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BRIEF GREEK NEWS BULLETIN (03/05/1996)

From: Macedonian Press Agency <mpa@philippos.mpa.gr>

Macedonian Press Agency Brief News in English Directory

BRIEF GREEK NEWS BULLETIN BY MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY

Thessaloniki May 3, 1996


TITLES

  • [01] PRIME MINISTER SPEAKS OF A STRONGER GREECE IN THRACE

  • [02] INTERBALKAN COOPERATION SHOULD BE BASED ON GREEK INITIATIVE, SAYS EU SPECIAL ENVOY FOR BOSNIA CARL BILDT

  • [03] VAN DEN BROEK: WE CAN ACHIEVE PROGRESS IN CYPRUS DURING THE FOLLOWING MONTHS


  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [01] PRIME MINISTER SPEAKS OF A STRONGER GREECE IN THRACE

    "Our policy is that of a strong Greece," stated the Prime Minister Kostas Simitis from Thrace, where he is conducting a three-day tour of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace.

    "If there is not a strong Greece which is economically united and socially cohesive, from one end of the country to the other, there cannot be a strong border region," the Premier emphasized yesterday evening, chairing a conference at the Democritus University of Thrace.

    "The stronger Greece's position is, that much stronger its border regions become," stated Mr. Simitis, reminding also that another aspect of the country's strategy is the defense of its national independence and integrity.

    Making an indirect reference to Ankara, the Premier stated that "our positions on Thrace, as they are for the Aegean Sea as well, are inscribed in unshakeable national agreements that fully secure our sovereign rights. Turkey must understand this clearly. As a matter of fact, it would be to its (Turkey's) benefit to understand this soon, since it has taken a futile direction in sterile roads."

    The Premier reminded that for a whole era following WWII, no serious effort was made to develop Thrace's region neither economically nor socially and referred to the efforts made by Turkey to foster minority issues, aiming at creating a climate of distrust among the religious groups and an overall spirit of separatism.

    "Thrace cannot wait," Mr. Simitis stated.

    "The state knows that Thrace wants to and can become a decisive center of welfare and development, not only locally but for the country as well," he added, stating that the development of the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace region constitutes a crucial national priority.

    Regarding the development of Thrace, the government will aim at filling the existing gap between the region and the remainder of the national and european areas, as well as promoting the economic and social development at a dynamic pace.

    There are currently 300 projects under the auspice of the European Union's funding. Specifically, regarding the energy sector, vast projects are being constructed in order to relieve Thrace from its current total dependence on energy.

    The under-construction hydroelectric plant will use the water facilities of the river Nestos, while of great importance for Thrace's economy, as well as the national, is Komotini's natural gas energy plant.

    Moreover, the Premier referred to the Egnatia Road project and well as Thrace's other road projects, the upgrading of Kavala and Alexandroupolis airports and ports facilities, and a massive dam project to support irrigation works in Drama and Xanthi.

    The Premier granted emphasis to the government's constant watch over Thrace's security and social cohesion as well as the inclusion of all population groups into a united prospect of development.

    "The Greek state will secure the participation of all, Christians and Muslims in the region's development process," Mr. Simitis stated.

    "In this process, Thrace will exemplify equality before the law, multi-faceted cultural activities, religious freedom and participation in the common welfare," the Premier said.

    "The local community can only co-exist and progress peacefully, with repsect to the various cultural and religious models and traditions," the Premier added.

    This is how the Prime Minister responded to a memorandum he received prior to his speech from 24 Muslim elected leaders of the Rodopi prefecture, who touched upon issues of minority training, Muftis and the management of monastery property.

    The minority representatives, who welcomed the Premier "with hope and joy" as they stated, noted that a basic prerequisite for the development of the Rodopi prefecture, the most underdeveloped prefecture as they claimed, is the upgrading of the minority's conditions, a group which makes up the most underdeveloped sector of the Rodopi population.

    Today, the Premier will visit the prefectures of Xanthi and Kavala, and will participate in meetings with the local administration's representatives.

    Tomorrow morning, Mr. Simitis will visit the prefecture of Drama and in the afternoon will travel by helicopter to the Ormenios area in Evros, onthe Greek-Bulgarian border, where he will give a speech on the regional prospects being created in the Balkan and Black Sea markets.

    In his tour, Mr. Simitis is accompanied by the Ministers of: National Economy, Gerasimos Arsenis; Development, Vasso Papandreou; Environment, Planning and Public Works, Kostas Laliotis; Health and Welfare, Anastasios Peponis; Public Order, Kostas Geitonas; Macedonia-Thrace, Philippos Petsalnikos; and the Under-Ministers of Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Labros Papadimas; National Economy, Christos Pachtas; Education George Pashalides; Athletics Andreas Fouras; and Agriculture Apostolos Fotiades.

    [02] INTERBALKAN COOPERATION SHOULD BE BASED ON GREEK INITIATIVE, SAYS EU SPECIAL ENVOY FOR BOSNIA CARL BILDT

    The situation in Bosnia, the former Yugoslavia and Kosovo, as well as the proposal brought forward by Greece's main opposition party New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert to sign an agreement that will recognize the borders of the countries in that region, were the issues that the European Union's special envoy for the Bosnian issue Carl Bildt was faced with during his meeting with Mr. Evert, held this morning during the session of the International Democratic Union (IDU) and European Democratic Union (EDU) Conference in Thessaloniki.

    Following the meeting, Mr. Bildt stated that Mr. Evert's proposal for a border recognition agreement would be "especially good."

    Mr. Bildt stated that he considers the resolving of minority issues and human rights to be a significant prerequisite for achieving stability in the region, while pointing out that Greece plays an important role in the area.

    Responding to a question by the Macedonian Press Agency on whether there will be Greek initiatives that will aim at achieving stability in the region, Mr. Bildt expressed his hope that there will be such initiatives stemming from Greece.

    "There have been many proposals during the recent months from various governments for the establishment of new cooperation networks in the region and I hope that there will be initiatives brought forward from Greee as well," Mr. Bildt stated.

    Regarding Kosovo, the special envoy stated that there is a constant simmering crisis in the region, which has heightened during the recent weeks and noted that "it is of great importance that the Belgrade and Tirana authorities, and the Albanian peoples representatives in Prishtina, view this issue as a serious condition and have the intention to address it politically."

    Moreover, he expressed the view that the only solution to the problem would be "a form of autonomy" in Kosovo.

    "The European Union has a policy that promotes a form of autonomy in Kosovo. This I believe is the only viable solition to the problem," he stated.

    Referring to Serb reactions to such a solution, Mr. Bildt stated that "solutions require compromises" and added that "there cannot be a solution when both sides insist on their positions 100 percent."

    [03] VAN DEN BROEK: WE CAN ACHIEVE PROGRESS IN CYPRUS DURING THE FOLLOWING MONTHS

    Progress on the Cypriot issue can be achieved during the following months through a three-part approach by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union, stated the EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek from Washington.

    Mr. van den Broek stated that he bases his optimism on the increased interest to arrive at a solution.

    The Commissioner stated that it is not a favorable situation for Turkey to maintain 35,000 soldiers in Cyrpus while it shoulders the financial assistance of the Turk-Cypriots and at the same time to be faced with insistent questioning regarding the lack of progress on the Cypriot issue.

    Moreover, he stated that it his personal feeling that a number of changes have occured during the past year regarding Cyprus, thereby creating new opportunities for finding a solution.

    "I would like to bring forward a feeling of optimism since, in light of the expansion and the full accession of Cyrpus to the EU, the Cypriot issue can and must be resolved," Mr. van den Broek stated.

    In Washington, the EU Commissioner met with the US President Bill Clinton's advisor for security issues Anthony Lake and various officials from Congress and the State Department.


    Complete archives of the Macedonian Press Agency bulletins are available on the MPA Home Page at http://www.mpa.gr/ and on the U.S. mirror at http://www.hri.org/MPA/

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