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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-04-02

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, April 2, 2003





  • [03] AID FOR IRAQ



  • [01] UNANSWERED QUESTIONS Today will be another day of witness testimonies on the murder of ND MP Pavlos Bakoyannis in the continuation of the trial on crimes committed by 17N members. Yesterday, the wife of the murdered MP, and Mayor of Athens, Dora Bakoyanni, said that terroris m cannot stand to see the reconciliation of the Left and the Right. "I was a member of 17N, I agree with its choices", answered Dimitris Koufontinas, when asked if he participated.
  • [02] CONFRONTATION OVER JOURNALISTS' RETURN FROM BAGHDAD The appeals of the Minister of the Press, Ch. Protopapas, for all Greek media correspondents to return from Baghdad for security reasons, were characterized as interventions that give the impression that they are the product of pressures, and which creat e a negative atmosphere in information operations, by the Athens Journalists' Union (ESIEA). "I am saddened by the level of ESIEA's announcement today. When they have not dealt with an issue in so many days, they should be more careful", replied Mr. Proto papas.
  • [03] AID FOR IRAQ It was decided at yesterday's meeting of the Holy Synod that a recommendation will be made to all the Metropolites of the Church of Greece to organize blood drives at their Metropolises in coordination with their Regional Hospitals, in order for the bloo d to be sent to the areas being tried.

    The Ministry of Education sent a circular to all schools urging all students participate in the UNICEF campaign for the concentration of humanitarian aid for the children of Iraq.

    UNICEF has asked Greek students to concentrate specific medicines, educational materials and school equipment, thus sending a tangible message of humanity, solidarity and peace.

    The materials will be concentrated at schools all over the country, will then be promoted to the region at war by UNICEF, and distributed to the children of Iraq, which are being tried by the war.

    UNICEF is also organizing a radio-marathon for the children of Iraq on Tuesday April 8. The main body of the marathon will be held on ERA, with the participation of "Flash 96" from 9:00-11:00 and 17:00-18:00, aiming at strengthening relief programs for I raqi children. Contributions can be made to the following banks:

    Ethniki, Emporiki, Agrotiki, Pireos, Nova Bank, Alpha Bank, Citibank And HSBC. Contributions can also be made to

    Meanwhile, the Greek Solidarity Caravan decided not to concentrate food and clothing for Iraq, since it cannot secure its own independence in Iraq in the present situation, and would have to cooperate with US-UK forces, which is against its principles.

    For that reason, the Greek Solidarity Caravan decided on only concentrating money at this time in an account at the Ethniki Trapeza for the financial adoption of Iraqi children that have lost their parents.

  • [04] SIMITIS: AFGHANISTAN MODEL CANNOT BE APPLIED IN IRAQ'S "NEXT DAY" The model applied in the "next day" for Afghanistan cannot be applied in Iraq, where there can only be one point of reference and that is the UN, stressed Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who explained that only the UN can play the main role in the reconst ruction of Iraq, because it is the only organization that can avoid the explosion of nationalism and indirectly supplying terrorism.

    Mr. Simitis spoke at the meeting of the Socialist Group at the European Parliament in Athens, and stressed the need for the international community to move to all necessary actions so that the danger of a humanitarian disaster can be avoided. Peace and d emocracy must be restored, the country's territorial integrity must be preserved and it must stop presenting a source of threat.

    International legality must be supported, he said, and noted that the role of the EU is required and is decisive for a strong and effective international community.

    He made special mention of EU-US relations and underlined that a solution must be found to that issue, because otherwise the EU will not clarify its foreign policy and will face crises like the one it is facing at the present.

    He presented the initiatives of the Greek Presidency and the political situation in Greece, on which he noted that it is the first time in the country's history that it has gone through three decades of stable political life.

  • [05] S. XEROS AND COSTARIS RECOGNIZED BY WITNESS His complete certainty that Savvas Xeros and Eracles Costaris participated in the D. Bakoyannis murder was expressed by witness N. Beratanos today, whose testimony was strongly disputed by the defendants. Mr. Costaris denied any involvement in 17N action s and stated that he could prove he was somewhere else at the time of the Bakoyannis murder.
  • [06] G. PAPANDREOU - ANNAN TELEPHONE COMMUNICATION Foreign Minister and President of the EU Council of Ministers Giorgos Papandreou had a telephone communication with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, with whom he discussed developments in Iraq and sending humanitarian aid.

    During their talk, Mr. Papandreou expressed the position of the EU on the role the UN must play in Iraq, and ways the EU and the UN could cooperate were looked into, aiming at dealing with the humanitarian problems caused by the war in Iraq.

  • [07] E. COSTARIS DENIES ALL CONNECTION TO 17N The testimony of witness Nikos Beretanos in the 17N trial today, in the case of the murder of P. Bakoyannis in September 1989, caused the intervention of suspect Eracles Costaris.

    The witness recognized Savvas Xeros and Eracles Costaris as the perpetrators of the attack, however Costaris denied all charges against him, supporting that he has nothing to do with "17 November".

    The defendant received the permission to speak from President of the Court Michalis Margaritis, and asked Mr. Beretanos why he did not recognize him during his testimony before the Special Examiner. In fact, Mr. Costaris supported that certain parties in dicated to the witness who should be recognized.

    Assistant DA Vassilis Makres asked Eracles Costaris if he participated in the killing of Pavlos Bakoyannis, and he denied all charges. "I have no connection to 17N. I deny all charges and I am angered with what is being said. In the specific case of Pavl os Bakoyannis' murder, I was elsewhere and I can prove it", he mentioned.

    Meanwhile, Savvas Xeros' attorney, Giorgos Agiostratites made mention of a fabricated witness and intensely questioned the validity of Mr. Beretenos' testimony.

  • [08] EU PRESIDENCY STATEMENT ON THE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN BELARUS The European Union deplores the arrest and imprisonment by the Belarusian authorities of a number of the participants in the recent peaceful demonstrations in Minsk.

    It expresses its deep concern on the deterioration of human rights situation in Belarus. In this regard it considers that legitimate concerns, regarding the keeping of public order, should, by no means, lead to the imposition of limitations which clearly

    constitute an abuse of the right to demonstrate, as well as of the freedom of expression.

  • [09] KARATZAS: THE BEST MEASURE IS TO STAY CALM The view that in the world's stock markets dominates the "reverse exaggeration" compared to 1999, was expressed by National Bank of Greece Governor Theodoros Karatzas, who appeared appeasing on the effects the war in Iraq had so far on the borrowers' beh avior.

    Responding to a question on whether the adoption of measures is necessary, Mr. Karatzas stated that in such cases no measures can be adopted, adding that the best measure is to stay calm.

    Referring to the European Central Bank interest rates, Mr. Karatzas stated that in the present phase no change will affect investment decisions because already the interest rates are very low.

  • [10] BIG GAINS IN THE ASE Big gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +2.22% at 1.507,39 points, while the volume of transactions was satisfactory at 98.5 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, the overwhelming majority of 322 recorded gains and just 20 had losses, while the value of 43 stocks remained unchanged.

    The gains in the ASE were the result of the positive effects of the climate of optimism dominating today in the major European stock markets.

    A decisive role to the creation of a positive climate in the world stock markets was played by the indications that there is an advance of the US-British forces to Baghdad, a fact that revived the hopes of investors for a quick end to the war in Iraq.

  • [11] THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE AIRSPACE VIOLATIONS BY TURKISH JETS Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas stated that any moves by the Turkish side for the creation of secondary fronts will not have any results. The response was given when he was asked by reporters on the Greek airspace violations committed by T urkish jets. Asked about the incident in the Greek territorial waters involving a Greek fishing boat and a Turkish warship, Mr. Protopapas stated that it is a common phenomenon that takes place at the limits of the territorial waters of the two countries.

    It happens many times to have disputes on the fishing boats sailing along those borders, he said.

    On the Turkish Foreign Minister's visit to the Turkish occupied territories in northern Cyprus, the government spokesman commented that it is one of the common visits made by Turkish government ministers to the region, adding that the occupied territorie s will not be recognized by the international community through such moves.

    He said that if Turkey wants truly to contribute to a solution, it should sit at the negotiating table to discuss the Annan Plan as it has been requested by the Greek side and the Greek Cypriots.

  • [12] ATHENS REJECTED ANKARA'S PROPOSAL FOR BILATERAL MEETING ON CYPRUS Ankara proposed a meeting of the Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers of Greece and Turkey on Cyprus to be held in Belgrade on April 9 on the sidelines of the Conference for the Cooperation in SE Europe. The Greek response was negative. The Greek positi on is that a bilateral meeting should take place only with the precondition that the discussion will cover all issues and not just the Cyprus issue.

    The above were stressed by Greek acting government spokesman Tilemachos Hitiris speaking to the foreign press correspondents in Athens. He reminded that the Annan report on the developments in Cyprus will be submitted to the UN on April 4, while the UN S ecurity Council will issue a resolution on the developments in Cyprus on April 9.

    On Cyprus, Ankara also proposed to the Greek side to hold a five-member conference with the participation of the guarantor powers. Mr. Hitiris stated that the position of Athens is that Cyprus is an international issue placed within the framework of the UN and any development should take place within this framework.

    Mr. Hitiris referred to the telephone communication the Italian Foreign Minister had with his Greek counterpart suggesting, on behalf of Italy, that the scheduled for April 21 meeting of France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg for the strengthening of th e European defense cooperation should become a meeting of all 15 EU member states.

    Regarding the trip of US Secretary of State Colin Powell to Europe, he said that its goal is the improvement of the climate and relations between the European Union and the United States.

    Mr. Powell will meet in Brussels tomorrow with the EU Troika and he will have a working lunch with the EU and NATO Foreign Ministers.

  • [13] THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON IRAQ The coincidence of those attacking with those who will undertake the political reconstruction of Iraq is dangerous in the eyes of the people of Iraq and all the peoples in the region, stressed Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas. He made the s tatement commenting on a British newspaper report according to which, Iraq's governance will be undertaken by the Americans.

    He added that only the UN can guarantee the success of the undertaking because it will take place with total respect for the democratic procedures, the rights of the minorities, and the independence and integrity of Iraq, as in a different case there wil l be serious problems.

    Any other unilateral intervention and transformation of Iraq into a form of a protectorate will not be credible neither for the people of Iraq nor for the rest of the Arab people in the region, said Mr. Protopapas. Responding to a relevant question, he s aid that Greece is not in conflict with the American people or the American state but it condemns the specific act of aggression against Iraq.

  • [14] THE GREEK PRIME MINISTER WILL CONTACT THE LEADERS OF FRANCE, BELGIUM AND GERMANY Greek Prime Minister and EU President Kostas Simitis intends to communicate with the President of France, the Prime Minister of Belgium and the German Chancellor to discuss with them ways to bring their thoughts on defense issues to the European bodies. The above were stressed by Mr. Simitis responding to questions by reporters during the meeting of the Socialist Euro-deputies held in Athens today.

    Mr. Simitis pointed out that Foreign Minister Papandreou has expressed a view according to which, the European defense policy should become a subject of discussion in the informal meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers that will convene immediately after th e meeting of the three leaders.

    Mr. Simitis said that it would be negative for the EU a discussion on an issue of such importance to take place outside the EU framework and added that the issue of defense should be considered very carefully. He was also in favor of the increase of the EU defense spending in order to have a European defense force that could be used as a deterrent.

    On foreign policy, Mr. Simitis stated that on issues that are vital for the national interests it is right to have the option of the veto power and used as an example the Greek veto on the issue of NATO's cooperation with the EU.

    Referring to Iraq, he stressed that a solution to the issue should not be reached based on who will pay for the country's reconstruction. Instead it should be kept in mind that peace should prevail in the region because there are fears that there will be

    reactions by all the countries in the area if those who made the war will get to decide on who will rule over the country.

    On the Cyprus issue, he said that the United Nations should have the major role and expressed disagreement on the likelihood of talks between the three guarantor powers and the two communities on the island.

  • [15] SIMITIS-NANO MEETING Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis and his Albanian counterpart Fatos Nano discussed bilateral issues in Athens. The Albanian leader is in the Greek capital invited to attend the Economist conference.

    In his meeting with Mr. Simitis, the Albanian Prime Minister called for Greece's support to Albania's request to enter an association relation with the EU and become a NATO member.


  • [16] THE ADVANTAGE OF AN INCORPORATED TURKEY Greece is divided from Turkey due to a number of major national issues, such as the Cyprus tragedy, Turkey's unilateral claims in the Aegean, continuous violations of Greece's national air space, but Turkey needs to be incorporated into a behavioral syst em that will contribute to the region's stability, stated Minister of Defense Giannos Papantoniou after his meeting with US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
  • [17] PAPANTONIOU-RUMSFELD MEETING IN WASHINGTON The need to avert the danger of Turkey's international isolation and to return the neighboring country to a behavioral system that would contribute to the region's stability was stressed by Minister of National Defense Giannos Papantoniou after his meeti ng with his US counterpart, Donald Rumsfeld, in Washington yesterday.

    Regarding Turkey's intentions of sending troops into North Iraq in an effort to check on Kurdish movements, Mr. Papantoniou underlined that "that danger has been averted, but it underlines an irresponsibility of Turkey, which is being expressed on many l evels".

    The Minister of National Defense mentioned Cyprus as a characteristic example of Ankara's position, where, as he said, we recently lost a unique historic opportunity to resolve the problem, due to Mr. Denktash's intolerance, as well as due to Turkey itse lf.

    After pointing out that Greece is divided from Turkey by a series of major national issues, such as "the Cyprus tragedy... unilateral Turkish claims in the Aegean... continuous violations of national airspace", Mr. Papantoniou stressed the need for Turke y to be incorporated into the international and European system, and a behavioral system that would contribute to stability and peace in the region.

    He also underlined that Greece's statement and position of support to its neighbor's European prospects, requires that it would substantially and positively contribute to resolving of issues, such as that of Cyprus and the Aegean.

    According to the Minister's statements, his US counterpart underlined that it is also part of US policy to find a way for Turkey to rejoin "a more responsible behavioral system which would contribute more decisively and effectively to the consolidation o f conditions of peace and stability in the region".

    Mr. Papantoniou also discussed issues concerning the war in Iraq with Mr. Rumsfeld, and briefed him, as President of the Council of Defense Ministers of the EU, on the positions of the EU and Greece on the issue.

    Specifically, as far as the war is concerned, the Minister stressed the need for the UN to have a significant participation as far as humanitarian aid towards the Iraqi people is concerned, as well as a say in the final conditions to prevail in the regio n after aggressions are ended.

    "It is important for humanity to function in the framework of international legality and the guarantor of that legality is the UN, and this has been in effect for many years since WWII", stated Mr. Papantoniou characteristically.

    The Minister of National Defense also briefed his US counterpart on developments regarding the issue of the Euroarmy, while they discussed the issue of the structure of NATO headquarters, and the need to find a solution that would guarantee Greece's part icipation in those headquarters in a balanced way, that would reflect the political and geopolitical balances in the region.

  • [18] IRAQ WAS AT THE CENTER OF THE PAPANTONIOU-RICE MEETING The immediate involvement of the UN is significant for future developments in Iraq concerning the legality of the regulations adopted by those who will be in power and the flow of humanitarian aid necessary for the country to be able to move toward democ racy through conditions of prosperity. The above were stated by Greek Minister of Defense Yiannos Papantoniou after the meeting he had in Washington today with the US President National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

    He characterized the discussion they had as useful and meaningful and expressed the view that the involvement of the UN in the reconstruction of Iraq and the confirmation of its role as the guarantor of international legality will help bridge the gap in the EU-US relations.

    Mr. Papantoniou stated that they discussed issues concerning the security and stability in the region of eastern Mediterranean and especially Cyprus. He expressed the hope that in spite of the failure to reach a political solution to the problem, due to the intransigence displayed by Turkey and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, a framework will be created again in which the Annan Peace Plan will be a basis for negotiation to find a fair, viable and functional solution. A solution that will contribute

    decisively to the meaningful improvement of relations between Greece and Turkey.

    Responding to the question if he expects a development in the Cyprus issue before April 16, Mr. Papantoniou responded negatively. He added that April 16 is a first step for Cyprus' accession into the EU and based on the new situation that will be created

    a process should resume which will lead to a political solution to the problem.

    On the imminent meeting of Prime Minister Kostas Simitis with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Belgrade on April 8, the Greek Defense Minister stated that it will not be an opportunity to solve any problems, adding that it will be a meetin g like any other international meeting.

    Mr. Papantoniou and Mrs. Rice also discussed the issue of the Euro-army and the US President adviser expressed her support to the program followed by the Greek EU Presidency.

  • [19] THE TURKISH PRIME MINISTER SENT A LETTER OF THANKS TO HIS GREEK COUNTERPART Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to his Greek counterpart Kostas Simitis thanking the Greek government for the effective cooperation in the case of the recent hijacking on board a Turkish Airlines passenger plane.

    According to the Turkish news agency Anadolu, the Turkish Prime Minister is also thanking Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou, Public Order Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis and Greek Police Chief Fotis Nasiakos for the important role they played in the se ttlement of the crisis.

    This unfortunate event proved the importance of cooperation between the two governments and bilateral relations were strengthened further, Mr. Erdogan mentions in his letter.

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