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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-04-08

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, April 8, 2003

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] ROCKETS AND GRENADES
  • [02] SIMITIS ON RECONSTRUCTION OF IRAQ
  • [03] SIMITIS ON CYPRUS ISSUE
  • [04] GREEK STUDENT ARRESTED ON TERRORISM CHARGES IN UK RELEASED
  • [05] IOC DELEGATION IN ATHENS
  • [06] GREECE UNITED TO AID THE CHILDREN OF IRAQ
  • [07] PAPANDREOU: A LONG TERM US ADMINISTRATION OF IRAQ COULD CAUSE GREATER PROBLEMS
  • [08] KARAMANLIS: THIS WAR MUST END AT ONCE
  • [09] WITNESS RECOGNIZES S. AND CH. XEROS AS PERPS IN SEPOLIA CLASH
  • [10] NO SOLUTION OUTSIDE UN
  • [11] CHRISTODOULAKIS: GREEK ECONOMY STANDING FIRM
  • [12] INFLATION DROPPED TO 4.1% IN MARCH
  • [13] GREEK GOV'T INITIATIVE FOR THE PROTECTION OF JOURNALISTS IN BAGHDAD
  • [14] PAPANTONIOU: NEED FOR MEANINGFUL UN PARTICIPATION IN POST-WAR IRAQ
  • [15] COOPERATION PROTOCOL FOR THE GREEK-AUSTRIAN NATURAL GAS PIPELINE
  • [16] HITIRIS ON CYPRUS
  • [17] SIMITIS AND PAPANDREOU IN BELGRADE TOMORROW
  • [18] LOSSES IN THE ASE
  • [19] THE ATTACK ON PALESTINE HOTEL IS A BLOW ON INFORMATION
  • [20] HITIRIS ON THE SIGNING OF THE EU ENLARGEMENT
  • [21] THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE "NEW YORK TIMES" ARTICLE
  • [22] PRESIDENT PRODI AND FOUR EU COMMISSIONERS IN ATHENS ON APRIL 16
  • [23] THE BULGARIAN PRESIDENT SIGNED THE OLYMPIC TRUCE DECLARATION
  • [24] CONFERENCE ON SPORTS, SOCIAL COHESION AND HANDICAPPED PEOPLE IN THESSALONIKI ON APRIL 11-12
  • [25] PAPANDREOU-GROSSMAN TELEPHONE COMMUNICATION ON THE ATTACKS TARGETING JOURNALISTS
  • [26] PAPANDREOU-DEHAENE MEETING
  • [27] HITIRIS ON THE EU GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL
  • [28] SIMITIS MET WITH PARVANOV AND JANUKOVIC
  • [29] THE GREEK CULTURE MINISTER MET WITH THE PRIME MINISTER OF UKRAINE
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [30] INFORMATION LOSSES
  • [31] BOMBING THE PRESS NEWS IN DETAILS

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] ROCKETS AND GRENADES "They launched rockets against us, not chocolates. Then they threw a grenade to finish us off", said the head of the Police Special Forces squad that was attacked in 1991, Nikos Gogos, in his testimony at the trial on the crimes committed by members of N 17. Three individuals who participates in the murder attempt of DA Androulidakis were described by an eyewitness, who did not recognize any of them in the faces of the defendants. Of the accused, Mr. Telios repeated that he was physically present in all a ctions in which he admitted participation. The police are continuing their interrogatory acts, according to the attorney of Al. Giotopoulos, G. Rachiotis.
  • [02] SIMITIS ON RECONSTRUCTION OF IRAQ Prime Minister and President of the EU Costas Simitis referred to the developments in Iraq, stressing that Greece was, and still is, in favor of peace and in favor of applying international law.

    Specifically, the Prime Minister stated that while the meeting of the Executive Office on the political planning of the governing party, international developments, and a review of national issues was still in session, he referred to the role of the Gree k Presidency, saying that on the Iraq issue the Greek Presidency tried to keep the cohesion of the EU, promote the points that join European countries and not those that divide them. However, he did mention the inability of the European Union in dealing w ith the crisis.

    Regarding the reconstruction of Iraq, the Prime Minister stated that it should be set by the United Nations.

    "The political and economic reconstruction of Iraq", he stressed, "must be achieved with the participation of its citizens, and express their interests, so that they can take hold of their own fortunes as soon as possible. That must be the direction of t he UN in this transitory phase. Meaning, how it will be able to form this new state, which will be created as soon as possible and for the functioning of which the citizens of Iraq themselves are responsible".

    The issue of the reconstruction of Iraq, underlined the Prime Minister, will be presented by the Greek Presidency at the General Affairs Council.

  • [03] SIMITIS ON CYPRUS ISSUE The proposals for a dialogue for the resolving of the Cyprus issue, outside the framework of the UN, made by the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side, were rejected by Prime Minister of Greece and President of the EU Costas Simitis.

    Specifically the Prime Minister mentioned unusual proposals from the Turkish side, aiming at covering up the responsibilities of the Turkish and the Turkish Cypriot side, in the failures in Hague.

    "The proposals of the Turkish Cypriot side tell us to abandon the Annan proposal, the framework of the UN, the regulations of the EU, and aim for something else. To better the atmosphere between the two communities, and after having improved it, search f or a solution to the political problem", he said.

    At that point the Prime Minister asked: "Why is it that they just now remembered that the regime of Ammochostos and the limitations they placed on the island, the results of the occupation, are not necessary and can be changed? Why did they not make move s some years ago?" Answering that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side have been led to make these movements, as the Annan proposal and EU regulations forced them to abandon their prior position.

    The Annan proposals and EU regulations, stressed Mr. Simitis, are the pressure lever which the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side want to be rid off. I do not agree with that, stressed the Prime Minister, and added that the framework of the UN and the EU p romotes the application of International Law.

    Finally, as far as Turkey's accessional course is concerned, the Prime Minister mentioned that the requirements are still in place, the conclusion of all pending issues with neighboring countries according to principles of International Law and of the EU . "The line dividing Nicosia, divides Turkey from the EU. That is why a change in policy is necessary and maneuvers or attempts to impress are unnecessary", underlined the Prime Minister.

  • [04] GREEK STUDENT ARRESTED ON TERRORISM CHARGES IN UK RELEASED The adventure of 25-year-old Greek student Harris Dousemertzis, who was being held by the British authorities since February 25, due to violations of the British terrorism law, looks as if it will have a happy ending.

    Dousemertzis is expected to be released, possibly even today, although his request to be released recently, had been denied by the Berlington magistrate's court. The prosecution seems to have decided to drop the charges against him due to lack of incrimi nating evidence.

  • [05] IOC DELEGATION IN ATHENS A delegation of the IOC's Coordination Committee, headed by Dennis Oswald, is visiting Athens, in order to carry out the usual inspection in view of 2004.

    The IOC delegation will concentrate its attention on Olympic projects, as well as on transports, supplies and trial runs.

    On Thursday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis will meet with Dennis Oswald, in the presence of President of "Athens 2004" Gianna Aggelopoulou and Minister of Culture Evaggelos Venizelos, in order to discuss Olympics Games' related issues.

  • [06] GREECE UNITED TO AID THE CHILDREN OF IRAQ More than 50,000 euro have been concentrated by the audience of the radio-marathon of love for the children of Iraq, being held today by UNICEF, mainly using ERA (Greek State Radio), and with the participation of "Flash 96", from 09:00 to 10:00 and from 17:00 to 18:00, aiming at strengthening the programs of the organization for the relief of Iraqi children.

    Contributions can be made to the following banks: ETHNIKI: 169/480020-64 EMPORIKI: 031/80191081 AGROTIKI: 017040044 16-70 PIREOS: 5049-001837-211 NOVA BANK: 519829 ALPHA BANK: 115 002002 017649 (procedure K03) CITIBANK: 5502 356484 HSBC: 002-066694-130 Furthermore, contributions can be made at all ATMs of the Ethniki Bank network, as well as over the Internet at www.unicef.gr

    Meanwhile, the Greek government decided to provide $1 million in humanitarian aid for the Iraqi people. The funds were collected through the Bank of Greece with the direction of the deputy Minister of Economy and Finance G. Floridis, and will be distribu ted to the Iraqi people by the UN.

    More than 20 tons of humanitarian aid for Iraq, gathered by the "Solidarity" NGO, part of the Church of Greece, has already reached Amman, Jordan, and will depart from there for the refugee camp on the boarder.

  • [07] PAPANDREOU: A LONG TERM US ADMINISTRATION OF IRAQ COULD CAUSE GREATER PROBLEMS A long term US administration of Iraq could cause even greater reactions and will bear negative results, stated Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou, and he noted that an interior discussion is taking place in the US on the "following day" and their role in Iraq.

    A possible fragmentation of Iraq could lead to instability and even to a new war, tension in the Kurdish issue could cause a civil war in Turkey, and an implication of Turkey in N. Iraq could cause enormous problems to Turkey's European prospects, pointe d out Mr. Papandreou in statements to NET television.

    Regarding the proposals of the European Union on the "following day" in Iraq and the role of the UN, he observed that the EU does not want a "piece of the pie", but that it wants to consolidate stability in the region. The position of non-involvement bei ng proposed by some, is wrong, because the EU has responsibilities, regardless of whether or not it participated in the war. It is interested in having stability in the region and Greece, being so close to it, has a vital interest in stabilizing the situa tion in Iraq. All these issues, and the problems a possible military involvement of Turkey on N. Iraq could cause, were raised by Mr. Papandreou in his meeting with US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

    In response to a journalist's question on whether he believes there will be further US attacks after Iraq, the Greek Foreign Minister responded that when he asked Mr. Powell the same thing, the US Secretary of State reassured him that there are no such p lans. He did observe, however, that Mr. Powell was not absolute in his reassurance.

  • [08] KARAMANLIS: THIS WAR MUST END AT ONCE The current cruel war claiming thousands of victims, civilians and small children, was referred to by the President of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis, during his speech members of the ND University Student Youth at the University of Ioannina, while stat ing that he was in favor of immediately ending the conflict and restoring international legality.

    "We stated that we were against the war from the very beginning. We stated from the very beginning that we are in favor of peace, in favor of international legality and respect to UN decisions. Unfortunately, diplomacy failed. The UN was outflanked. The EU could not even find a united voice. The results were tragic and the prospects are still dismal. What is important now is for the war to end. This war must end immediately. To provide substantial, effective humanitarian aid to those in need. To end the human tragedy. Not to lose any more lives. This is what the International Community demands. This is what we ask, unanimously, all Greek men and women. This is the position and claim that Greece\s youth is promoting", he underlined.

    The President of New Democracy asked for the immediate reactivation of the UN and the restoration of its prestige, pointing out that the policy for the unification of Europe and mainly the creation of a powerful Foreign and Security and Defense Policy, m ust progress more rapidly.

    Mr. Karamanlis referred to the university student elections on Wednesday, and expressed his certainty that DAP NDFK will be the major power and that the victory of the student party aligned with the Opposition, will usher in the result of the national el ections.

  • [09] WITNESS RECOGNIZES S. AND CH. XEROS AS PERPS IN SEPOLIA CLASH Christodoulos and Savvas Xeros were recognized by witness Christos Kadas during his testimony today, in the continuation of the proceedings of the 17N trial.

    As he supported, the two brothers participated in the organization's specific attack, while he stated that he is absolutely sure of his testimony.

    According to the eyewitness, Christodoulos Xeros was one of the perpetrators that Mr. Kadas himself immobilized in Sepolia. The witness was in the area as a member of the crew in one of the police cars, and he supported that Christodoulos Xeros did not t urn his face towards the wall, thus he easily saw him with the help of a flashlight.

    The witness also recognized Savvas Xeros as the man who exited the van and began firing at the police. "They were functioning as a team and wanted to get us out of the way to steal our patrol car", supported the witness.

    According to Mr. Kadas' statements, he was then injured in the clash, while as soon as another police car turned up at the scene, the defendants threw a grenade.

    Meanwhile, Sotiris Condylis who is also accused of participating in this crime, admitted his participation in the 1991 clash in Sepolia.

    Sotiris Condylis, Savvas Xeros, Christodoulos Xeros, and Dimitris Koufontinas are all accused of involvement in the attack on the police.

  • [10] NO SOLUTION OUTSIDE UN The framework of the UN and the EU promotes the application of International Law in Cyprus, stated Prime Minister Costas Simitis, while rejecting the Turkish proposal for a solution in the framework of improving the atmosphere between the two communities , a few hours before his meeting with his Turkish counterpart in the margin of the inter-Balkan Summit Meeting in Belgrade.
  • [11] CHRISTODOULAKIS: GREEK ECONOMY STANDING FIRM His belief that better weather, but mainly the drop in oil prices being recorded internationally, will significantly decrease inflation within the next few months, was expressed by Minister of Finance Nikos Christodoulakis.

    "Inflation is a front on which we are waging a constant battle", pointed out Mr. Christodoulakis, in exiting the Maximos Mansion, after an hour and a half long meeting with the Prime Minister C. Simitis and the Governor of the Bank of Greece, Nikolaos Ga rganas.

    The Greek Economy, according to Mr. Christodoulakis' reassurance, is standing firmly against new developments around the Iraq issue and underlined that it is ready to reactivate itself in those sectors that dropped lately, due to extended uncertainty and

    the war.

    In that framework, the Minister of Economy and Finance expressed the appreciation that under the condition that the war in Iraq ends soon, Greek tourism can put up a fight and reclaim its losses.

    He also expressed the belief that with an intense effort, and with a lot of care, the goal of development set for 2003 can be pursued with complete consequence.

    On developments concerning the war in Iraq, the Minister of Economy and Finance stressed that "these days, the possibilities of stopping the war in the Gulf are increasing, and are thus limiting the number of casualties noted in Iraq's civilian populatio n, as well as the more general uncertainties that have submerged the international public opinion and which have been striking at several economies, over the past few weeks".

    He pointed out that participants in the meeting included the Director of the Prime Minister's Financial Bureau, Professor Gikas Chardouvelis, and that during the meeting, various issues concerning the results of the Meeting of EU Ministers of Finance, es pecially concerning the issues on the development of the Presidency of the European Central Bank, were discussed, as were the growth prospects outlined for the Eurozone.

  • [12] INFLATION DROPPED TO 4.1% IN MARCH Inflation dropped to 4.1% in the month of March compared to 4.3% in February, according to the Greek National Statistics Agency.

    The fact that the de-escalation of inflationary pressures was only slightly limited is due to the increased prices of fresh fruits and vegetables. A more notable decline was recorded in harmonized inflation which dropped to 3.9% from 4.2%.

  • [13] GREEK GOV'T INITIATIVE FOR THE PROTECTION OF JOURNALISTS IN BAGHDAD The Greek political leadership reacted strongly to the attack on Palestine Hotel in Baghdad and other journalist targets.

    Greek Minister of Press and government spokesman Christos Protopapas condemned the attack and announced that Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou and EU CFSP High Representative Javier Solana will make a joint protest to the United States calling fo r the protection of journalists. Based on the communication made so far, the US side appears to want the protection of journalists working as war correspondents.

    Mr. Protopapas condemned such acts targeting the people of the press and placed the Greek government in the service of the Greek journalists in the region in order to undertake an initiative for their protection.

    Referring to the EU Summit meeting that will take place in Athens next week, Mr. Protopapas stated that the government regards that day as a day of celebration and for this reason it has decided to declare it a holiday for the Greek capital.

    Meanwhile, the attacks targeting journalists were condemned by right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy spokesman Thodoris Rousopoulos. Coalition of the Left President Nikos Konstantopoulos pointed out that the goal is the murder of truth, the i mposition of a silence of a cemetery, and the censorship on those who insist on keeping the public opinion informed.

  • [14] PAPANTONIOU: NEED FOR MEANINGFUL UN PARTICIPATION IN POST-WAR IRAQ The need for meaningful UN participation in the process aimed at forming a government in post-war Iraq, was stressed by Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.

    Mr. Papantoniou stated characteristically that the Prime Minister and the Greek government have already stressed that there should be a meaningful UN participation in order for the new government that will be formed in Iraq to be respected and acceptable

    by the Iraqi people and the neighboring states.

    The end of the war, underlined Mr. Papantoniou, will be a very positive development for the people of Iraq, for security in the region and global economy.

  • [15] COOPERATION PROTOCOL FOR THE GREEK-AUSTRIAN NATURAL GAS PIPELINE A protocol of cooperation sealing the decision for the study and construction of a Greek-Austrian natural gas pipeline was signed in Thessaloniki today by the representatives of companies and organizations involved in the project.

    The protocol is signed by the Greek Public Gas Company (DEPA), the Turkish BOTAS company and the involved Balkan companies, while the process got underway at the initiative of Greek Minister of Development Akis Tsochatzopoulos.

    The protocol also has the signatures of BH-GAS (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Mak Petrol (FYROM), NIS-GAS (Serbia) and Albania's Industry and Energy Ministry. Croatia's PlinAcro and Geoplin of Slovenia also agreed on the signing of the protocol with written messa ges as their representatives were unable to attend the ceremony due to bad weather.

    This way the road is now clear for the construction of the so-called, gas Balkan road, which will begin from Thessaloniki and will pass through western Balkan countries before ending up to Austria. Specifically, the pipeline which is an extension of the one linking Greece with Turkey, will pass through FYROM, Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia.

  • [16] HITIRIS ON CYPRUS "The attack launched by Mr. Denktash is a confirmation of the report submitted by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and its contents", stated Greek Undersecretary of Press and Mass Media Tilemachos Hitiris. The statement was made by Mr. Hitiris to comment on statements made earlier today by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash against the report in question.

    Mr. Hitiris underlined that the fact that among the countries included in the EU enlargement will be Cyprus plays a special role in the development of Cyprus, peace in the region, development and progress.

    He also expressed the belief that very soon Cyprus will be reunited namely, there will be a political solution to the problem.

  • [17] SIMITIS AND PAPANDREOU IN BELGRADE TOMORROW Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis and Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou will be in Belgrade tomorrow to attend the Conference on SE Europe. On the sidelines of the conference, Mr. Simitis will meet with his Turkish counterpart Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoga n.

    The statement was made by Greek Undersecretary of Press Tilemachos Hitiris, stressing that the position of Greece and the EU is known regarding the strengthening of democratic institutions in the Balkans for stability, development and cooperation. He add ed that the strengthening of the democratic institutions is accompanied by the European orientation of the Balkan states.

  • [18] LOSSES IN THE ASE Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today as a result of the negative picture presented by the major European stock markets.

    The general index dropped to -0.81% at 1.566,51 points, while the volume of transactions was at 85.7 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, 114 recorded gains and 195 had losses, while the value of 76 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [19] THE ATTACK ON PALESTINE HOTEL IS A BLOW ON INFORMATION The attack on Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, where the war correspondents from different countries stay, is a major blow on information, underlined in his statements Athens Journalists' Association President Panos Sobolos. He stated that the Americans, the Iraqis and the rest of the world knew that the heart of information beats in this specific hotel.

    He expressed regret for the deaths of the journalists and pointed out that he has communicated with all the Greek war correspondents. He said that all of them are well and will remain in Baghdad to cover the war operations.

  • [20] HITIRIS ON THE SIGNING OF THE EU ENLARGEMENT The timetable for the signing of the EU enlargement will not be affected even though no compromise solution has been reached on its economic side. Tomorrow, the European Parliament will discuss again the economic aspect of the EU enlargement. The Greek E U Presidency will be represented by Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Tasos Yiannitsis.

    The above were stressed by Undersecretary of Press Tilemachos Hitiris underlining the significance of the EU enlargement ceremony that will take place in Athens on April 16. He said that the Enlargement has a symbolic and a real significance, while it ha s a political dimension as well.

    He said that it determines the future of Europe, what will Europe be tomorrow and how strong and big a political entity Europe will be, stated Mr. Hitiris.

    Mr. Hitiris stated that the European Conference will be held on April 17 with the participation of the 15 EU member states, as well as the 10 new members and the 3 candidate states (Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey). Also, the following countries will be repres ented at Prime Ministers' and Foreign Ministers' level: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, the Western Balkan states (Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Albania, FYROM), Ukraine, Moldavia and Russia as an observer.

    Mr. Hitiris stated that Russia will be represented by Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

  • [21] THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE "NEW YORK TIMES" ARTICLE Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas rejected a "New York Times" article according to which, a phenomenon of anti-Americanism emerges in Greece. He said that no one wants to create a climate of anti-Americanism.

    The Minister of Press also stated that there is no conflict with the American people or the US state in general. He said that there is opposition to a specific choice namely, the choice of war. The choices that are being made create the problems. The pro blems are not created by themselves, stated Mr. Protopapas.

  • [22] PRESIDENT PRODI AND FOUR EU COMMISSIONERS IN ATHENS ON APRIL 16 European Commission President Romano Prodi, along with Commissioners for Enlargement Gunter Ferheugen, Regional Policy Michel Barnier, Justice and Home Affairs Antonio Vitorino and Employment and Social Affairs Anna Diamantopoulou, will arrive in Athens on April 15 to attend the proceedings of the European Council on April 16.

    On April 16, Mr. Prodi and Mr. Barnier will participate in discussions on the ''Future of Europe'' chaired by Convention President Valery Giscard d'Estaing.

    Moreover, Prodi, Ferheugen, Vitorino and Diamantopoulou, within the context of their capacity, will be present in the events for the signing of the Treaty for the EU accession of the ten new member states.

  • [23] THE BULGARIAN PRESIDENT SIGNED THE OLYMPIC TRUCE DECLARATION The personalities' declaration in support of Olympic Truce was signed today by Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov after the meeting he had with Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou, who is also the president of the EU Council of Ministers.

    Mr. Papandreou pointed out that Bulgaria is one of the countries that contributed together with Greece to the revival of the contemporary Olympic Games. He referred to the excellent Greek-Bulgarian relations, saying characteristically that the two countr ies cooperate closely for the European prospect of Bulgaria.

    On his part, the Bulgarian President stated that the peoples of southeastern Europe, a region with its own experience in war issues, can appreciate the value of peace and expressed the certainty that the idea of the Olympic Truce revival will enjoy total

    support in the specific region.

  • [24] CONFERENCE ON SPORTS, SOCIAL COHESION AND HANDICAPPED PEOPLE IN THESSALONIKI ON APRIL 11-12 The year 2003, is the European Year for the Handicapped People. On this occasion, as well as on the occasion of the Greek EU Presidency, the Greek Culture Ministry and its General Secretariat for Sports organise a two-day conference on "Sports and social

    and social cohesion - Sport for handicapped people - The challenge of the Paralympic Games."

    The conference that will take place on April 11-12, aims to highlight the great challenge of the Paralympic Games, since for the first time in Olympic History, Paralympics are handled as an equally important athletic event.

    The cornerstone for the 2004 Games will be accessibility as a whole for the Greek society and this does not only include buildings and infrastructure but mainly it means accessibility in the hearts of the Greeks for their handicapped fellow citizens.

    It should be mentioned that based on the recent constitutional amendment, for the first time in the history of the Greek state, the right of the handicapped people to participate equally in the political, cultural, economic, social and professional life,

    has become the state's concern by law.

    The Greek Culture Ministry is pushing for a similar legal arrangement into the Council of Ministers as part of its agenda for the Greek EU Presidency in the first half of the year. If succeeded, member states will by law have the obligation to make every thing possible to assure that their handicapped citizens can have free access to all cultural and athletic activities throughout Europe.

    Hot issues that concern European handicapped citizens in relation to sports and their everyday lives will be thoroughly discussed during the two days of this conference on April 11-12.

    Specifically, three are the main issues to be analyzed in Thessaloniki's conference: - Volunteerism and the role of the sport NGOs - The development of Sports and Championship Competition, and - Social Cohesion and sports for the handicapped people.

  • [25] PAPANDREOU-GROSSMAN TELEPHONE COMMUNICATION ON THE ATTACKS TARGETING JOURNALISTS The EU concerns regarding the safety of journalists covering the war in Iraq, were conveyed by Greek Foreign Minister and EU Council of Ministers President Giorgos Papandreou to US assistant Secretary of State Mark Grossman in a telephone communication h e had with him after today's attacks targeting journalists in the war-zone.

    Mr. Papandreou stated that the US official assured him that he will brief the US staff to take under consideration those concerns and the necessary measures for the safety of journalists.

    Mr. Papandreou expressed the hope that through this action, the Greek EU Presidency has done everything it can for the safety of European and other journalists staying at Baghdad's Palestine and Sheraton Hotels.

    He expressed solidarity to all journalists in Baghdad, who have a very difficult work to do, and expressed his condolences to the families of the representatives of press who were killed while trying to inform the international public opinion on the even ts in Iraq.

    Mr. Papandreou also stated that the UN role in the region after the end of the war will be discussed in the EU General Affairs Council on Monday, stressing that this role will have to be substantial.

  • [26] PAPANDREOU-DEHAENE MEETING The crisis in Iraq and specifically, the issue of the humanitarian aid to be sent to the suffering Iraqi people and the reconstruction of the country after the end of the war operations, will be brought up for discussion to COREPER tomorrow by the Greek EU Presidency. The discussion on the UN role in post-war Iraq will be completed in the General Affairs Council meeting that will be held on Monday.

    The above were stated by Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou, who is also the EU Council of Ministers President, after the meeting he had in Athens today with European Conference Vice-President Jean-Luc Dehaene.

    They also discussed issues concerning the future of Europe, and Mr. Papandreou stated that views were exchanged on issues concerning EU institutions, the role of the European Union President, the proposal for the creation of the EU Foreign Minister post,

    the European Commission role and the common European defense.

  • [27] HITIRIS ON THE EU GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL The issue of the post-war Iraq will be discussed in the EU General Affairs Council to meet in Luxembourg on April 14. Also, among the issues for discussion will be the UN role and the fact that Iraq's territorial integrity will have to be preserved after

    the war.

    The above were stated by Greek Undersecretary of Press Tilemachos Hitiris reminding that among the March 20 Brussels Summit meeting conclusions was that the UN should play a central role in Iraq.

    The initiative for a strengthened cooperation undertaken by France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg, which will meet on April 29 on the common defense policy issue, will also be discussed in Luxembourg.

    Mr. Hitiris announced that the Greek EU Presidency is most likely to be represented in the meeting as an observer through Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou. The issue of the Common Defense Policy will also be discussed in the informal council meeting o f the EU Foreign Ministers to be held in Greece on May 4.

  • [28] SIMITIS MET WITH PARVANOV AND JANUKOVIC Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis had separate meetings in Athens today with Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov and Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Janukovic.

    Their talks focused on the day after the war in Iraq, the new economic conditions that are being created and Greece's relations with Bulgaria and Ukraine.

    Mr. Simitis discussed with the Bulgarian delegation issues concerning Bulgaria's EU accession course.

    The Bulgarian President visited the Presidential Building and Hellenic Republic President Kostis Stephanopoulos gave a formal dinner in his honor. Mr. Stephanopoulos accepted an invitation by his Bulgarian counterpart to visit the neighboring country.

  • [29] THE GREEK CULTURE MINISTER MET WITH THE PRIME MINISTER OF UKRAINE The Greek community in Ukraine, the 2004 Olympic Games and the Greek-Ukrainian cooperation in the sector of culture, were among the issues discussed in the meeting of Greek Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos with Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Janukov ic, who is on an informal visit to Greece.

    After the meeting, they underlined the dynamic role played by the Greek community in Ukraine in the strengthening of bilateral relations and the need to strengthen cooperation in the sector of sports in view of the 2004 Olympic Games.

    Specifically, on the Greek community in Ukraine, Mr. Janukovic underlined that about 200.000 Greeks live in Ukraine and the Greek civilization is evident in Ukraine's education and culture. About 1.000 people are being taught Greek in the Mariupolis Inst itute, while the Greek national holidays are being celebrated in Ukraine.

  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [30] INFORMATION LOSSES One Spanish journalist was killed and five more were injured, two of which are in serious condition, when the "Palestine" hotel, where the journalists were staying, was struck, because there were snipers on the roof, as US authorities announced. Among th e targets was the Reuters news agency's offices. Earlier, the offices of the Arab television channel Al Jazeira had also been bombed, resulting in the lethal injury of one cameraman. There are no snipers, transmitted NET correspondent P. Charitos, who is staying in the same hotel.
  • [31] BOMBING THE PRESS A British official attributed the bombing of the Palestine hotel, the primary host of foreign journalists covering the Iraq war, during which there was an unknown number of victims, was due to an error. Earlier, the offices of the Arab television channel

    Al Jazeira had also been bombed, resulting in the lethal injury of one cameraman. Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou stated that the exit of any Greeks wishing to leave will be secured. '


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