|Friday, 3 December 2021|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-04-22
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, April 22, 2003
[A] NATIONAL NEWS
[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
[A] NATIONAL NEWS
persons", was declared by the Prime Minister from the "E. Venizelos" airport in Athens, during his departure yesterday afternoon, for his tour of European countries.
All the political persons have a personal course and responsibility and are judged daily regarding their morals and their behavior by all of us, stressed Mr. Simitis.
Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou placed himself against the penalization of political life and in favor of transparency, when asked about the accusations implicating PASOK officials with shady dealings.
"I think that in every case, transparency is the answer, and, of course, we must not penalize political life. If there is specific evidence implicating any politician, justice must of course take control, and justice is to be the one to judge", underline d Mr. Papandreou.
Regarding the same issue, Minister of the Interior Costas Scandalidis stressed that the stock market "is neither a blessing nor a curse". "I have traveled along the same path with common struggles as the officials being discussed. I consider them officia ls with a lot to offer to the party and its course, and because I am a "doubting Thomas", I will not believe anything that is not proven through legal procedures", he added.
Issues to be discussed during the meeting include the fight against organized crime in the region of Southeastern Europe, utilizing the progress and the efforts made by countries of the region, according to the commitments made at the London Convention o f November 25, 2002, and in view of the June 21, 2003, Summit in Thessaloniki. The Greek government is being represented by Ministers of Justice and Public Order, Philippos Petsalnikos and Michalis Chrysochoidis, while at 13:00, the participating minister s will make announcements.
Also, another main point of the Meeting concerns the issues of asylum and immigration, while special emphasis was placed on the search for effective boarder control, issues of visa issuing and judicial and police cooperation.
Emergency measures will be taken and will be in effect until May 4, in order to facilitate excursionists, while they will be in effect throughout the country's national and county road network. In main traffic hubs there will be patrol cars and traffic p olice officers in order to regulate traffic and keep speeds down.
There will also be 24-hour alcohol tests, and checks on speed and illegal overtaking, and other violations that are the main reasons for traffic accidents.
The traffic police points out, once again, that drivers should be especially careful, wear seatbelts in cars and helmets on motorcycles, and observe the driving code to thoroughly.
Prime Minister Costas Simitis had given his categorical assurance yesterday that there would be no cover up of any illegality, while attributing the publications on ministers' activities in the stock market to a conflict of business interests. The Minist er of Justice asked for the intervention of justice for enlargement of the charges, in a letter he sent to the Supreme Court DA.
The Foreign Ministers Council that will be held from 2 to 4 May on the Greek Aegean island of Kastelorizo will be followed by the Education and Culture Ministers Council on 5 and 6 May in Brussels, and the Justice and Internal Affairs Ministers Council o n 8 May also in Brussels.
The Competitiveness Council will be held on 12 and 13 May in Brussels, while the informal Agriculture Ministers Council will be held on the same dates on the Greek island of Corfu in the Ionian Sea. Two informal ministerial meetings have been scheduled f or 16 and 17 May, one for regional policy in the northern Greek peninsula of Halkidiki and a second on Shipping to be held ''at sea'' between the Greek Aegean islands of Santorini and Patmos.
The second Competitiveness Ministers Council will be held in Brussels on 19 May, while an informal Culture Ministers Council will assemble in the northern Greek capital of Thessaloniki on 24 May.
The EU's Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers will assemble in Brussels on 26 and 27 May, while the EU-Russia summit will take place in St. Petersburg on 31 May.
Mr. Protopapas characterized Mr. Kouris as a liar and a sycophant, stressing that it is not the first time that he has used such methods, and noted that he has a long sheet with 17 convictions. "He has attempted to mar dozens of PASOK officials at differ ent times of their political course", he stressed, adding: "I will not submit to Mr. Kouris' moral and political blackmail. That is clear and you must know it very well. And Mr. Kouris must understand this well. We know that Mr. Kouris will continue this mudslinging war. I do not care how long he drags it on".
On his own position, the Minister stated that he would reach the end of the line, characteristically stating: "I will go to the end because I owe it to PASOK, I owe it to the citizens who trust me, I owe it to my family". He also pointed out that he addr essed the Press today from his position as a minister and as an MP.
Specifically, the court trying the case ruled that Mr. Laliotis pay Mr. Mitsotakis approximately 300,000 euro for moral damages caused by slanderous claims last October, on laundering money belonging to the Mitsotakis family through the "Mayo" company.
At the same time, Mr. Mitsotakis was called to pay Mr. Laliotis the amount of approximately 59,000 euro for moral damages against Mr. Laliotis, due to the phrase used by the Honorary President, who stated that "Laliotis is the most despicable thing I hav e seen in political life".
The humanitarian aid had been collected days ago and pressure was exerted by the Greek government and the Greek EU Presidency to overcome the obstacles quickly for its safe transportation and distribution because the goods collected can become spoilt.
Mr. Cicek stated that the meeting, that takes place in Thessaloniki today, is a follow-up to last November's meeting in London on the prevention and combating of organized crime like, illegal trafficking of drugs, weapons, and people, inter-border crime as well as, the combating of corruption. He said that these issues are of vital importance for Turkey.
He stressed that he feels satisfied that today, even with a delay, certain of the crimes under discussion in the meeting, are being characterized as a threat against humanity. However, he underlined that certain of the acts which Turkey regards as crimes
are not seen the same way by certain European countries and instead of extraditing to Turkey those who are regarded as criminals by Turkey they offer them protection.
Mr. Cicek said that the relation between organized crime and terrorism has not been adequately stressed and there has been no close cooperation in this area. The Turkish Justice Minister added that when terrorism becomes a policy instrument it constitute s a threat for the stability of other countries and that's why a special attention should be paid to this issue.
Of the stocks trading today, 244 recorded gains compared to 65 that had losses, while 66 stocks remained unchanged.
is moving ahead with the drawing up of a map of procedures, that can be used to combat organized crime and illegal immigration, to be presented in Thessaloniki's EU Summit meeting in June.
The above were announced by Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos and Public Order Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis, within the framework of the first meeting of the EU Troika Justice and Internal Affairs Ministers with their counterparts from western Ba lkans, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.
The need to develop mutual cooperation between the EU and the Balkans on issues of freedom, security and justice, was stressed in the meeting. They examined the EU efforts for the promotion of regional cooperation on issues of justice and internal affair s in the Balkans as well as, measures against organized crime in the region of southeastern Europe.
Public Order Minister Michalis Chrisochoidis stated to reporters, on the sidelines of the meeting, that policies have been drawn up to deal with the problems of organized crime and illegal immigration. Also, a map of procedures will be drawn up, to be pr esented in Thessaloniki in June on the occasion of the EU Summit meeting.
Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos stated, on his part, that Greece has set the strengthening of the state of law institutions in the Balkan countries as a top priority given their prospect for accession into the European space of freedom, security a nd justice. He said that organized crime constitutes a serious threat for societies and it was agreed that the strengthening of judicial cooperation, especially in the Balkans, is necessary.
Mr. Loverdos referred to Greece's priorities in the development of Greek business activities in the wider Middle East region and to the draft law promoted by the government for the organizing of Economic and Trade Affairs offices in the Greek embassies.
He also referred to June's Summit meeting and the expectations of the Greek government.
On the Greek plan for the reconstruction of the Balkans, he said that 12 months after taking over the specific program, the proposals for productive investments in the Balkans, made by Greek companies, have already been evaluated. By May 27, the relevant
procedure will be completed for Albania and Bulgaria because only these two countries, of the 6 countries in the Balkan program, have ratified the agreements signed. The rest, even though interested in the program, have slow procedures for the ratificati on of the agreement reached with Greece, said the Undersecretary.
Mr. Loverdos also stated that the procedures for the appointment of a technical adviser (the most necessary tool for the program to move ahead) will be, most likely, completed before the end of May.
He said that Greece moves ahead with the materialization of a 550 million euro program by the year 2006 for the promotion of the development of the Balkan region.
Mr. Loverdos added that there are many plans for the reconstruction of Iraq as well as the Middle East, while there are also many plans for the economic cooperation with Persian Gulf countries.
On the expectations regarding the Thessaloniki EU Summit meeting, he said that he wishes to be a quiet one without violent incidents. He also said that he wants the Greek policy to move forward in the Balkans, which is a priority of the Greek EU Presiden cy, adding that he also wants the policy for Europe's security to proceed.
They exchanged views on the conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe. They also expressed interest in the need to send a strong message in support of the democratization efforts and the efforts against organized crime in the Balkans. Specifi cally, the two sides discussed the main issues of the EU policy toward the Balkan states.
[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Specifically, the Prime Minister stressed that he and Mrs. Jaattenmaki discussed changes in the institutional structure of the EU, so that the community can respond to its international obligations and the new reality of the 25 member-states. As he point ed out, following the Thessaloniki Summit the member-states will be given a 3-4 month period to discuss the changes in their national parliaments. As far as controlling the immigration wave is concerned, he stressed that the EU must support the countries whose boarders are most burdened, as they are also the outer boarders of the EU.
Finally, regarding the EU-US Summit in Washington this June, the Greek Prime Minister noted that its goal will be to discuss all issues that have been raised lately, such as the Iraq issue, dealing with international terrorism and controlling weapons of mass destruction.
Prime Minister Simitis will depart for Stockholm this afternoon.
Mr. Protopapas stated in the interview that Greece regards Turkey's EU accession as useful for everybody and underlined that the road to the EU membership will be affected by the policy Turkey will follow in the case of Cyprus.
Regarding the efforts for the solution of the Cyprus problem, Mr. Protopapas stated that they should move within the framework of the UN and added that proposals for a solution in Cyprus that are outside the UN are nothing more than a waste of time.
He also said that the UN Secretary General plan for the solution of the political problem in Cyprus constitutes the basis for talks that will lead to the settlement of the issue.
On the Greek-Turkish relations and Greece's expectations, he said that Greece wants to have a close cooperation with Turkey and when this is achieved bilateral relations will be developed further.
The Greek Minister of Press and Mass Media pointed out that certain progress has been made toward the solution of bilateral problems, through the meetings of the technical committees from Greece and Turkey and the regular contacts of the Undersecretaries
of Foreign Affairs of the two countries. He said that talks should continue between the two sides aimed at bringing the issue of the continental shelf to the International Court in The Hague clarifying that this was confirmed by the Prime Ministers of Gr eece and Turkey during their meeting in Belgrade.
Mr. Protopapas characterized as a positive development Turkey's decision to have no active participation in the war against Iraq, while referring to the priorities of the Greek EU Presidency he underlined the emphasis given to the adoption of a common fo reign and security policy.