|Tuesday, 19 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 98-03-09
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, March 9, 1998
NEWS IN DETAIL
 PRESIDENT OF ALBANIA REJEP MEIDANI IN GREECE TODAY
Athens, March 9 (MPA)The President of Albania Rejep Meidani embarks on a three-day visit to Athens today, on the invitation of his Greek counterpart Kostis Stephanopoulos, where his talks are expected to focus on the situation in Kossovo and the reduction of tension existing today in the relations between Tirana and Belgrade.
President Meidani will arrive in Athens this morning and will be formally welcomed by the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos. The two leaders will have a private meeting which will be followed by a meeting between the Greek and Albanian delegations which will proceed to the signing of agreements concerning the developments of Greek-Albanian co-operation.
Thereafter, Mr. Meidani will meet with the Prime Minister Kostas Simitis and will also see the leaders of the country’s political parties. The Mayor of Athens Dimitris Avramopoulos will present President Meidani with the Medal of the City of Athens.
Mr. Mejdani will be accompanied by Albania’s minister of education, the secretary of the foreign ministry and the secretary general of the committee on Euro-Atlantic integration.
The Greek and Albanian education ministries are expected to sign an educational cooperation agreement during the visit.
 GREEK PREMIER TO RECEIVE PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS CLERIDES TODAY
Athens, March 9 (MPA)The President of Cyprus Glafkos Clerides is to be received by the Prime Minister of Greece Kostas Simitis and other political leaders during his official three-day visit to Athens which starts today.
In today’s meeting with the Greek Premier, Mr. Clerides is to discuss the issues concerning the accession of Cyprus into the EU and the Russian S-300 missiles.
On Thursday, the Cypriot President will travel to London in order to participate at the European conference which will feature the participation of the European Union’s 15 member-states and the countries which are candidates for accession to the Community.
 INTENSE DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS UNDERWAY TO RESOLVE KOSSOVO ISSUE
Prishtina, March 9 (MPA)Intense diplomatic efforts are underway by the international organizations, to achieve a peaceful solution to the Kossovo crisis.
The six-member “contact group” for Bosnia, namely Britain, Germany, United States, France, Italy and Russia, is to meet in London today where the participants will discuss the latest developments in the Serbian province.
Meanwhile, the western countries make no effort to disguise their opposition to the Yugoslav government’s actions and hold Serb President Slobodan Milosevic as the man responsible for the crisis.
Ethnic Albanians, who make up about 90% of Kossovo’s population, are preparing rallies in many cities of the province.
The President of Albania Reijep Meidani is to arrive in Athens today where he will be received by the Greek Premier Kostas Simitis. The two are expected to discuss at length the Kossovo crisis.
 GREEK ALTERNATE FM COMMENTS ON KOSSOVO ISSUE
London, March 9 (MPA)Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou told the BBC radio that the international community must make it clear that Kosovo should have partial autonomy, although it cannot accept the creation of a new independent state.
"There must be a clear message by the international community and it must have two aspects.
"First of all, partial autonomy of Kosovo should proceed and, on the other hand, the international community should not accept a new independent country, namely, a change of borders, a restructuring of borders, which would create strong reverberation in the entire region,” he stated.
Furthermore, he stressed that Greece’s policy on the Kosovo crisis is in accordance with the European one.
In regards to the position adopted by the neighboring Balkan countries, Mr. Papandreou stated that he noted a rapprochement, both during his recent meeting with FYROM’s Foreign Undersecretary and with the Albanian side.
“It is understandable that the Albanians are much more affected psychologically from the Kossovo crisis, and of course, on the side of FYROM there is also fear given their Albanian minority and the concern they have for a ‘spill-over’ of the crisis into their country.”
When asked if the rapprochement between Athens and Skopje on the Kosovo issue will bear positive results on the FYROM name issue, “Mr. Papandreou stated that “they are not directly related, but they do have an indirect consequence since I think that the two sides realize that our interests are quite similar and that a close cooperation is necessary for stability in the region.”
 NATO’S LARGEST EXERCISE THIS YEAR STARTS TODAY IN NORTH ATLANTIC
Athens, March 9 (MPA)NATO’s largest exercise of the year, “Strong Resolve ‘98”, is to take place in the North Atlantic and the Iberian Peninsula between March 9-21. The exercise is aimed at testing NATO’s ability to concurrently tackle two crises developing in two different geographic regions.
Greece is participating in the exercise in the Iberian Peninsula with the frigate “Spetsai”, four F-16 aircraft, as well as with a number of officers for the staff of the joint combined force.
All NATO member-states will participate in this massive military exercise, while seven countries observing NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) initiative will also take part for the first time, including Austria, Bulgaria, FYROM, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden.
 UN SECRETARY-GENERAL WANTS EXTENSION OF UNPREDEP’S STAY IN FYROM
Skopje, March 9 (MPA)The United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan is to propose to the Security council that the UN peacekeeping force UNPREDEP stationed in FYROM be extended. In an interview to US-television station ABC, Mr. Annan expressed his concern over the latest developments in Kosovo and stressed that the Security Council members should extend UNPREDEP’s stay in Skopje beyond August 31.
 SERBIAN FORCES LAUNCH NEW ATTACK ON THREE ALBANIAN VILLAGES
Pristina, March 9 (MPA)Serbian forces launched new attacks on the villages of Joshanica, Aracevo and Broja which are populated by ethnic Albanians, according to the news agency HINA .
According to the press reports, the raids began some time after 15.30 hours Sunday, and locals reported that shots were heard in the village of Lausha, about 15 km away from Joshanica.
Armored personnel carriers, tanks and other police and military vehicles are heading towards the area from the municipality of Klina.
The Serbian police has as yet given no confirmation of these reports.
 KOSOVO’S ALBANIANS TO CONDUCT MASS PROTESTS THROUGHOUT PROVINCE
Prishtina, March 9 (MPA-AFP)Mass protests in towns across Serbia's troubled Kosovo province will be staged today, the main Albanian party announced yesterday.
Today’s protests will come after a bloody week in the ethnic Albanian majority province where Serb security forces have killed dozens in a clampdown on what they say are armed separatists in the region.
Recent street protests by the Albanians have been met with a swift and often brutal response from the Serbian police who have banned all such events.
Protests took place in several cities around Europe at the weekend against the Serbian crackdown, including Athens where yesterday a large group of Albanians conducted a rally in front of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, in a sign of support to their compatriots in Kossovo.
About 200 Albanians gathered in front of the Embassy and shouted slogans such as “Kossovo means Albania”. As no one from the Embassy received them, they left after they deposited a resolution of protest at the gate.
 ROBIN COOK, MADELEINE ALBRIGHT ON KOSSOVO ISSUE
London, March 9 (MPA-AFP)Britain's Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, who is to chair today’s meeting of Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the United States, has stated that he hoped Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic would receive a "clear message" from the gathering, while US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, holding talks with her French counterpart Hubert Vedrine in Paris yesterday, called for a tough international crackdown on Serbia.
"I shall want to send a clear message to President Milosevic that the repression should stop and that Belgrade must open a political process to provide increased autonomy to Kosovo," Cook said in a communique.
Ms. Albright told reporters "the only effective way to stop violence in that region is to act with firmness, unity and speed."
Past experience, she said, showed that "moral condemnation and symbolic gestures of concern alone will get us nowhere.
"We must demonstrate to President Milosevic that he is losing more than he is gaining by continuing his present course of action," she said.
Meanwhile, in a first sign of the potential international impact of the crackdown, the BETA news agency in Belgrade reported that several thousand ethnic Albanian refugees have arrived in Montenegro.
Adding his voice to the international calls, Pope John Paul II on Sunday urged a rapid solution to the crisis.
 US STATE DEPARTMENT COORDINATOR FOR CYPRUS IN NICOSIA
Nicosia, March 9 (MPA)The special US State Department coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Miller, currently on a three-day visit to the island, met this morning with the President of the Republic of Cyprus Glafkos Clerides, prior to the latter’s departure for Greece.
Also present at the meeting were the Foreign Minister of Cyprus Yiannakis Kasoulides and Prosecutor General Alekos Makrides, while Mr. Miller, referring to the meeting, merely stated that it was “very good.”
In turn the American diplomat held talks with Cyprus’s commissioner for humanitarians affairs Takis Christopoulos.
Tomorrow, Mr. Miller is to meet with the Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and, after his visit to Cyprus, is scheduled to travel to Athens and Ankara.
 BRITAIN DOES NOT INTEND TO RETURN PARTHENON MARBLES, SAYS SMITH
London, March 9 (MPA)Britain’s Heritage Secretary Chris Smith has reiterated his government’s firm refusal to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, as published in yesterday’s edition of “Mail on Sunday”.
The article, titled “will we give in to the Greeks’ demands?”, quoting reports from the Heritage Ministry, wrote that Mr. Smith deems it quite likely what the Blair government will be obliged to look into the possibility of returning the marbles.
According to the article, the return will coincide with the Olympic Games of 2004, which are to be held in Athens, and with the inauguration of the new museum of Acropolis.
However, the article notes, “the issue has not been discussed with Prime Minister Toni Blair, in spite of the intense pressures exerted by Greece.”
According to the article, Mr. Smith is waiting for a formal request to be filed by UNESCO for the return of the Marbles to their land of origin.
“If this were to happen, then the pressures will be strong”, the article quoted Mr. Smith as having said, while adding that he assessed that a large number of Labor Party deputies will support the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.
Moreover, according to "Mail on Sunday", the British Secretary stated that abrupt refusal to return the Marbles, following the election victory of the Labor Party, was because the new cabinet did not want to appear weak. Since then, according to the article, Britain has relayed to the Greek government that the matter is moving along quite fast and that the possibility of satisfying its claim are greater if it displays patience.
Nevertheless, Secretary Smith has refuted the article, reiterating that the British government does not want the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens.
“In our opinion, their proper position is where they are now, that is the British Museum,” the Secretary of Heritage stated.
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