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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 98-02-12
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, February 12, 1998
NEWS IN DETAIL
 ALTERNATE FOREIGN MINISTER IN THESSALONIKI
Thessaloniki, February 12 (MPA)Addressing the "Association for Democracy in the Balkans" in Thessaloniki yesterday, Greece’s Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou stressed Greece’s role as a force of stability and economic growth and as a promoter of democratic values, respect for human rights and cooperation among peoples.
Mr. Papandreou pointed out Greece's exemplary ties with other Balkan states, and stressed that the government was making efforts to expand its role in the region, by supplementing this role with activities on the part of banks and the business world, as well as by universities.
 FARMERS TO BLOCK OFF NATIONAL HIGHWAY AT MALGARA FOR THREE HOURS
Thessaloniki, February 12 (MPA)Farmers from the region of Northern Greece are to block off the country’s national highway at the Malgara Junction for three hours this afternoon.
Already about 13 blocks have been set up by various groups of local farmers.
Meanwhile, in a sign of support, the local labor center is to conduct a rally at 6:30 this evening in Thessaloniki.
 GREEK FARMERS TO MEET WITH AGRICULTURE MINISTER TODAY
Athens, February 12 (MPA)The country’s protesting farmers are to meet today with a government delegation headed by Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas and including Finance Undersecretary George Drys, agriculture undersecretaries Dimitris Sotirlis and Vassilis Geranidis, and the governor of the Agricultural Bank of Greece, Petros Lambrou.
The farmers of central Greece have said they will intensify blockades this week and will continue their protest until their demands are met for state subsidies and cheaper petrol for agricultural use. Local farmers however, have said that they are opposed to the meeting and have asked that Agriculture Ministry officials travel to Thessaloniki in order to embark on negotiations.
Meanwhile, the local producers blocked off the national highway yesterday at Malgara.
 AGRICULTURE MINISTER: WE WANT TO HELP, BUT CAN’T GIVE GRD 900 BILLION
Athens, February 12 (MPA)Agriculture Minister Stephanos Tzoumakas, referring to the crucial meeting he is to have today with farmers’ representatives, stated in a radio interview that the farmers’ demands are unrealistic, as the cost for fulfilling them would entail an additional 900 billion drachmas from the state’s budget.
Moreover, he accused the country’s farming groups as acting like “demagogues” and claimed that those who embark on mobilizations and road blocks do not number more than 2,000, at a time when 800,000 Greeks are farmers.
Today’s meeting will also be attended by a government delegation which will include includes the undersecretaries of finance George Drys; agriculture, Dimitris Sotirlis and Vassilis Geranidis as well as the governor of the Agricultural Bank Panayiotis Lambrou.
Items on the agenda include matters related to lower fuel prices and lending rates, a doubling of VAT return coefficients and suspension of court action taken against several farmers from last year's protests.
 TURKEY SHOULD SEEK RECOURSE THROUGH THE HAGUE, SAYS PAPANDREOU
Thessaloniki, February 12 (MPA)Greece’s alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, in Thessaloniki yesterday, stated that Turkey is unable to adjust to the new European environment and this is the reason why the European Union must insist on the conditions set forth by the Luxembourg-held Summit so that the neighboring country will understand that it is not mere talk.
Moreover, Mr. Papandreou stated that solutions can be found through the framework of the International Court of Justice at The Hague and through international law.
 VIETNAM’S DEPUTY PREMIER IN ATHENS TODAY
Athens, February 12 (MPA)The deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Manh Cam arrived in Athens today where he will meet with Greece’s alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou.
Mr. Cam, who also serves as his country’s Foreign Minister, is to be received by Premier Kostas Simitis tomorrow. The two leaders will discuss bilateral relations between Athens and Hanoi.
 GREEK-BULGARIAN-RUSSIAN PIPELINE COMPANY TO BE FORMED IN MARCH
Sofia, February 12 (MPA)The Greek, Bulgarian and Russian joint firm Interbalkan Pipeline is expected to be formed in March in order to embark on preparations for construction work on the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, stated Bulgaria’s Deputy Premier Yevgeni Bakarziev during a Sofia-held conference on foreign investments.
The project is price tagged at approximately 750 million dollars, while the cost of building the pipeline between Burgas- Vlore, Albania, via FYROM will exceed one billion dollars.
Greek executive Christos Katsanis, an executive director of the National Bank's branch office and president of the federation of foreign investors in the country, said the Sofia conference on investments was an important and useful initiative to attract foreign investments to Bulgaria.
 TURKISH ADMIRAL REVEALS NEW DATA ON NIGHT OF IMIA CRISIS
Ankara, February 12 (MPA)The Turkish military commandos who took over the second islet of the Imia cluster of rock islands two years ago arrived there by swimming underwater, stated the then-leader of the Turkish Naval Forces, Admiral G. Erkaya during a televised interview.
Moreover, the Turkish official revealed that the then-Premier of Turkey Tansu Ciller had advocated full military confrontation.
 POLAND TO DISPATCH ANTI-CHEMICAL WARFARE UNIT TO PERSIAN GULF
Warsaw, February 12 (MPA)Poland’s undersecretary of Defense Radek Sikorski has confirmed the Polish government’s intention to dispatch an anti- chemical warfare unit to the Persian Gulf, in case the United States launch an attack on Iraq.
The relevant decision was drawn after a government meeting, held after the relevant American request issued by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to Polish Foreign Minister who is currently in Washington.
Mr. Siroski relayed his govenrment’s hope that the existing tension in the region will defuse, albeit concurrently stressing his country’s commitment to dispatch the aforementioned unit, since it constitutes “an expression of support” to the American initiatives for Iraq’s compliance with the United Nations decisions.
Poland, Along with the Czech Republic and Hungary, is currently on the brink of gaining accession to NATO and Warsaw holds a fervent desire to gain the ratification for the Alliance’s expansion from its 16 member-states.
 US REQUEST HUNGARY’S SUPPORT IN POTENTIAL ATTACK AGAINST IRAQ
Budapest, February 12 (MPA)The United States have officially requested Hungary’s contribution in case of an attack against Iraq, according to the Hungarian News Agency (MTI).
While the Hungarian Foreign Ministry has yet to publicize the details of the American request, its spokesperson stated that Hungary could aid in the sectors of administration, medical services and protection against chemical warfare.
In 1991, during the Persian Gulf crisis, Hungary had granted the green light to the Pentagon in allowing US aircraft to conduct flights through Hungary’s national air space corridors.
Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic are currently on the brink of gaining accession to NATO. Their foreign ministers are currently in Washington, as part of the efforts underway to gain the Senate’s seal of approval for their countries’ accession to the Alliance. The relevant protocol, which was signed last November, has already been approved by Denmark and Canada.
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/