlfriend.

    The Greek consul general in London was present in today's court proceedings.

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