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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 98-01-27
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
BRIEF GREEK NEWS BULLETIN BY THE MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY
Thessaloniki, January 27, 1998
NEWS IN DETAIL
 GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER AT EUROPEAN UNION COUNCIL
Brussels, January 27 (MPA)Greece’s Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, attending the European Union Council in Brussels yesterday, stated that if Turkey insists on its negative stance, then it will not be issued with an invitation to attend the European Conference of March 12.
During yesterday's session in Brussels, the foreign ministers of France, Italy and the Netherlands stressed the need for efforts to change the Turkish stance.
Mr. Pangalos reacted strongly to a suggestion by Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini that a solution of the Cyprus issue should be linked with the island republic's EU membership negotiations, due to begin in March.
He reminded Mr. Dini of relevant EU decisions, and advised him to treat such issues with "greater seriousness".
Referring to the European Conference, Mr. Pangalos said the basic issues to be discussed during the European Conference would be drugs, security, illegal immigration, environmental protection, regional cooperation and the economic policies of prospective members.
Mr. Pangalos stated that the Conference would be open and would concern any country expressing an interest in participating, provided they accepted the principles set at the Luxembourg summit.
Concluding, the Greek foreign minister said he believed that all countries that would go to London would have no problem in confirming adherence to the "principles of Luxembourg", and expressed the hope that the same would happen with Turkey. Regarding Greek-Turkish differences, Mr. Pangalos said Greece had accepted the general jurisdiction of the International Court at The Hague, and any country in the world could seek recourse there on condition it also accepted its jurisdiction.
"We are legally in order, and if Turkey accepted this internationally widespread and normal procedure it would have improved its relations with the EU," he added.
 GREECE’S DEFENSE MINISTER IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
Prague, January 27 (MPA)Greece’s National Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos met with his Czech counterpart Michal Lobkowicz in Prague yesterday, during his three-day official visit to the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The two officials discussed issues related to the safeguarding peace and security in Europe, as well as the two countries' participation in the SFOR peacekeeping mission in Bosnia.
Following the talks, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos relayed the Greek government’s willingness to expeditiously approve Prague's admission protocol to NATO and contribute actively to negotiations for the country's EU accession.
Other issues discussed included bilateral cooperation in the fields of education, armaments and the defense industry, while a military cooperation agreement will be signed today.
The Greek minister later had successive meetings with the Czech Foreign Minister Yaroslav Sendivi, as well as Parliament president and leader of the social democratic party, Mr. Zema.
Mr. Tsochatzopoulos will be received today by the Czech prime minister, the senate’s leader and the Czech President Vaclav Havel.
 ANOTHER STRIKE IN LABOR SECTOR PARALYZES COUNTRY
Athens, January 26 (MPA)Greece’s workers at DEKOs (state-run utilities, public enterprises and corporations) have embarked on new strikes today, along with bank employees and urban transportation staff.
Half of the Olympic Airways flights are not to be conducted today, while the State Railway Organization (OSE) will only hold six routes. Thessaloniki’s buses will not run between the hours of 12:30-4:30pm.
The strike is prompted over a provision in the government's new tax bill that allows a change in the status of workers at DEKOs in the framework of their reform.
Prime Minister Costs Simitis appears determined to proceed with changes and restructuring in DEKOs labor relations.
"Measures for DEKOs are a structural change. The Greek people have paid hundreds of billions to these enterprises to operate", Mr. Simitis told reporters yesterday, adding that the country's inclusion in Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and Greece's equal participation in a united Europe required constant structural changes on the way the state and society functioned.
DEKOs workers say that the provision directly undermines their status. National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou has repeatedly stated to unionists presenting him with their demands that the provision applied only to loss-making or bankrupt DEKOs.
He has said a six-month period of negotiations between DEKO management and unions was sufficient time to achieve an agreement on changes but has stressed that the final decision lay with the government.
 ANOTHER TURKISH PROVOCATION NEAR THE IMIA ISLETS
Athens, January 27 (MPA)Greece’s Ambassador in Ankara is to file a letter of protest with the Turkish government today, over yesterday’s Turkish provocation near the Imia islets.
Two Turkish torpedo boats sailed between the islands of Kalymnos and Kalolymnos and members of their crew open fire in the open sea.
 GOVERNMENT RESPONDS TO LATEST POPULARITY POLL
Athens, January 27 (MPA)The government said yesterday that the confidence of the Greek people in the ruling PASOK party would be renewed at the election booths, after the completion of its four-year term.
Referring to the results of an opinion poll that showed the Premier Kostas Simitis’ popularity as having dropped, government spokeperson Dimitris Reppas said that “the poll documents the preferences of public opinion at a particular point in time. "
According to the poll, published in the Athens newspaper “TA NEA”, the government’s popularity is at its lowest level since November 1997, while on the decline is also the popularity of prime minister Kostas Simitis as well as the popularity of right- wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis.
Specifically, according to the poll the government’s popularity dropped to 15,8% from 20,3% in November 1997 and New Democracy’s increased to 13% from 10%. The prime minister’s popularity dropped to 36,4% from 49,5% in November 1997, while Karamanlis’ popularity dropped to 43,2% from 48,8%.
 BRITISH FM ON TURKEY’S PARTICIPATION IN EUROPEAN CONFERENCE
Brussels, January 27 (MPA)Britain’s Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has stated that there are no special pre-conditions for Turkey's participation in the European Conference, to take place in London on March 12.
“It is not appropriate at this moment to go into the legal aspects of the decision at the Luxembourg summit," he said, adding that the priority is "for Turkey to accept the invitation to participate in the conference".
Mr. Cook also stated that regardless of the conference, the European Commission would work out in the forthcoming period measures for boosting EU-Turkish economic cooperation.
The British EU presidency is to begin a round of contacts with the aim of persuading Turkey to participate in the opening session of the European Conference.
 OLYMPIC GAMES COMMITTEE TO CONVENE TOMORROW
Athens, January 27 (MPA)The Olympic Games Organizing Committee is to hold its first session tomorrow, under the presidency of Prime Minister Kostas Simitis. Immediately thereafter, Mr. Simitis is to present the members of the committee to the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos.
Yesterday, the Minister of Culture Evangelos Venizelos, who heads the relevant ministerial committee, met with the president of the Olympic Games Organizing Committee Stratis Stratigis and managing director Kostas Bakouris.
 AMERICAN-HELLENIC INSTITUTE TO SHED LIGHT ON TURKSIH GENOCIDES
Washington, January 27 (MPA)The American-Hellenic Institute Foundation, based in Washington DC, is to establish a center for the study of Turkish genocides and crimes against humanity.
The center will span the study of events in modern Turkish history from the 19th century onwards that have been designated as genocides and crimes against humanity, such as the 1915-1922 genocide against the Armenians, the 1922 destruction of Izmir and the massacre of its Greek and Armenian residents, the 1974 invasion of Cyprus and the ongoing occupation of one-third of the island by Turkish troops, and the violation of the Kurdish people’s human rights.
 GREECE-FYROM TALKS ON NAME ISSUE TO BE HELD IN NEW YORK TODAY
New York, January 27 (MPA)The Ambassadors of Greece and FYROM, Christos Zacharakis and Ivan Tosevski respectively, are to hold a new round of talks concerning the FYROM name issue in New York today.
The meeting will take place under the auspices of United Nations mediator Cyrus Vance.
 US STH FLEET FLAGSHIP ARRIVES IN THESSALONIKI ON SATURDAY
Thessaloniki, January 27 (MPA)The United States Sixth Fleet’s flagship “LaSalle” will sail into he port of Thessaloniki on Saturday morning, January 31, where it will remain until February 4.
The ship, with a 700-member crew, will host a formal reception on Saturday, to be attended by United States Ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns.
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