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MPA NEWS IN BRIEF (24/05/1996)

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 24, 1996


TITLES

  • [01] GREECE UPHOLDS CONVERGENCE PROGRAM, SAYS EU COMMISSION PRESIDENT

  • [02] JACQUES SANTER MEETS WITH LEADER OF NEW DEMOCRACY, MILTIADES EVERT

  • [03] PRESIDENT OF GREECE ATTENDS BATTLE OF CRETE COMMEMMORATION ACTIVITIES

  • [04] US MILITARY AID TO GREECE, TURKEY TO BE MAINTAINED AT 7:10 RATIO

  • [05] ISSUE OF MISSING PERSONS TO BE DISCUSSED AGAIN IN CYPRUS


  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [01] GREECE UPHOLDS CONVERGENCE PROGRAM, SAYS EU COMMISSION PRESIDENT

    Athens, May 24 (M.P.A.)

    The visiting President of the European Commission Jacques Santer stated that Greece closely upholds the convergence program, thereby seeing no reason to impose any conditions for the allocation of funds.

    Mr. Santer met with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Alternate Minister George Romeos, whom he informed that the Commission yesterday approved funding of ECU 250 million for the under-construction Spata airport, a project that he characterized as one of Europe's largest investments.

    During the meeting held between Mr. Santer, Mr. Pangalos and Mr. Romeos, there was a coincidence of views regarding the "Employment Confidence Pact", an initiative to battle unemployment at a European level and improve European competitiveness internationallly, proposed by Mr. Santer in January.

    Moreover, there was a discussion held on Greece's relations with some of its neighbors, granting particular attention to the MEDA funding program regulations. Mr. Pangalos stated that Greece is actively interested in seeing the MEDA program materialize which provides funding to Mediterranean countries outside the EU, yet he emphasized that "Greece wishes that the specific problem that exists with Turkey be taken into consideration."

    The Foreign Minister reminded that it was Greece which introduced the EU Mediterranean policy during the Corfu Summit.

    Mr. Santer stated that "it is known that Greece wishes to have smooth and friendly relations with all of the countries in the Meditarranean Basin. It only faces problems with Turkey, but it wishes to settle, as much as possible the problems in the relations between the two coutnries."

    It should be noted that Mr. Santer, responding to a question, declined that the Commission applies double standards in its positions towards the countries-members, stating that there are no differences in the positions, but simply, there are different problems.

    It appears, from Mr. Santer's and Mr. Pangalos' statements tthat the EU is leaning towards a separation between the Mediterranean countries who are set to receive MEDA funds, and Turkey, for which the Greek veto has been exercised.

    According to information from diplomatic sources, the Foreign Ministry has recommended such distinction, especially after the pressure exerted upon Greece following the Council of General Affairs, to lift the veto on MEDA funds allocation to Turkey.

    [02] JACQUES SANTER MEETS WITH LEADER OF NEW DEMOCRACY, MILTIADES EVERT

    Athens, May 24 (M.P.A.)

    Greece's main opposition party New Democracy leader Miltiades Evert met with the President of European Commission Jacques Santer and stated that he was glad to hear Mr. Santer's positive stances towards Greece and especially his recognition that Greece's borders are Europe's borders as well.

    The main opposition party leader also thanked Mr. Santer for his friendly sentiments towards Greece and the Greek people.

    Mr. Santer emphasized that the European Union's solidarity must find "effective ways of expression", while, regarding Cyprus, he stated that the negotiations for the island's EU accession will begin six months following the Inter-Governmental Conference. Mr. Santer stated that the "timeline" will be followed, and added that there is no chance that it will be threatened by "other, external factors."

    Present at the meeting were the New Democracy Vice-President Yiannis Varvitsiotis and the Parliamentary Group's Secretary-General Stavros Dimas.

    [03] PRESIDENT OF GREECE ATTENDS BATTLE OF CRETE COMMEMMORATION ACTIVITIES

    Heraklion, May 24 (M.P.A.)

    The President of Greece Kostis Stephanopoulos is in Heraklion, Crete today, where he will attend festivities commemmorating the 55th anniversary of the Battle of Crete.

    The first President to attend these annual festivities in Crete, Mr. Stephanopoulos will attend commemmoration ceremonies in all four of the island's counties.

    The Battle of Crete took place in May 1941 when Australian, New Zealand, British and Greek forces fought against the invading Nazis. The island of Crete was the last part of Greece to come under German occupation. Losses were heavy on both sides during this famous battle, one of whose most notable elements was that Germany used the most paratroopers for this battle than anywhere else during World War II.

    [04] US MILITARY AID TO GREECE, TURKEY TO BE MAINTAINED AT 7:10 RATIO

    Washington, May 24 (M.P.A.)

    The United States will maintain the 7 to ten ratio of military aid allocation to Greece and Turkey for 1997, according to a decision drawn by the US Allocations Sub-Committee.

    The Sub-Committee's proposal curtails by 50 per cent the military aid provided to both countries, in relation to 1996, allocating $103 million in military aid to Greece and $148 million to Turkey.

    According to the Sub-Committee's report, these figures are limited to the maintenance of the already exisitng programs and cannot be used for purchases of new armaments.

    Moreover, the Sub-Committee upkeeps its proposal for $15 million in economic aid to Cyprus.

    The Sub-Committee's proposal is subject to Congress approval, and, while it will be subjected to minor changes, the 7:10 ratio will not be affected.

    [05] ISSUE OF MISSING PERSONS TO BE DISCUSSED AGAIN IN CYPRUS

    Nicosia, May 24 (M.P.A.)

    Another discussion on the issue of missing persons is held today at Nicosia's Presidential Mansion, with the direct involvement of the relatives of those missing, throughout the deliberations.

    Meanwhile, turk-cypriot leader Rauf Denktash has responded positively to the conditions set forth by the United Nations Secretary-General Butros Ghali, which call for expediency in the proceedings of the Investigation Committee for the Missing Persons.


    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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