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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-05-27

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, May 27, 2003








  • [01] SIMITIS CLEAR UP A first impression of his intentions for changes to be made after the completion of the Greek Presidency of the EU is expected from Prime Minister Costas Simitis today, in the joint meeting of the party's Central Committee and Parliamentary Group, in whi ch he will take a clear distance from the scandal mongering that has taken on epidemic proportions lately. President of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos will also speak at the Central Committee meeting. A political plan for reforms, initiatives and changes to u nify and mobilize PASOK, is being proposed by Minister of Development Akis Tsochatzopoulos.
  • [02] MEASURES FOR GREEK-TURKISH TRUST Corresponding visits of officials, visits of students from Armed Forces schools, and the installation of medical teleconference offices between two military hospitals, were announced by Greek and Turkish Foreign Ministers Giorgos Papandreou and Am. Gul, after their meeting in Heracleon. The issue of violations of Greek national airspace by Turkish fighters will be discussed by the political directors of the two Foreign Ministries.
  • [03] PROFIT DID NOT TURN INTO INVESTMENT Non-profitable businesses today, means closed businesses tomorrow and mass firing. But profit must lead to an increase in investments, employment and the increased protection of the environment, so that the groundworks for long-term viability are put int o place. "Unfortunately, this is not always the case", said Minister of Finance Nikos Christodoulakis, at the general assembly of the Association of Industries of Northern Greece (SVVE). The requirements for self-supplying development have not been secure d, stressed the President of SVVE, D. Simeonidis.
  • [04] TALK OF CATASTROPHE FOR PERSONAL GAINS The scare mongering cultivated by the Right is for its own political interests, said Prime Minister Costas Simitis, addressing the joint meeting of PASOK's Central Committee and Parliamentary Group, at which he made a first review of the EU Presidency, a nd stressed that the accession of Cyprus strengthens its security. Without the support of Greece we cannot achieve anything", said Cypriot President T. Papadopoulos in his greeting speech at the meeting. A political plan of reforms, initiatives and change s that will unify and mobilize PASOK, was proposed by Minister of Development Akis Tsochatzopoulos.
  • [05] PAPADOPOULOS GREETING AT PASOK MEETING The President of the Cypriot Republic Tassos Papadopoulos addressed a greeting at the joint meeting of PASOK's Central Committee and Parliamentary Group.

    Prime Minister Simitis and PASOK Central Committee Secretary General Costas Laliotis, arrived at the conference hall together and were applauded by the audience.

    Mr. Simitis introduced the President of the Cypriot Republic and noted that his presence has the meaning of Greece's support to the Cypriot people. "We are with you and that is why we want to hear you", he said addressing Mr. Papadopoulos.

    The President of the Cypriot Republic emotionally stated that the signing of Cyprus' accession to the EU is a historical landmark. It is the most historic moment since the independence, he said, that opens up new prospects.

    Regarding the efforts of previous governments in Cyprus, he noted that the road to Cyprus' accession had been paved by Greece, with the visions of Theodoros Pagalos and Giannis Kranidiotis, and underlined the decisive contribution of Costas Simitis.

    The people of Cyprus recognize contribution when they see it, and they showed it during the Greek Prime Minister's visit to Cyprus. Mr. Simitis may be the most popular politician in Cyprus, regardless of the citizens' political affiliation.

    Accession to the EU is a catalyst for the solution of the Cyprus issue, which is still a primary goal, he stressed and stated that he is ready to respond to a UN invitation to continue negotiations based on the Annan proposal.

    Commenting on the crack in the green division line, he stated that that is not a solution to the Cyprus issue, that it cannot be a solution, it is not even a step.

    Also favoring Turkish Cypriots by Cyprus' accession to the EU is not charity, but a correct political opinion.

  • [06] SIMITIS SPEECH AT PASOK CC-PG JOINT MEETING With the phrase "this is how I will continue", Prime Minister Costas Simitis made it clear to all sides that the government will firmly continue its policy and that PASOK will design a new 4-year term.

    During his speech at the joint meeting of PASOK's Parliamentary Group and Central Committee, Prime Minister Simitis presented the successes in the government's policies. He said that it is correct for them to deal with issues of the European Union, and p ointed out that whoever was ironic of or questioned the government's policy in various sectors, was proven wrong by the results themselves.

    He launched an attack against New Democracy and its President Constantinos Karamanlis. ND is the only Right party in Europe still riveted to the past, while of Costas Karamanlis he stated that he is afraid of saying the word, but uses Right and divisiona l language, while at the same time ND is hiding extreme Right elements in its midst, which it keeps active.

    He accused business interests interconnected to the conservative party of having launched an attack aiming at overthrowing the government. This attack was recorded with the scandal mongering and reached its peak on the day the EU accession treaty was sig ned.

    No matter how much ND wants to change the agenda of discussions by introducing issues of scandal mongering, he will not change the agenda, as that would undermine all that has been achieved over the last few years.

    Mr. Simitis characterized appreciations on an explosion in unemployment as unfounded, and said that political interests lay behind them.

    If we continue to work with a plan and systematically, growth will increase, both before and after the 2004 Olympics, he stressed.

    He recognized that there are certain problems and noted that the weakest strata are still government priorities, as is the new social state.

    After the end of the Greek Presidency, PASOK bodies will meet and will make decisions on planning the next 4 years, he said, while he stated that he will lead that mobilization, as well as the new social state.

  • [07] PAPANTONIOU WARNS TURKISH GENERALS Minister of National Defense Giannos Papantoniou warned "hothead" Turkish generals of the possibility of crises being caused by Ankara over the Aegean, which will cancel Turkey's European prospects for many years to come.

    In response to a journalist's question on the statements of the Head of Turkish Armed Forces yesterday, that they will fly their planes regardless of Greek positions and Greek airspace, Mr. Papantoniou responded:

    "It is obvious that we are dealing with increased provocation and aggression on the Turkish side in the Aegean. This is proven by the number of violations, as well as by the fact that they are carried out very aggressively, since Turkish aircrafts are ar med and there are many, dozens of dogfights with Greek Air Force aircrafts, defending Greek national airspace.

    I appreciate that it should not be the intention of the Turkish military establishment to cause a serious incident in the Aegean. I do not want to think of that, because that will definitely cancel Turkey's European course. It is obvious that if Turkey d ares such a thing it will cancel its European course for many years to come. But we must be vigilant because in such tense situations one cannot rule out accidents, misunderstandings, miscommunications and misinterpretations. Because many of these confron tations hold dangers. These dangers have been severely pointed out by the Greek government to Turkey - by myself to the Turkish Minister of Defense, and by the Foreign Minister to the Turkish Foreign Minister. We have not yet received an answer because it

    is obvious that there is a lack of correspondence between the political government and the military establishment in Turkey.

    In any case, we must remain calm and steady. We will not play this game of tension that Ankara wants to play. We will be steady in our positions with a high level of alertness and preparedness in order to respond to any eventuality. In any case, the Hels inki policy is a one way street for Greece. We still extend a hand of friendship and cooperation to Turkey, in hope that at some point Turkey will understand that this responds to its essential political interest.

    To questions on the possibility of a coup in Turkey, Mr. Papantoniou refused to make such a forecast, mentioning that he did not want to make any comment on Turkey's interior at the time.

    "Recently, the behavior of Turkey 's military leadership has to do with the competition with its political leadership. It is clear that it is trying, in its own way, to set limits to the way policies are promoted by the government", commented Minister o f Development Akis Tsochatzopoulos, on the position of Ankara's military leadership that Turkish fighters will continue to violate Greek airspace.

    "This is an interior Turkish matter", he said, and continued: "It is an old experience of Turkish military leadership, not to accept the division of the FIR that has been in effect since 1931. We have had tensions in the passed few decades. We of course must counterpoise the country's strategic position, which never left any space for doubt and questioning, on who is responsible for the Greek region. From there on, everything else needs dialogue and approximation. On a political level, the issues also co ncern the European Union, because it is now an issue of questioning sovereign rights in the Aegean, an EU area. And that will occupy EU bodies."

    To a question on whether there might be a coup in Turkey, he responded: "I do not think so, there is no such issue. It is an issue of political competition, which is taking place in the normal way for Turkey. Turkey has its peculiarities. We must know ho w Turkey's politics and army works, in order to deal with these issues".

  • [08] PAPANDREOU RESPONDS TO TURKISH GENERALS "My interlocutor is the Turkish Foreign Minister and not the country's military leadership", commented Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou, when asked to comment on the questioning, by Turkish generals, of Greek airspace as well as political leadership o f Ankara itself.

    "The European Union has stressed that the role of the army in Turkey cannot but be the same as in every other democratic country, to serve the democratically elected political leadership, not the other way around", said Mr. Papandreou, adding: "I do not answer directly to the military leadership because the Turkish Foreign Minister is my interlocutor, with whom we have regular contact."

  • [09] PAPANDREOU: RAY OF HOPE IN THE COURSE TOWARD PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST The ray of hope coming from the implementation of the "roadmap" and the course of the peace process in the Middle East, is a milestone in the interim Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation Foreign Ministers' Conference. The above were stressed by Greek Foreign M inister and EU Foreign Ministers' Council President Giorgos Papandreou during the press conference of the Greek EU Presidency on the occasion of the specific meeting.

    The "roadmap" helps to overcome inaction and follow the road to peace, stated Mr. Papandreou, stressing that there is a need for political will by all sides for its implementation.

    The meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Foreign Ministers that was completed in Crete today was characterized as important and constructive both for the EU and the Arab states.

    An assessment was made of the progress made so far and a discussion was held on future developments in view of the EU enlargement, said the Greek Foreign Minister.

    After enlargement, the EU will not display more introversion and no new walls will be built. Instead, new bridges are being constructed. As a community of values, the goal is to share our common values within a greater circle of friends, said Mr. Papandr eou.

  • [10] BALKAN FRIENDSHIP PARACHUTE DESCENT Paratroopers from Greece, Serbia, Turkey, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Belgium will participate in an event that will take place at the military airfield of Sedes, near Thessaloniki on May 30 and 31. The event named "Balkan Jump of Friendship 2003" is organized by the Greek Association of Reserve Officers under the auspices of Greek Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Yiannis Magriotis.

    In the event will participate over 100 paratroopers and it is a unique parachute descent due to the participation of paratroopers from many different countries.

  • [11] EU PRESIDENCY ON THE RELEASE OF JOURNALIST HAMIDI BY THE SYRIANS The EU Presidency welcomes the release by the Syrian authorities of the journalist I. Hamidi.

    This action was an overdue step in the right direction and demonstrates Syria's good intentions in respecting the freedom of expression and the principles governing a state of law.

    The EU Presidency further encourages the Syrian authorities to withdraw the criminal charges against I. Hamidi and to put an end to subsequent legal proceedings.

    We are convinced that, in so doing, the government of Syria exhibits its commitment to an irrevocable reform process in all spheres of the political life.

  • [12] MORE LOSSES IN THE ASE More losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.85% at 1.675,01 points, while the volume of transactions reached 89.1 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, 56 recorded gains and 274 had losses, while the value of 47 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [13] THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH ADDRESSED THE 5TH CONSULTATION BETWEEN JUDAISM AND ORTHODOXY Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew referred to the need to lift religious fanaticism and overcome religious controversy in the speech he delivered opening the proceedings of the 5th Consultation Between Judaism and Orthodoxy taking place in Thessaloniki.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch said that debates, like the one taking place, do not aim at religious conversion but their goal is to understand, in full scientific knowledge, the way the believer of another religion thinks and communicates. A fanatic is really

    a scared and insecure person and deep inside is not absolutely sure about the truth of his/her faith. On the contrary, those who are certain of their faith are peaceful, calm and friendly toward the others.

    On Judaism and Christianity, he pointed out that they are in a state of dialogue for 2.000 years.

  • [14] RAMCO AND HELLENIC PETROLEUM ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP FOR MONTENEGRO Joint plans for the exploration of their extensive acreage offshore Montenegro were announced today by RAMCO Energy plc (RAMCO), the Aberdeen based independent exploration and production company and HELLENIC PETROLEUM S.A. of Greece.

    RAMCO has been involved with the Ulcinj block in the Adriatic, since 1998 when through its Medusa subsidiary it entered into a contract with the Montenegrin State Oil Company, Jugopetrol Kotor (JPK). The original contract between RAMCO (51%) and JKP (49% ) led to the acquisition of new seismic data, in 2000 to supplement the extensive existing seismic and drilling data from earlier exploration activity. The interpretation of this data led to the identification of a number of potentially significant oil an d gas leads and was a key factor in HELLENIC PETROLEUM's decision to acquire an interest in JPK.

    HELLENIC PETROLEUM acquired a majority share of JPK following last year's privatisation process and their involvement comes at an important stage in the exploration process, as a substantial number of sizeable prospects are being risked and prioritised a nd a future work programme agreed. Under the original contract RAMCO was responsible for funding the exploration programme until a declaration of commerciality. In order to accelerate the exploration programme RAMCO has agreed to transfer an 11% interest in the contract to JPK for their share of past costs and JPK has agreed to fund its share of future costs after the first well has reached its target depth and a decision made to test.

    This years work programme includes the acquisition of around 200 sq km of 3D seismic over a shallow water area of high potential, thought to be gas bearing. This would be followed in 2004 with a well to test the structure. There is an option for a furthe r RAMCO funded exploration well if required.

    Stephen E. Remp RAMCO's Executive Chairman said "We are delighted that HELLENIC PETROLEUM is our new partner in Montenegro. Our own extensive technical studies supported by recent gas discoveries and developments in the region reinforce our positive view

    of the block. The involvement of HELLENIC PETROLEUM, a company with considerable technical expertise combined with the regional knowledge and experience of JPK will be a catalyst to accelerate the activity in this high potential acreage."

    Athanassios Karachalios, HELLENIC PETROLEUM's Managing Director and CEO, added "Our co-operation with RAMCO, a company with such calibre, indicates once more our continuous efforts to accelerate our involvement in the area of hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation. This, in addition to our participation in other similar projects, strengthens our confidence to meet the target of obtaining at least 80 million barrels of proven reserves by 2006."

    Both companies welcomed the statement of Montenegro's Minister of Economy Mr. Darko Uskokovic : "This project is very important for Montenegro. The government of Montenegro and the Ministry of Economy are committed to support the implementation of this project. If the results are positive, acceleration of progress of the state's economy is expected and this will foster joining of Montenegro in EU."

  • [15] KARAMANLIS-PAPADOPOULOS MEETING IN ATHENS The belied that we can look at the future, concerning the Cyprus issue, with greater optimism compared to the period before April 16, was expressed by right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis in statements he made after his meeting with Cypriot Republic President Tassos Papadopoulos.

    They discussed the developments in Cyprus after its accession into the EU and Mr. Karamanlis characterized the meeting as very useful. He stressed that after meeting the major national goal, namely Cyprus' accession into the EU, the policy already drawn up can be followed firmly and based on the preconditions set to be able to solve the political problem in Cyprus.

  • [16] ANDREW ATHENS ADDRESSED THE 5TH CONSULTATION BETWEEN JUDAISM AND ORTHODOXY World Council of Hellenes Abroad, SAE, President Andrew Athens pointed out the strong commitment of Orthodox Christians and Jews to Peace and Justice. He made the statement addressing the formal lunch he gave in honor of the participants in the 5th Consu ltation Between Judaism and Orthodoxy taking place in Thessaloniki in the presence of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

    Mr. Athens, who is the Host Chairman of the event, stressed that prejudice and violence cannot survive in a society where justice prevails. .

    He also referred to the long history of mutual respect, cooperation and social action for justice shared with the Jewish Community in the United States, a history based on the principles of Judaism and Christianity.

  • [17] 2003 BLACK SEA BUSINESS DAY IN THESSALONIKI The Black Sea Trade and Development Bank, BSTDB, will be the host of the 2003 Black Sea Business Day event that will take place in Thessaloniki on June 2. The event, sponsored by the Greek Ministry of Development, will highlight the importance of economi c relations between the Black Sea region and the European Union.

    About 400 top government and international officials, business leaders, bankers and investors from the region and other countries will attend the event dedicated to attracting industrial investment and international financing to the Black Sea countries, as well as to promoting regional cooperation in the energy sector.

    During the Black Sea Business Day, BSTDB will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Commission promoting new financing opportunities in the EU accession countries of Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey, which are BSTDB members.

    For the record, the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank started operations four years ago, in June 1999, with the objective of fostering economic development and integration in the greater Black Sea Region. Since then the Bank has launched the financin g of more than 65 project and trade finance operations in its Member Countries and has made an important contribution to the regional economic cooperation process.

    The opening session will be held in the presence of Greek Minister of Development Akis Tsochatzopoulos, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Nikolay Vassilev, and Russian Federation First Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Tra de Ivan Materov.

  • [18] THE GREEK JUSTICE MINISTER TESTIFIED IN THE OCALAN COURT TRIAL Greek Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos testified in the court trial held in Athens for the illegal entry of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan in Greece in January 1999.

    Mr. Petsalnikos, who was Minister of Public Order at the time, testified that all those who helped Ocalan to come to Greece displayed a thoughtlessness beyond comparison.

    He stressed that retired Navy officer Antonis Naxakis, one of the defendants in the case, had handled the issue in an irresponsible way, because he organized Ocalan's arrival in Greece even though he knew that he was an undesirable individual for the Gre ek government. However, he added that he does not believe that Mr. Naxakis acted in such a way in order to put the country's international relations at risk.


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