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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-04-22

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, April 22, 2003





  • [01] NO COVER-UPS



  • [01] NO COVER-UPS Prime Minister Costas Simitis gave his categorical reassurance yesterday that no illegality will be covered up, while he attributed the press publications on Ministers' activities in the stock market, to a conflict of business interests. The Minister of Justice asked for the intervention of justice on the enlargement of the charges, in a letter he sent to the Supreme Court. The government referred to the letter, in response to an ND request for a pre agenda discussion in Parliament, and called all who ha ve evidence to turn it in.
  • [02] CASES IN 25 COUNTRIES, CONCERN EVERYWHERE The number of SARS victims have come to a total of 224 in 24 countries around the world. There have been no cases reported in Greece for the time being. The Minister of Health gave his reassurance that all measures to limit the chances of the virus enter ing Greece have been taken, while he appealed that travel to countries that have reported cases of SARS, be avoided.
  • [03] GARGANAS PRAISES AND RECOMMENDATIONS The Governor of the Bank of Greece, Nikolaos Garganas will present his annual report on Greece's economy at the regular general assembly of stockholders. According to information, the report will recognize the progress in the basic sectors of the Greek e conomy, which, however, must be further strengthened, with even more structural interventions on various fronts.
  • [04] THE MARKET AND THE EXODUS Market inspections are increasing in view of the holidays while at the same time measures to facilitate excursionists on their Easter trips are being increased. Hundreds of thousands of citizens are expected to take a holiday trip regardless of weather f orecasts that place the improvement of the weather on Sunday. The market is on a special time schedule, while KEPKA has issued warnings to meat consumers.
  • [05] GOVERNMENT DEDICATED TO PROTECTING LEGALITY The decision of the government to protect harmonious functioning and the country's course without compromises and based on legality, in the "bad atmosphere" formed by the accusations being made public, "concerning business interests implicating political

    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.

  • [06] JUSTICE TROIKA MEETING BEGAN THIS MORNING IN THESSALONIKI The first Ministerial meeting of the Troika for Justice and Internal Affairs and countries of the Balkans, organized in the framework of the Greek Presidency, began this morning at the "Macedonia Palace" hotel.

    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.

  • [07] TRAFFIC POLICE ON ALERT FOR "EXODUS" Traffic Police throughout the country is on alert in order to ensure the stable exit of excursionists from major urban centers due to the Easter vacations and May 1st. The main goal is to decrease the number of traffic accidents.

    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.

  • [08] KOUFONTINAS REMORSELESS Dimitris Koufontinas appeared remorseless as far as the crimes committed by 17N are concerned, and in answering the judge's related question, he did not hesitate to claim that "17N executed individuals responsible for crimes against the people and the co untry". At the same time, he attributed the lack of a warning prior to the attack on Mega TV's offices to a "short circuit", and simply wondered: "Do you really believe the organization wanted to kill journalists?"
  • [09] RESPONSE WITH A LAWSUIT Minister of the Press Ch. Protopapas announced that he would press charges against the publisher of the "Avriani" newspaper, G. Kouris, in response the newspaper's publication claiming that businessman N. Athanassoulis had financed his election campaign.

    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.

  • [10] A BUSY SCHEDULE FOR THE GREEK PRESIDENCY IN MAY The Greek EU presidency has a very busy schedule planned out for the month of May. In addition to the Ministers Councils and the informal ministers meetings, work groups and committees will also hold tens of meetings in the same month.

    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.

  • [11] PROTOPAPAS SUES KOURIS Minister of the Press and the Media Christos Protopapas will file a lawsuit against Giorgos Kouris, "Avriani" newspaper publisher, for an article published therein, claiming that businessman N. Athanasoulis financed Mr. Protopapas' election campaign.

    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.

  • [12] PAYING EACH OTHER DAMAGES PASOK Secretary Costas Laliotis and New Democracy Honorary President Constantinos Mitsotakis will be called to pay each other damages on the Mayo case.

    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".

  • [13] GREEK HUMANITARIAN AID TO BAGHDAD The first part of the Greek humanitarian aid to the people of Iraq will arrive by plane to Baghdad. Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou gave the order after all existing obstacles were overcome and briefed Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Andreas Loverdos.

    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.

  • [14] CEMIL CICEK: THE TERRORISM-ORGANIZED CRIME RELATION HAS NOT BEEN ADEQUATELY STRESSED The relation of organized crime with terrorism has not been adequately stressed, stated Turkish Justice Minister Cemil Cicek speaking to MPA on the sidelines of the first meeting of the EU Troika Justice and Internal Affairs Ministers with their counterp arts from western Balkan countries, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.

    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.

  • [15] GAINS IN THE ASE Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.49% at 1.641,09 points, while the volume of transactions was satisfactory at 75.1 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, 244 recorded gains compared to 65 that had losses, while 66 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [16] GREECE PROPOSED THE ADOPTION OF AN ORGANIZED CRIME MAP The School of Court Judges in Thessaloniki became a permanent seat for the continuous training of Balkan court judges on European Law and European Institutions' issues at the initiative of the Greek Ministry of Justice. Also, the Ministry of Public Order

    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.

  • [17] ANDREAS LOVERDOS' INTERVIEW WITH MPA.GR The Greek Plan for the Reconstruction of the Balkans is at the stage of full implementation and there is no reason for concern, assured Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Andreas Loverdos in an interview with MPA that was broadcast live on

    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.

  • [18] GIANNITSIS MET WITH BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICE MINISTER MACSHANE Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Tasos Yiannitsis and British Foreign Office Minister Denis MacShane, responsible for European Affairs, met in Athens and discussed issues concerning the Thessaloniki Summit meeting.

    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.


  • [19] C. SIMITIS: THERE WILL BE NO EARLY ELECTIONS The preparations for the Thessaloniki Summit, institutional reforms in the European Union, controlling the immigration wave towards Europe and the EU-US Summit, were the topics discussed in Helsinki today by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his Finnish Counterpart Anneli Jaattenmaki. In fact, a Finnish journalist asked Mr. Simitis when elections will be held in Greece. He answered that there will be no early elections, and repeated that they will take place as planned, in Spring 2004.

    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.

  • [20] FURTHER DISPROVAL OF EARLY ELECTIONS Elections will be held in spring 2004, stated Prime Minister Costas Simitis from Helsinki, where he held a meeting with Finnish Prime Minister Anneli Jaattenmaki in the framework of the preparations for the June Summit, in response to a Finnish journalis t's question, on whether there will be early elections in Greece.
  • [21] PROTOPAPAS' INTERVIEW WITH CUMHURIYET The need for the solution of the Cyprus problem based on the UN resolutions, is stressed by Greek Minister of Press and Mass Media and government spokesman Christos Protopapas in an interview with Turkish newspaper CUMHURIYET, clarifying that Ankara's ro ad to the EU passes through Cyprus.

    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.

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