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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-05-28

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, May 28, 2003








  • [01] PLANS FOR 2004 ELECTIONS PASOK is preparing plans for the next four-year term said Prime Minister and President of PASOK Costas Simitis, after closing the works of the joint meeting of the party's Central Committee and Parliamentary Group, during which he stressed that the elect ions can be won or lost based on the financial expectations of the citizen, while he accused ND of being involved with business interests, aiming at toppling the government. The President of ND, Costas Karamanlis, attributed the Prime Minister's actions t o panic. Government policy is going very well as far as serving local and European plutocracy is concerned, commented the KKE. The Prime Minister is looking into the mirror of authority and can't here the buzz of social reality, stated the President of th e Coalition of the Left, Nikos Constantopoulos.
  • [02] DISAGREEMENT IN ANKARA, VIOLATIONS OVER THE AEGEAN Athens' intense discomfort was caused by the divergence between the military and political leadership of Turkey as far as the Aegean air traffic is concerned. The period of arbitrariness is over and (Turkey) must conform, stated the Prime Minister, while

    the issue is being discussed today by the Turkish National Security Council, where the political leadership is trying to offer its assurance that it is not under threat by the military.

  • [03] DANGEROUS THOUGHTLESSNESS All those who helped Ocalan come to Greece showed limitless thoughtlessness, stated Minister of Justice, Public Order at the time of the Ocalan case, F. Petsalnikos, in his testimony on the illegal entrance of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in Greece in 1999 , a case that had caused the Minister of Development. Mr. Petsalnikos stated that off the defendants, Captain Naxakis acted aiming at endangering the countries international relations. Mr. Pagalos is testifying today.
  • [04] VARTHOLOMEOS DENOUNCES ALL FANATICISM The lifting of religious fanaticism and overcoming of religious confrontations was supported by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, during his speech at the 5th Academic Dialogue Meeting between Judaism and Orthodoxy, being held in Thessaloniki. The grati tude of SAE was expressed by An. Athens to the World Jewish Congress Chairman, Rabbi Is. Singer, for the cooperation with and support to the US.

    New Democracy's attack on the government's interests will continue, stressed Prime Minister Costas Simitis in his rejoinder speech at the joint meeting of PASOK's Central Committee and Parliamentary Group at the "Caravel" hotel.

    "It is certain that the Opposition will not stop here. The series will continue and we saw its next chapter last Sunday: the poll. The poll which is preparing a tumult of comments, that the government has lost the trust of the people, that elections must

    be held immediately, that there are no prospects of victory for PASOK and other statements, similarly hollow and loud. All this in time for the Thessaloniki Summit, to cover the promotion of the Greek Presidency and make the public forget what our main w ork for Greece has been during this period of time", he stressed.

    "Even I would say yes if I was asked if I wanted a better government", he underlined, adding that he is still waiting for the polls specialists' explanation on how they missed the results of the previous elections.

    "The Opposition is trying for and wants one thing no matter what. For nobody talk of policies and programs, for us to have the opinion that there is no other opinion, that we all believe the same things, that we all act in the same ways and that everythi ng is a matter of administration, because that is the only way it believes that the neoliberalism it represents will stand the test of the ballots. The Greek people and PASOK will not do ND that favor".

    The Opposition responded to these statements through party Spokesperson Thodoris Roussopoulos, who said that "if Mr. Simitis feels interests are being threatened, let him name them here and now. As any responsible Prime Minister ought to do. When he does

    so, we are prepared to fight by his side".

    Meanwhile, earlier, the Prime Minister had been severely criticized by Honorary President of ND Constantinos Mitsotakis, who unleashed a harsh attack against the government and the Prime Minister himself, in reference to the Stock Market scandal, which, as he said, exposes both justice and the political world.

    In his intervention during the discussion of the bill the Ministry of Justice submitted on the acceleration of trials, Mr. Mitsotakis made mention of moral decline and indications of decadence, while he accused the Prime Minister of trying to cover up sc andals that shocked public opinion, making insinuations that the case was handled by a simple examiner and not an judge of appeals.

  • [06] CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER IN ATHENS A working visit to Athens is being carried out by Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, in the framework of the EU-Canada Summit. The Prime Minister is being accompanied by Foreign Minister William Graham, Minister of Trade Pierre Pettigrew and his wife .

    Mr. Chretien will have a private meeting with Prime Minister Costas Simitis at 11:00 at the Maximos Mansion, with the participation of the President of the European Commission Romano Prodi, and will then participate in the plenary session of the EU-Canad a Summit.

    In the afternoon he will hold a press conference Zappeion Mansion, and will attend a luncheon held in his honor by Mr. Simitis. At 18:00 he will be received by the President of the Republic, Costis Stefanopoulos, at the Presidential residence. He will th en meet with Mr. Simitis and hold a joint press conference.

    On Thursday morning, Mr. Chretien will meet with the Head of the Opposition, Costas Karamanlis. He will then meet with the Mayor of Athens, Dora Bakoyanni, at the City Hall, where he will receive the Medal of the City of Athens.

    In the afternoon he will attend and speak at a luncheon with representatives of the business world to be held at the Athenaum Intercontinental hotel and early in the evening he will attend a reception in honor of the Canadian Embassy staff in Athens at t he same hotel.

    The Canadian Prime Minister's wife will visit the Acropolis and Plaka today, and the "Elpida" foundation tomorrow.

  • [07] ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH DENOUNCES FANATICISM The need to lift religious fanaticism and overcome religious confrontations was mentioned by Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, who declared the opening of the works of the 5th Academic Meeting for Dialogue between Judaism and Orthodoxy at the Hyatt hote l.

    Unfortunately we live in a world that has not yet overcome religious confrontations and it is true that our past is full of painful experiences, said the Head of Orthodoxy, who added: "The followers of every religion raise many impenetrable walls between

    themselves and followers of other religions. The need to protect the unity of all the faithful and keep them within that religious group leads to overstressing the differences, and, in some rare cases, slander members of a different religious group, to t he degree, sometimes, to which measures are taken, a phenomenon which, unfortunately, has not stopped happening even today".

    The intense interest of Orthodox Christians and Jews for Peace and Justice, was pointed out by the President of the Council of Hellenes Abroad, Mr. Andrew Athens, in his speech at the opening luncheon at the Meeting, held in honor of the participants.

    Mr. Athens stressed that in a just society, prejudice and violence cannot survive.

    "Our presence here is evidence of the dynamic message that we have much in common, especially our intense interest in Peace and Justice", said Mr. Athens among other things. "Both in Jewish and in Christian traditions, Peace and Justice are integral and interconnected pieces, as peace without justice is a promise not kept and justice can only be practiced in a peaceful and civilized society".

  • [08] COR BUREAU MEETING IN RHODES The Bureau of the Committee of the Regions will meet in Rhodes in Greece on Thursday 5 June 2003. The CoR Bureau meets away from Brussels twice a year, in a country holding the rotating EU presidency. This is one of the ways in which the CoR seeks to bri ng the EU closer to its citizens.

    The main items on the agenda for the representatives of Europe's cities and regions will be a discussion on the modernization of public services through "eGovernment" and the CoR's participation in the European Convention. There will be a debate on the o utcome of the CoR's Leipzeg conference on the future of the structural policy after the enlargement, and the meeting will also hear from Lambros Papadimas, Deputy Minister of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization, who will present the o utcome of the Greek presidency. Giorgos Nikitiadis, the Interior Minister's Coordinator for the EU will also be taking part.

  • [09] EXCITEMENT CAME OVER THE CAPTAIN Responsibilities to members public life, journalists and MPs, who gave the impression that the atmosphere was positive for the Kurdish issue and that they were prepared to provide asylum for PKK leader Abdullah Ocallan, were extended during his testimony

    at the trial on the illegal entrance of Ocallan to Greece, by former Foreign Minister Theodoros Pagkalos, who supported that defendant Cpt. Naxakis accepted the role given to him due to his excitement over the Kurdish issue.

    Mr. Pagkalos' testimony lasted two hours, while regarding Antonis Naxakis he also mentioned that he was just a technician, and that the ones that brought Ocallan to Greece are not on the stand.

    Finally, as far as the selection of Kenya is concerned, he said that their initial choice had been South Africa, in agreement with Nelson Mandella, however, then, due to a series of coincidences as he put it, the plan changed and the airplane carrying Oc allan landed in Nairobi to refuel after 6 hours of flight. During the refueling, the Greek government was informed that S. Africa would not accept the Kurdish leader, while shortly afterwards the events of his abduction and arrest took place.

  • [10] SIMITIS: TURKEY MUST RESPOND TO ITS OBLIGATIONS "We (Greece) and the EU will wait for Turkey to respond to its obligations", stated Prime Minister Costas Simitis, in statements he made at the press conference following his meeting with his Canadian counterpart, Jean Chretien.

    "The Head of the Turkish Armed Forces repeated Turkey's well known old positions. In the European Union we have discussed the issue and made decisions. We have decided that by 2004 these issues must be resolved. Thus, the EU and Greece will continue our relations with Turkey steadily, waiting for Turkey to respond to its obligations".

  • [11] CHRETIEN: ISOLATED SARS CASES IN CANADA Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chretien responded to questions from the press at an press conference held today, in the framework of his visit to Athens for the EU-Canada Summit. Mr. Chretien stated that the recent cases of SARS recorded in Toronto are is olated incidents.
  • [12] CHRETIEN-SIMITIS MEETING Developments on an international level and EU relations with Canada were discussed this morning by the Prime Ministers of Greece and Canada, Costas Simitis and Jean Chretien, the President of the European Commission Romano Prodi, High Commissioner of the

    EU on Joint Foreign and Defense Policy and Commissioner on Foreign Affairs Chris Patten.

    Specifically, the situation in North Korea, Afghanistan and Iraq were looked into, while the issue of the agreement for free trade between Canada and the EU was also raised.

    There had been an earlier private meeting between the two Prime Ministers on bilateral relations. The two countries will also be the topic of discussion at the meetings Mr. Chretien will have this afternoon with the Greek political and state leadership.

  • [13] GREEK ACTIVISTS IN EVIAN FOR G-8 MEETING Greek activists, members of the "Stop the War" Alliance and Initiative "Genoa 2001", will participate in the protests to take place in Evian, on the French-Swiss borders, drawing on the Meeting of the G-8 Group, which US President George Bush will partic ipate in.

    The protestors of the two movements will depart tomorrow at 13:30 on busses from Athens for Evian, with "No to the G-8 of War" as their slogan.

  • [14] PRODI: THE EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION DRAFT TEXT LACKS VISION European Commission President Romano Prodi stated that the draft text of the European Constitution presented by the Constitutional Convention Presidency is lacking vision and ambition.

    In a joint press conference within the framework of the EU Troika-Canada Summit Meeting in Athens, Mr. Prodi characterized the European Constitution draft text as disappointing. He stressed that it does not offer solutions to the problems created by the Nice Treaty and constitutes a kind of a setback, for example in the issue of majority vote.

    Mr. Prodi said that he wants to warn the Convention members that it is unacceptable to fall victims and hostages to a text that does not offer solutions and threatens to paralyze Europe.

  • [15] GAINS IN THE ASE Big gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +1.97% at 1.708,08 points, while the volume of transactions was at 110.3 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, 306 recorded gains compared to 34 that had losses, while the value of 38 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [16] EU-CANADA MEETING IN ATHENS The European Union and Canadian leadership reaffirmed in a meeting held in Athens today that their partnership has heightened meaning in the current global environment. They agreed to intensify bilateral connections at all levels in order to address pres sing international challenges, strengthen transatlantic links, and deal with changes in their respective societies.

    They agreed that an effective and dynamic multilateral system remains the indispensable basis for the management of global concerns. The European Union and Canada will continue to seek further ways to give expression to this commitment.

    In this spirit, the leaders agreed that the European Union and Canada: - stand ready to contribute in the framework of the relevant UNSC resolutions to the political and economic reconstruction of Iraq, working together to see that the needs of the Iraqi people are met; to this end, they welcome the adoption of the UNSC Reso lution 1483, which brings an end to the sanctions against Iraq, and provides the framework to mobilise the international community in support of Iraq's reconstruction and recovery; - call on all parties to implement fully the roadmap for the Middle East Peace Process recently published by the Quartet and take all necessary action to help bring into being the vision of two States living side by side in peace and security; - will continue to support the endeavours of the Western Balkans countries to consolidate stability, democracy and economic development, to fight organised crime, to enhance regional co-operation and to implement necessary reforms toward European integrat ion; - call for a swift and viable solution of the Cyprus problem through negotiations on the basis of the UN Secretary-general's plan. - will continue to co-operate closely in the common cause of combating terrorism; - will work together with a view to developing a concrete and action-oriented multilateral framework that will provide timely and effective answers to problems related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; - in the same vein, express real concern about the DPRK's nuclear weapons programme, and call upon it to fulfil its international nuclear non-proliferation obligations and to abstain from any action that would aggravate the situation further; - remain committed to the reconstruction of Afghanistan through the implementation of the Bonn Agreement in all its aspects and strongly support the role of the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul.

    European Commission President Romano Prodi presented a Commission Communication to further strengthen EU-Canada relations, as part of the review process agreed at the December 2002 Ottawa Summit. The document provides food for thought leading to decision s at the next EU-Canada Summit in December on how to make the relationship more forward-looking and action oriented. Canada is also conducting its own concurrent review of the relationship.

    In the present global economic climate, the leaders confirmed their shared belief that further liberalisation of trade and investment is even more important in promoting economic growth and prosperity. In this context, the European Union and Canada: - pledged to give priority to the completion of the Doha Development Agenda negotiations by the end of 2004 with an ambitious and balanced outcome; - to this end, they agreed to work closely together to ensure a successful WTO Cancun Ministerial Conference, and strong forward momentum in all areas of the Doha mandate, including progress on the development aspects of the negotiations, and the launch o f negotiations on trade facilitation, transparency in government procurement, investment and competition; - re-affirmed their commitment to develop a new bilateral Trade and Investment Enhancement Agreement (TIEA), and issued a report on progress achieved since their Summit in Ottawa last December. Leaders also: - agreed to a joint action plan toward a regulatory co-operation framework with the aim of preventing unnecessary barriers to trade and investment, and welcomed the joint EU/Canada seminar on regulatory co-operation in Brussels on June 26, "Enhancing Part nership and Dialogue"; - welcomed the initialling of a new agreement on wine and spirits, and expressed their wish to carry the process forward to conclusion and ratification on both sides of the Atlantic; - expressed appreciation for the useful contribution made by the Canada Europe Roundtable for Business (CERT), to enhance bilateral trade and investment; - with regard to Canada's request for WTO consultations concerning the status and treatment of applications for the approval of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in the EU, Canada and the EU set out their different positions.

    Discussions covered, inter alia, the economic, scientific, social, and political aspects of the issue as viewed by each side.

    Leaders welcomed progress being made on expanding the exchange of students and young workers between the EU and Canada. They noted in particular the potential offered by building on existing and new agreements, programmes and other pilot projects, as wel l as the opportunities for new links between Canadian and European higher education institutions, students and scholars arising from the forthcoming Erasmus Mundus programme.

  • [17] THE EU COURSE OF THE BALKAN STATES WILL DEPEND ON THE MATERIALIZATION OF THEIR COMMITMENTS The EU course of the Balkan states will depend on the degree of the materialization of their commitments stemming from the association agreements they have signed. Also, the EU will give a priority to the efforts made in those countries against organized

    crime and human trafficking, the return of refugees to their homes and social cohesion.

    The Greek EU Presidency has set two issues of cross-border cooperation. The first, concerns the review of school books and the removal of hints and stereotypes regarding the so-called "bad neighbor", while the second, has to do with the restoration of cu ltural monuments and places of worship that were damaged in the past decade.

    The above were pointed out by ambassador Alexandros Mallias, head of the Greek Foreign Ministry Balkan Affairs Department, addressing the southeastern European journalists within the framework of the seminar on Southeastern Europe and the EU: The role of

    the mass media, organized in Thessaloniki by the Greek Ministry of Press and Mass Media.

    Mr. Mallias presented the priorities of the Greek EU Presidency in the western Balkans, pointing out that the goal of the Greek Foreign Ministry policy is to turn the Balkans into a region of cooperation where common values will dominate. He said that t he countries in the region should convince that they can cooperate with each other through regional cooperation to be able to cooperate with third countries.

  • [18] THE GREEK PRESIDENT WATCHED THE MILITARY EXERCISE "SARISA 2003" The efforts for the improvement of relations with Turkey have not given fruit because there is increased aggressiveness and provocation, stated Greek Ministry of Defense Yiannos Papantoniou to the representatives of the Greek military leadership. The sta tement was made during the military exercise "Sarisa 2003" held near Thessaloniki today in the presence of President Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    Mr. Papantoniou appeared pessimistic regarding the future of the Greek-Turkish relations and underlined that the Greek side should be vigilant. He said that there is aggressiveness and provocation, especially over the Aegean, which highlights the tension

    in the relations between the two countries.

    Speaking after the exercise, Mr. Stephanopoulos stated that the Greek army has not launched an aggressive war since 1821, adding that with the exception of the Greek-Turkish war in 1896 this army essentially, was never defeated. Even in the case of the 1 921-22 war, there was never before in the world an army to cover hundreds of kilometers inside a foreign territory, said President Stephanopoulos.

  • [19] SE EUROPEAN JOURNALISTS VISITED MPA Twenty journalists from southeastern European countries, participating in the seminar on SE Europe and the EU: The role of the Mass Media organized by the Greek Ministry of Press and Mass Media, visited the facilities of MPA in Thessaloniki today.

    The journalists from Albania, FYROM, Serbia-Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia were briefed by MPA General Director Spiros Kouzinopoulos on the operation and activities of the news agency.

    Mr. Kouzinopoulos pointed out that MPA gives an emphasis to the relations with the Balkan countries, promoting the Balkan mass media cooperation through the Thessaloniki-based Association of Balkan News Agencies, ABNA, and the organizing of annual journa listic symposiums.

    He also referred to the special attention paid by MPA to the Greek Diaspora, and to the agency's pioneer steps on the Internet through the live broadcasts of conferences, cultural, political, economic and other events.

    On their part, the Balkan journalists asked to be briefed on the different parameters of the journalist profession in Greece and the prospects for MPA's further development in light of the new situation worldwide concerning the sector of the mass media.


  • [20] OLYMPIC AIRWAYS FACES US JUSTICE Olympic Airways will appear before the US Supreme Court regarding the case of a US citizen who died in 1998 from allergic shock, during an Athens-New York flight.

    The US judges will decide if the company is responsible for the death of one passenger from an asthma attack, which is due, according to the deceased's family, to second hand smoke he inhaled during the flight.

    Specifically, the family of the victim, 52-year-old doctor Pete Hanson from California, supports that the cause of death was his allergic reaction to second hand smoke, and is asking for $1.4 million in damages.

    Hanson was traveling with his family in the non-smoking section, which was only three rows away from the smoking section, with no form of division. Furthermore, the family claims that while they informed the flight attendant of the 52-year-old's problem,

    asking for him to change seats into one of the 11 free seats, he was not allowed to.

  • [21] OIL TANKER SANK A BOAT-RESTAURANT IN BOSPOROS An oil tanker under Greek flag sank a boat-restaurant in Bosporos and crashed on three others anchored along Istanbul's European coasts.

    The oil tanker, "Polisini-I", sailed off course last night and ended up at the narrowest point of the Bosporos Straits. It collided with four boats used as restaurants and one of them sank this morning.

    According to the Turkish news agency "Anadolu", the oil tanker continued its course until it was stopped by the Turkish marine police at the entry of the Marmara Sea.

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