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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-04-17

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, April 17, 2003








  • [01] A TIME OF ANTICIPATIONS A new period began for the European Union in Athens yesterday, with the signing of the treaty for the accession of 10 new members to the Union, marking the creation of the Europe of 455 million citizens. The main trend is to strengthen the joint expressi on of the Union. The Prime Minister spoke of the Europe of the citizens, being the first to sign the treaty. The President of the Republic spoke of a new era of great expectations.
  • [02] EUROPEAN COHESION The European Convention is being held in Athens today, with the participation of 41 state leaders of EU and non-EU members, at which almost the entirety of the continent's countries will express their positions on major issues concerning Europe and its f uture.
  • [03] COMMITMENT FOR A SOLUTION EVEN AFTER ACCESSION His commitment that he will continue efforts to resolve the political problem in Cyprus was repeated by the President of the Cypriot Republic, Tassos Papadopoulos, during his speech before signing for the accession of Cyprus to the EU. The only reaction from Turkey was a non-recognition of the accession. Turkish Cypriots will use Turkish passports.
  • [04] EUROPEAN CONFERENCE IN ATHENS TODAY EU relations to third countries will be discussed at the European Conference beginning in the Zappeion Megaro today, with the participation of 41 heads of EU member-states, countries on the boarders of the EU and Russia, which will be represented by Fore ign Minister Igor Ivanof. Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan will also attend the Conference.

    After the end of the works, the President of the EU, Prime Minister Costas Simitis, will hold a press conference and the heads of state will then plant olive trees, symbolizing peace and the Olympic Truce.

    This afternoon, Mr. Simitis will meet with Mr. Annan, and they are expected to discuss EU positions on the "next day" in Iraq, and the role the UN should have. It should be noted that Mr. Annan will have meetings with heads of European States participati ng in the UN Security Council (France, Germany, Britain, Spain) and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanof. Athens Declaration

    Yesterday, the EU heads of state agreed on a document of common principles - the Athens Declaration - in which they pointed out the historic nature of the Meeting and stressed the obligations and the common will of the 15 and the new member-states to dea l with the problems of Europe.

    The Athens Declaration also mentioned that "Europe is a Europe for all". The Declaration repeated the commitment of the EU to the prevention of conflicts, the promotion of justice, the strengthening of global stability, the fight against international te rrorism, and the retraction of weapons of mass destruction.

    "The Union pledges its support to the United Nations and its efforts to assure international legitimacy and global responsibility."

    Meanwhile, the European Parliament is in favor of adopting an institution for a permanent President of the European Council, under the condition that his role will only be coordinative, and that he will not hold extensive and additional authorities with in the EU, as well as in its representation abroad.

    But as far as the creation of a "European Foreign Minister" is concerned, the European Parliament is in favor of an amalgamation of the positions of the High Representative of the Council on Joint Foreign and Defense Policy and the relevant Commissioner of Foreign Affairs of the EU.

    On the issue of a common Defense and Security system, it mentioned that all paths are acceptable, on the condition that they do not bar the prospect of European integration for all. The President of the European Parliament, Mr. Pat Cox, also stressed tha t the President of the Commission should be elected by the European Parliament, and that the Commissioners be approved by him. Agreement on observing the deadline for European Constitution

    During its informal meeting in Athens on the progress of the works of the European Convention with the body's President, Valery Giscard D'Estaing, the members of the European Council agreed on the need to observe the present schedule, so that the plan on

    the new European Constitution can be presented at the regular European Council meeting to be held on June 20 in Thessaloniki.

    In a briefing on the discussions yesterday, on the five major issues concerning the reform of the EU's institutions, the President of the European Council, Costas Simitis, stressed that on certain issues, such as the need to strengthen the role of the Eu ropean Commission and continue the Communal Model for European integration, there was broad consent.

    Mr. Simitis also recognized that certain other issues such as those concerning the Presidency of the European Council, views were contradictory. Security relaxing in Athens

    Police measures concerning the prohibition of traffic on streets for the security of the Informal Summit will relax today.

    Specifically, adjustments were made to the time the prohibition will be in place. Instead of being coming into effect at 06:00, it was put into effect at 07:00, and will end at 16:00 instead of 15:00 as planned. At the same time, small parts of Syggrou A venue and the seafront boulevard will be open to traffic, in order to facilitate the area's residents. However, lifting the prohibitions depends on the where the officials will travel to and mainly on the time they will all be in the Zappeion Megaro.

  • [05] EU PRESIDENCY'S STATEMENT ON IRAQ The Greek Presidency of the European Union issued a statement dealing with the role of the EU and the UN on the reconstruction of Iraq in the post war period. The statement was as follows:

    The European Union welcomes the presence of the United Nations Secretary-General and the opportunity to discuss with him the next step on Iraq.

    At this stage the coalition has the responsibility to ensure a secure environment, including for the provision o humanitarian assistance and the protection of the cultural heritage and museums.

    The people of Iraq now have the chance to shape a new future for their country and to rejoin the International Community.

    The International Community has a major contribution to make in that process, in particular:

    The UN must play a central role including in the process leading towards self-government for the Iraqi people, utilizing its unique capacity and experience in post-conflict nation building.

    Iraq's neighbours should support stability in Iraq and the region The EU reaffirms its commitment to play a significant role in the political and economic reconstruction of the country

    The EU welcomes the participation of the International Financial Institutions as set out in the recent statement by the G7 at the World Bank meeting in Washington.

    The EU welcomes the appointment by the UN Secretary-General of a special adviser on Iraq and looks forward to a further strengthening of the UN's involvement in post-conflict Iraq, initially in the coordination of the humanitarian assistance.

    As part of the process of regional security and stability the EU reaffirms its commitment to bring the Israeli/Palestinian peace process to a successful conclusion through the implementation of the steps foreseen in the Quartet's Roadmap, keeping within the established time lines.

    It is essential that there is an early endorsement by Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Legislative Council of a Cabinet, nominated by Abu Mazen and committed to reform.

  • [06] 70 TURKISH AIRCRAFT VIOLATIONS YESTERDAY Seventy violations of Greece's national airspace were carried out in the area south of Chios and Rhodes, by Turkish fighter jets.

    Specifically, 13 formations - 28 Turkish aircrafts - moved to an equal number of air traffic violations in the Athens FIR, which developed into 70 violations of national airspace in the areas south of Chios and Rhodes.

    In all cases, the Turkish aircraft were identified and intercepted by Greek fighters, while there were 11 cases where the interception turned into dogfights.

  • [07] GIANNIS LATSIS DIED Ship owner Giannis Latsis, one of the richest men in the world, died early this morning at the age of 93.

    Giannis Latsis began his business activity in the 30's. By the 50's and 60's he had created a powerful fleet. Apart from shipping, he was also involved in oil and founded the Petrola oil refinery, while he had very intense bank activity.

    In Greece, the Latsis family businesses include the Eurobank banking group, the Petrola refinery and other activities.

  • [08] FINDINGS ON TEMBI ACCIDENT TO BE TURNED IN The findings of the specialists' committee investigating the Tembi accident, that cost the life of 21 students returning from a field trip, will be turned in to the Larissa DA's office within the next few days.

    The members of the committee checked what was left of the bus (which was taken to the Bugas military camp in Larissa) and the truck thoroughly, while from weighing the truck, they found that it was 5 tons heavier than the maximum allowable limit.

    The investigations also brought to light that the truck's trailer was not insured. According to a spokesperson of the company with which the truck was insured, the company will respond and submit all damages foreseen by the insurance policy.

    He specified that the truck was insured for 500,000 euro for bodily harm and 100,000 euro for material damages.

    Meanwhile, the unfortunate parents who lost their children in the crash and the students who were injured, are under the constant guidance of the Center for Psychological Support.

  • [09] SPECIAL EXAMINER IN CORYDALLOS ON ELA CASE Special Examiner Leonidas Zervobeakos is expected to go to the Corydallos Penitentiary this afternoon, in order to receive the statement of Christos Tsigaridas, a suspected member of the ELA terrorist organization.

    Christos Tsigaridas, who has taken the responsibility of ELA's political actions until 1991, will allegedly give a spoken testimony to Mr. Zervobeakos.

    The two other suspects in the case, Aggelatos Kanas and Irene Athanasaki, asked for another extension, which they received, and they will testify on Great Tuesday.

  • [10] TURKEY'S ESTABLISHMENT DRAGGING IT AWAY FROM ACCESSION "The Turkish government must overcome the political and diplomatic establishment and see the new prospects", stated Minister of National Defense Giannos Papantoniou, in speaking to NET state television. Mr. Papantoniou stressed that as long as this estab lishment controls the Erdogan government, Turkey will be drawn away from its accessional prospects to the EU, and that is a clear message that has been sent to Ankara, and which Ankara must receive.

    Regarding the role the EU asked for the UN in post war Iraq and the possible reaction of the US, Mr. Papantoniou pointed out that Europe has made a realistic proposal to the US and that it will find a response. "The US would not accept a radical solution

    for the administration of Iraq by the UN, but they could discuss a compromise which will preserve the UN's role in resolving the situation in post war Iraq", said Mr. Papantoniou.

    The Minister of Defense also referred to Greece's role on the international stage and especially in the procedures for the reconstruction of Iraq, underlining: "We are now a much more powerful country and can play an important role. We can contend and pl ay a role in humanitarian operations. Through that role Greek companies will be able to participate in the reconstruction settling old debts Iraq has towards private companies and the Greek public sector".

  • [11] UN TERMS ON IRAQ-AGREEMENT TO LIFT EMBARGO Prime Minister Costas Simitis supported the EU's agreement with lifting the embargo in Iraq, which was requested by US President Bush, while UN Secretary General Kofi Annan made it clear that the UN will not play the part requested by the EU in its decla ration, if Iraq is under occupation. The EU pointed out that it is the responsibility of the US and Britain to create a safe environment for humanitarian aid, and confirmed its dedication to resolving the Middle Eastern issue with the founding of a Palest inian state.
  • [12] SIMEON AND BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER INTERVIEWS WITH MPA "How can you doubt it?", was the answer of Bulgarian Prime Minister Simeon Saxburg-Gotha, to the question of the Macedonian Press Agency on whether Bulgaria will be incorporated as an equal member to the EU in 2007.

    In the margin of the European Conference in Athens, Mr. Saxburg-Gotha noted: "We want a functional Europe which we see is there, and that makes us very happy. As far as we, Bulgaria, are concerned, that is very encouraging."

    "It is absolutely certain that Bulgaria will be incorporated to the European Union in 2007", reassured Foreign Minister Solomon Pasi, in statements to the Macedonian Press Agency. "January 1, 2007, is the date on which, if all goes as planned, that Bulga ria becomes a member of the European Union", stressed Mr. Pasi.

  • [13] DIAMANTOPOULOU SPEAKS TO MPA.GR Turkey's failure to accept the incorporation of Cyprus to the EU, was another error as far as its own future is concerned, supported Greek Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, in statements to, while she pointed out that the most important elemen t yesterday, was the opportunity for the European leaders to repeat their commitment to the need of a united Europe, while she expressed her optimism on dealing with the problems of the "next day".

    "Yesterday's most important characteristic was the commitment to the need of unity in Europe both as an economic and a political entity, seeing as the opposite cannot lead any country anywhere in globalization", said Mrs. Diamantopoulou, who mentioned th e speech of British Prime Minister Tony Blair as a characteristic example.

    Mrs. Diamantopoulou supported that there is a different political - philosophical approach of the member-states to the unification of Europe, as there are also varying political directions and interests, however that makes the creation of an institutiona l framework setting a common EU position, imperative. "At the moment that institutional framework does not exist. The member-states never showed the political will for a common policy - all countries did not agree, neither did Greece. When we talk about f oreign policy we do not mean some distant events in Iraq, we mean events related to our boarders", she said.

    As far as the Turkish reaction is concerned, she appreciated that it is unimportant to the EU and the enlargement procedure, however it is important for Turkey itself, since the Commission must evaluate Turkey in 2004. "How can a country be evaluated whe n it does not accept the legal decisions and the legal framework of Europe, rather interprets them in its own way?", asked the Commissioner, who added that this is just "one more error as far as its own future is concerned".

    Finally, Mrs. Diamantopoulou pointed out that the EU's financial support towards new members, strict organization, time schedules and commitments, will not allow for a negative development in things, despite any problems that may arise. "There have been significant changes in the new members' political systems. All these countries are democracies, but the structures, the administrations, the organizations, and the staff training, need tremendous investment in funds and there is constant support for conve rgence".

    As far as community funds are concerned, she mentioned that they will be based on the evaluation of each region, while she ruled out the danger of interrupting Greece's financial support, which, however, will not be the same as in the past.

  • [14] SIMITIS APPEAL FOR OLYMPIC TRUCE With references to the symbolism of the Olympic Truce and the decent of the idea from the city of Olympia three thousand years ago, Prime Minister Costas Simitis called the leaders of the European Union to each plant an olive tree with him, indicating th e wish of the Union to work for the securing of peace and cooperation.

    After the end of the works of the European Conference at the Zappeion Megaro, and shortly before the family photograph of the European leaders, the Prime Minister and President of the European Union, Costas Simitis, spoke about the Olympic Truce, drawing

    on the 2004 Olympics to be held in Athens.

    "Three thousand years ago, the Olympics were born in Olympia. The Greek cities decided to stop the wars between them, have a truce, and organize the Olympic Games as an offering to the Gods. This was the beginning of the Olympic Truce. The United Nations , the International Olympic Committee and Greece, which is hosting the Games, are appealing for the ideal of the Olympic Truce", said the Prime Minister. As he stress, once again, the message is symbolic, and aims at exploring all ways to encourage the pe ace movement and cooperation between different countries, during the Olympics.

    "Today, an olive tree is being planted in every one of our countries in an area named Goudi and where, in the past, there were barracks. This is the way we want to create a garden of peace", said the Prime Minister and wished that this garden grows and r eminds us that we must work and make an effort to secure peace and cooperation.

  • [15] EUROPEAN AIRLIFT FOR THE CHILDREN OF IRAQ An airlift for the injured Iraqi children that need to be taken care of in European hospitals will be activated after a European Commission proposal. The above were stated by European Commission President Romano Prodi in a press conference in Athens afte r the European Conference.

    Mr. Prodi pointed out that 20 of the 100 million euros offered by the European Commission, as an immediate aid for Iraq through international organizations such as UNESCO, Red Cross, etc., have already been used.

    On the Athens Conference, Mr. Prodi stated that the future strategy is clear and decades of hard work lay ahead. He reminded that the EU is not made up of 15 members anymore as since yesterday 10 new members have been added. He also said that three more candidate states (Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey) are waiting to become EU members and other Balkan countries will follow.

  • [16] SIMITIS, PRODI, PAPANDREOU ON IRAQ AND EUROPE Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Kostas Simitis characterized as very positive step everything that happened in the European Conference in Athens and added that the declaration approved determines what can be done to strengthen coopera tion, peace, prosperity and development in Europe.

    In a press conference after the European Conference in Zappion Building in Athens, a journalist asked Mr. Simitis why in the Greek EU Presidency statement on Iraq the military forces of the United States and Britain are being described with the term "all iance" and not as "occupation forces", given the fact that they have entered Iraq without the permission of the United Nations. The EU President responded that there are different ways in which the issue is approached within the EU and that is why a compr omise was sought to find a term acceptable by all.

    Responding to a question on the US President proposal to lift the embargo on Iraq, Mr. Simitis said that it is self-evident that the embargo has to be lifted for normality to return to the country and lead to the self-government of Iraq.

    On the absence of the Turkish Foreign Minister from the Accession Treaty signing ceremony for the ten new EU members, he said that Turkey was not absent as its ambassador was present in the ceremony and the Turkish Foreign Minister arrived in Athens yest erday afternoon and attended today's Conference.

    European Commission President Romano Prodi stated that the European Commission proposal for an airlift to bring injured children from Iraq to neighboring countries and Europe was approved.

    He said that the EU has no egoistic attitude leading to the exclusion of other countries, adding that it wants to be further enlarged with the three candidate states while specifically on the Balkans, he said that they are Europe.

    Greek Foreign Minister and European Council of Ministers President Giorgos Papandreou observed that the presence of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in Athens underlines the importance attributed by the EU to the UN role in the post-war Iraq.

    He pointed out that based on the Greek EU Presidency statement on Iraq, the US and Britain are responsible to secure the access of humanitarian aid to Iraq and the protection of the cultural heritage and museums. Specifically on the protection of the cul tural treasures, the Greek EU Presidency will undertake initiatives in cooperation with UNESCO.

    He said that there can be no reconstruction of Iraq without the participation and consensus of the Iraqi people.

    On the Middle East issue, he welcomed the appointment of the Palestinian Prime Minister and pointed out that sooner or later the Palestinian government will be formed.

  • [17] GROUP OF THE 12 EUROPEAN PERSONALITIES MEETS TOMORROW The Group of the Twelve European Personalities meets in the Athens City Hall tomorrow. European Commission President Romano Prodi has called on the group members to present to him a long-range plan for the Society of Europe.

    Mayor of Athens Dora Bakoyianni will participate in the working group. Its first meeting took place in Brussels last January. The meeting is chaired by former Finance Minister of France Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the committee is made up of former "Bundesbank" Chairman Hans Tietmeyer, author and Nobel Prize laureate Jose Saramago, former BP Chairman Lord Simon, former Managing D irector of Dell Isabel Aguilera, former Environment Minister of Belgium Magda Aelvoet, economist and Bocconi University in Italy professor Tito Boeri, historian and former Foreign Minister of Poland Bronislaw Geremek, unionist and former general secretary

    of the Workers' Federation in France Nicole Notat, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Slovenia Alojz Peterle and medical doctor-director of Natural Step Karl-Henrik Robert.

    Based on the meeting's agenda, the first issue for discussion will be world order, while other issues will be "The general political vision, Democracy, identity and values" and "The vision of development for Europe".

  • [18] GAINS IN THE ASE Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.65% at 1.655,05 points, while the volume of transactions was satisfactory at 89.8 million euros.

    The gains recorded were the result of investments made in the sector of telecommunications in combination with the improvement of the climate in the major European stock markets.

    Of the stocks trading today, 100 recorded gains and 221 had losses, while the value of 54 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [19] TRAJKOVSKI: THE THESSALONIKI SUMMIT MEETING IS IMPORTANT FOR THE EU ACCESSION OF THE BALKAN STATES The hope that the Thessaloniki Summit Meeting will be a decisive step for the EU accession of the southeastern European states was expressed by FYROM President Boris Trajkovski speaking in the European Conference in Athens.

    He said that "I hope that today's historic summit in Athens will be followed by a another historic summit -again in Greece- in Thessaloniki in June in which will outline how we can share the European dream of peaceful integration, freedom of movement, ec onomic and social cohesion and balanced economic development".

    Mr. Trajkovski congratulated the 10 new EU members for over a decade of hard work that was crowned with success.

    He added that "we -the politicians of southeastern Europe- are as committed to work for the same goal. And we hope that the -by then enlarged- European Union will welcome us with the same openness and will show the same practical boldness that we celebra te in Athens today".

    He stressed that last year was a year of stabilization for his country where the rule of law and order has been re-established.

    He stressed that the FYROM authorities are determined to implement the Ochric Agreement which is the basis for peace and stability in the country.

    Mr. Trajkovski made a special reference to the fact that the first EU military mission is deployed in FYROM and thanked all the NATO member states for the peacekeeping forces sent by the alliance in the past.

  • [20] ANNAN: POLITICAL WILL IS NECESSARY FOR THE SETTLEMENT OF THE CYPRUS ISSUE The hope that the enlarged Europe will contribute decisively to the global progress and stability, was expressed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan speaking in the European Conference that was held in Athens today, a day after the Accession Treaty signin g ceremony for the ten new EU member states.

    Mr. Annan expressed disappointment over the fact that Cyprus enters the EU divided and reiterated that the plan for the solution of the Cyprus problem is fair and balanced and could constitute the basis for the settlement of the issue. "A unique opportun ity was missed. But I do not doubt that there will eventually be a settlement. All that is lacking is the necessary political will", said Mr. Annan.

    He said that "the contribution of the enlarged Europe will be badly needed because, in this new century, so many of the threats to our peace and security are global -from international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to the

    trafficking of small arms, from climate change to the emergence of new, deadly viruses. Any or all of these could come to threaten not just our stability, but our very survival. These issues are not new to the United Nations. But for many people they hav e taken on a new dimension, and been brought into a new and painful focus, since the events of September 11, 2001-even more so since the war in Iraq".

    On the European Union, he pointed out that it is a beacon of hope for peace and reconciliation, not only for Europe but for the whole world. He said that at a global level, it is to the United Nations that people look to provide a stable security framewo rk.

    On the crisis in the Middle East, he said that the United Nations work hard to materialize the vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, that will live peacefully side by side.

    On Iraq, he underlined that immediate action is necessary for order and security to prevail and the humanitarian aid to be distributed. He also said that the policy of the international community in Iraq should respect the sovereignty, political independ ence and territorial integrity of the country, the right of the Iraqi people to freely determine their own system of government and political leadership, and control their own natural resources. He also stated that there is a need to help the people of Ir aq as quickly as possible to establish conditions for normal life, and to put an end to Iraq's isolation.

  • [21] FATOS NANO ON THE EFFORTS OF ALBANIA TO BECOME AN EU MEMBER Prime Minister of Albania Fatos Nano congratulated the ten new EU member states speaking in the European Conference held in Athens today.

    Mr. Nano reiterated the importance the EU membership has for his country. He stressed that reforms were accelerated after the association agreement between the EU and Albania, a fact that can be ascertained by the EU.

    The Albanian Prime Minister referred to the efforts made to increase the level of security in the country, combat organized crime and the different forms of terrorism, while he underlined the need for coordinated efforts and inter-state cooperation towar d this direction.


  • [22] COLIN POWELL PRAISED THE GREEK EU PRESIDENCY US Secretary of State Colin Powell praised the Greek EU Presidency during a formal reception given in Washington on Wednesday evening by Greek ambassador to the US capital Giorgos Savaidis.

    According to the "Voice of America", the reception in Washington was given after the Accession Treaty signing ceremony in Athens.

    US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who represented the US President and the American people, praised the Greek EU Presidency for being so active in leading the EU in this historical phase of its enlargement.

    Mr. Powell reminded that when the decision for the EU enlargement was reached in Copenhagen, President Bush had characterized it as a bold historic step. Mr. Powell said that the ten new EU members prove the strength of the European institutions and Euro pe's great self-confidence. It also shows the important role the EU plays in the promotion of democracy and prosperity and as a factor of stability inside and outside the European borders.

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