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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-10-22

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, October 22, 2003








  • [01] GUL SIGNS OLYMPIC TRUCE The Declaration for Olympic Truce was signed in Athens yesterday by Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, who is on a formal visit to Athens, while he will be received by the Prime Minister today. We have turned over a new leaf in Greek-Turkish relation s, said Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou, upon welcoming Mr. Gul to Athens. The two countries on the shores of the Aegean can resolve their problems in a peaceful way, stated Mr. Gul on his side.
  • [02] RUBBISH IN THE STREETS AND COURTS Employees in local government organizations will carry out a new 48-hour strike after their unions' unanimous agreement. The Ministry of the Interior decided to appeal to the courts, asking that the strike be found illegal and excessive. The mounds of ru bbish caused the intervention of DA Spyros Mouzakitis, who filed a complaint against any and all persons responsible for the violation of health regulations.
  • [03] THE POWER OF SCHOOL We cannot have two categories of students in schools, because that means we are preparing a ghetto, instead of preparing for our creative coexistence, we are preparing an explosive atmosphere, stated Minister of Education Petros Efthymiou, regarding the reaction of the residents of Nea Michaniona, when Odysseas Tsenai, a student of Albanian descent, was selected to bear the Greek flag in the student parade on October 28. The students are sitting in at school. The student's family seems to be contemplatin g the rejection of this honor to their son, as a way out of this crisis.
  • [04] I WILL NOT BEAR THE GREEK FLAG His decision not to bear the Greek flag was announced by top student Odysseas Tsenai, after the reactions of his classmates and local society in Nea Michaniona, at the prospect of his being the flag bearer at the student parade for the national celebrati on of October 28.

    The 18-year-old son of Albanian economic refugees pointed out to STAR television station that he is withdrawing from his right to bear the Greek flag, since, as he said, he has been put in difficult position and wants to avert any possible incidents duri ng the celebrations in Nea Michaniona.

    He also expressed his disappointment that his case divided an entire community, which, as be said, he thought could have changed its position by now.

    The 12th grade student was led to this decision after the reactions in the area. Yesterday morning, the school's students, also prompted by their parents, carried out a sit in at the Nea Michaniona secondary school, asking that the ministerial decision a llowing foreign students to bear the Greek flag at national celebrations, if they have the highest grade in their class and wish to bear the flag, be withdrawn. They also hung a banner outside the school, which read: "Greeks, your flag belongs to you".

    Their resolution pointed out that these mobilizations were carried out in order to avert reactions by the residents of the area during the parade.

    At the beginning of the month, the Parents and Guardians Association of the Nea Michaniona secondary school issued a resolution expressing their intention not to allow the children to march in the parade, and asked that the law allowing foreign students to carry the Greek flag on national celebrations be changed immediately.

    History repeating itself

    This is not the first time Odysseas Tsenai has been in the public spotlight due to the possibility of his being the flag bearer. Three years ago, when Odysseas Tsenai, who had been baptized an Orthodox Greek, received the highest grades in his class, the

    Teachers Association of the Nea Michaniona secondary school reacted to the possibility of his bearing the flag in the 9th grade parade.

    Minister of Education Petros Efthymiou had intervened at the time, pointing out that at national celebration parades students are representing their schools, and that if a foreign student has the highest grade in classes and behavior in school, and if he

    feels proud in bearing the Greek flag, then he can do so. The Minister had then secured that this right with a ministerial decision.

  • [05] SIMITIS-GUL MEETING Turkey's European prospects and its relations with the EU were the main topic of discussion at the meeting between Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.

    Their meeting lasted an hour, and the Greek Prime Minister stressed that 2004 will be a crucial year for Turkey's European course, and he observed that Ankara must make moves to respond to the criteria set by the European Union.

    With his meeting with Mr. Simitis, Mr. Gul completed his formal visit to Greece. The Turkish Foreign Minister departed from Athens immediately following that meeting.

  • [06] THE EUROPEAN PROCEDURE MUST MOVE FORWARD We need the European procedure to move forward, said Prime Minister Costas Simitis, speaking in the pre-agenda discussion in Parliament, on Greece's European prospects. Regarding the European Consititution, he was against creating satellites within the E U and in favor of promoting it to a pole of the global system. Mr. Simitis was in favor of extending authority on a European level.
  • [07] SIMITIS-KARAMANLIS SPEECHES IN PARLIAMENT The government's positions on the future of the European Union and the role of Greece was presented by Prime Minister Costas Simitis in the pre-agenda discussions in Parliament, on European developments, being carried out after the request of ND Presiden t Costas Karamanlis, who followed the Prime Minister's speech with criticisms on the government's handling of communal funds.

    The Greek Prime Minister pointed out the achievements of the Greek Presidency of the EU. "We helped the Union overcome an unprecedented crisis, such as that of Iraq, and retain its cohesion". He also referred to the accession of Cyprus, laws on immigrati on, border security, the Common Agricultural Policy, the promotion of the Lisbon strategy, the promotion of Europe's relations with the Balkans, and Greece's contribution to the completion of the European Constitution.

    "Our criterion is the strengthening of the Union now. Its promotion as a Political Union with democratic institutions and a social content. We want the Union as an active international contributor to peace and stability in an uncertain, asymmetric and fl uid world. The Union will either move forward strongly or wither."

    Mr. Simitis also pointed out that the European Constitution is not perfect, just like any other constitution, but he underlined its historical importance. "Of course improvements, corrections and clarifications must be made so the Constitution can become

    even more functional and democratic means of securing equality between all member states in an enlarged EU. But the Constitution must be adopted as soon as possible. Loss of time itself is eating away at Europe".

    The government did not take advantage of the positive international coincidence, developments in the European Union and did not promote the necessary structural changes, stressed President of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis, during his speech in Parliame nt after the Prime Minister.

    He accused the government of handling community funds in an non-transparent and inadequate way. It handled the larger funds than all post war governments together and increased the deficit, said Mr. Karamanlis.

    The President of ND characterized Greece's accession to the EMU as a significant positive development, but he observed that Greece is at the bottom of every European measurement on income, competitiveness, social cohesion and quality of life.

  • [08] PAGALOS ASKS FOR GREEK CITIZENSHIP FOR TSENAI MP Theodoros Pagalos asked that Greek citizenship be given to Albanian student Odysseas Tsenai within the next 24 hours, so that xenophobia and racism can be clearly seen, during his meeting with Minister of the Interior Costas Skandalidis this morning.

    Mr. Pagalos also called President of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis to isolate racists and xenophobes within his party, clearly commenting on statements made by members of the main opposition party today.

  • [09] LOSSES IN THE ASE Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.84% at 2.127,28 points, while the volume of transactions was satisfactory at 131.2 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, 67 had gains and 253 had losses, while the value of 41 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [10] EURO-MEDITERRANEAN PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY The Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum becomes the Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly, according to a decision reached in a meeting held in Brussels on October 16-17.

    The Greek Parliament was represented by deputies Phivos Ioannidis from the governing Socialist Party of PASOK and Elsa Papadimitriou from the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy, who proposed the opening meeting to take place in Greece and the proposal was accepted unanimously.

    The goal of this new institution is the more stable cooperation between the Parliaments of the EU member states and the Parliaments of the countries that participate in the Barcelona procedure for the strengthening of inter-parliamentary relations.

  • [11] GUL: TURKEY'S INTENTION IS TO SOLVE THE CYPRUS ISSUE Turkey's intention is to solve the Cyprus problem, stated Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, adding that "realities" should be taken under consideration.

    When asked to comment whether his country accepts the Annan Plan as a basis for negotiations, Mr. Gul responded positively adding, however, that his country will seek changes to the plan. The Turkish Minister also said on the so-called elections in the o ccupied territories in northern Cyprus that the Turkish Cypriots will decide.

    In statements he made to the Cypriot news agency, CNA, after the completion of the meeting he had with Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis in the latter's office in the Greek Parliament, Mr. Gul stated that Turkey's intention is to solve the Cyprus issue

    and realities should be considered in a realistic manner. Responding to the observation that in the statements he made in Athens yesterday he did not mention the Cyprus problem, Mr. Gul stated that views were exchanged on the Cyprus problem and its solut ion.

  • [12] PROTOPAPAS: MR. GUL'S VISIT TO GREECE WAS POSITIVE Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas characterized as "positive" Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's visit to Greece, stressing that during the contacts held "a climate of understanding that made the visit useful and beneficial" was confirm ed.

    Responding to relevant questions by reporters, Mr. Protopapas pointed out that the Greek government raised the Cyprus issue in the Greek-Turkish talks held yesterday and today with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and referred to the Prime Minister' s speech in Parliament where he reiterated once again that the solution of the Cyprus problem is a precondition for Turkey's European course.

    Mr. Protopapas also referred to today's meeting of Greek and Turkish economic officials who discussed Greek-Turkish economic cooperation issues.

  • [13] MAGRIOTIS ATTENDED THE FUNERAL OF ALIJA IZETBEGOVIC Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Magriotis represented the Greek government in the funeral of former Bosnia-Herzegovina President Alija Izetbegovic.

    Mr. Magriotis was welcomed at the Sarajevo Airport by Bosnia-Herzegovina Foreign Minister Mladen Ivanic.

    Mr. Ivanic thanked the Greek government for its presence in the funeral and its support to Bosnia-Herzegovina during the six-month Greek EU Presidency as well as, for the humanitarian aid it offered to his country.

    On his part, Mr. Magriotis pointed out that Greece supports stability, normality and development and characterized as encouraging the steps made by Bosnia-Herzegovina. He also, thanked Mr. Ivanic for his country's decision to support the Greek candidatur e for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council.


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