|Sunday, 17 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 98-03-31
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
BRIEF GREEK NEWS BULLETIN BY MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY
Thessaloniki, March 31, 1998
NEWS IN DETAIL
 SE EUROPE ECONOMY FORUM CONTINUES TODAY IN THESSALONIKIThe two-day forum on business and economic development in the Balkan region, continues in Thessaloniki today, featuring the participation of ministers, bankers, stockbrokers and industrialists from 13 countries.
The event, titled "Thessaloniki Forum: Greece and the Balkans: An Emerging Market in South-eastern Europe" is organized by the Northern Greek Industries Association (SBBE), Macedonia-Thrace Bank, and the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce. Yesterday, the United States ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns was also present at the forum where he was a keynote speaker. Today’s session will close with an address given by the National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.
Today’s speakers include the Ministers of Development Vaso Papandreou, Merchant Marine Stavros Soumakis, the undersecretary of Finance Nikos Christodoulakis, a number of Balkan ministers, the Secretary-general of the Greek Tourism Organization and the President of the Olympic Games Organizing Committee “Athens 2004” Stratis Stratigis.
Honorary speaker at today’s luncheon will be the deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria and Industry Minister Alexander Boshkov.
 O.A. EMPLOYEES REACT TO DRAFTBILL TABLED BEFORE TALKSThe Minister of Transport and Communications Tassos Mantelis tabled yesterday a draftbill in Parliament concerning the national air carrier’s (Olympic Airways) restructuring and future development, which provoked the airline’s president and managing director Theodoros Tsakiridis to submit his resignation in protest to the tabled draftbill.
The draftbill foresees a freezing of salaries at 1997 levels until 2000, as well as the abolition of a lodging allowance of 70,000 drachmas to ground staff.
Main opposition party spokesperson New Democracy’s Aris Spiliotopoulos stated that "the way in which OA's management was forced to resignation reveals the government's intentions, which followed an irrational policy."
He also called for the resignation of Mr. Mantelis. OA employees are to gather outside Parliament today in protest to the draftbill while the general confederation of Greek Labor has called for a three-hour work stoppage in all the state-owned enterprises.
 US AMBASSADOR ADDRESSES THESSALONIKI’S BUSINESS FORUMThe United States Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns was the keynote speaker yesterday at the opening of the Thessaloniki-held two-day forum on business and economic development in the Balkan region, titled "Thessaloniki Forum: Greece and the Balkans: An Emerging Market in South-eastern Europe".
Mr. Burns blamed Greek bureaucratic red tape, inflexible labor laws and bomb attacks against foreign firms for the unenthusiastic American investment in Greece.
Nevertheless, the American diplomat saluted Greece's leading role in the Balkans, one that has "exploited historic opportunities in the Balkans with good results."
He also referred to the port of Thessaloniki, saying that the government's announcement of its intent to privatize the port is a "move in the right direction. "
The US Ambassador also referred at length to the rampant copyright violations of foreign movies and music, as well as publishing firms, causing a loss of US$117 million to American companies last year alone.
Mr. Burns also stated that a climate of political stability must prevail in order to enable US firms to invest in Greece.
"Over past months five American firms in Greece sustained bomb attacks without any arrests being made. "I fear that if American and other foreign firms do not believe that authorities have both the ability and the will to protect foreign companies, investing confidence will be undermined. Foreign firms will not be established in your country unless security conditions are improved," he said.
 US AMBASSADOR’S SLIP OF THE TONGUE CAUSES A STIRAddressing the Thessaloniki-held two-day forum on business and economic development in the Balkan region, titled "Thessaloniki Forum: Greece and the Balkans: An Emerging Market in South-eastern Europe", the United States Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns referred to the residents of FYROM as “Macedonians”, and caused a stir in the room where Greek officials made no effort of hiding their displeasure.
After the event, the US Consulate in Thessaloniki issued a clarification-statement wherein it explained that Ambassador Burns used the word "Macedonians" by mistake, adding that it does not constitute a certain change in US policy, whose government "typically and officially refers to FYROM with the temporary name with which the country was accepted at the United Nations."
 NATIONAL DEFENSE MINISTER ON OFFICIAL VISIT TO RUSSIAThe Minister of National Defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos embarked on a three-day, official visit to Russia today, where he is scheduled to meet with Russian President Boris Yeltsin at noon and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexiy II.
Tomorrow, after laying a wreath at the Kremlin, the Minister will meet with the President of the Russian Duma, G. Selesniov, and will also visit the MIG aircraft factory.
On Thursday, he will meet the secretary of the Russian Security Council Kokoshin.
 TALKS FOR CYPRUS’S ACCESSION TO THE EU ESSENTIALLY START TODAYYesterday's commencement of negotiations for Cyprus' accession to the European Union has been described as the most important development in the island republic's history after gaining independence in 1960.
Greece’s Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Yiannos Kranidiotis stated that no official EU document links the island's membership with a solution of its problem with the Turkish-Cypriots and stressed that Greece would resist any attempt to that effect.
"If certain countries attempt to obstruct the accession of the island in case the Cyprus problem is not solved due to Turkey's intransigence, Greece will impede the European Union enlargement with the remaining countries," he said.
 TURKISH TYCOON ADDRESSES BUSINESS FORUM IN THESSALONIKITurkish tycoon Rahmi Koc addressed the Thessaloniki- held business forum on business and economic development in the Balkan region, titled "Thessaloniki Forum: Greece and the Balkans: An Emerging Market in South-eastern Europe" yesterday, where he saluted Greek-Turkish friendship and business cooperation.
Mr. Koc said that a pipeline project to transport oil and natural gas from the ex-Soviet Union through Turkey to western markets would have a positive impact on Greece by offering an alternative route for energy supplies.
He further added that Greece and Turkey were setting an example to other Balkan states in economic growth and market adjustment to western European standards, and urged both countries to put aside their political differences.
 GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER ON CYPRUS’S EU ACCESSIONGreek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, in Brussels yesterday where he attended the opening of talks for Cyprus’s accession to the European Union, stated both the Greek and the Cypriot governments have the same views in regards to the installation of the Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles to the island.
Mr. Pangalos stated that the discussions he held during his recent visit to the United States were known to the Cypriot government, and that the views he expressed to US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright regarding the island's demilitarization were fully in accordance with the framework of Cypriot positions.
Commenting on his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem's recent statements and visit -conducted yesterday- to the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus, Mr. Pangalos noted that perhaps their timing had not been the best.
As for Turkey's relations with the EU, Mr. Pangalos said that there was currently a gap of views on what exactly the '15' had proposed to that country at the Luxembourg summit last December.
 BRITISH FM ENDORSES CYRPUS’S ACCESSION TO EUThe Foreign Minister of Britain and current European Union Council President Robin Cook has reiterated his support for Cyprus' EU candidacy, and expressed regret over the Turkish-Cypriot leadership's rejection of Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides' "reasonable and balanced" invitation to participate in accession talks.
"Cyprus has every right to ask for its accession to the European Union, its candidacy is strong, and despite the fact that we would have preferred the Turkish- Cypriots to participate in the negotiations, the Nicosia government must not be punished for (Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash's refusal to come to negotiations," he stated yesterday at a press conference.
 YUGOSLAV DEPUTY PM ADDRESSES THESSALONIKI’S FORUMThe Deputy Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Danko Junic addressed the Thessaloniki-held business forum on business and economic development in the Balkan region, titled "Thessaloniki Forum: Greece and the Balkans: An Emerging Market in South-eastern Europe" yesterday, where he outlined the burdens suffered by his country from the economic sanctions imposed by the international community.
According to Mr. Junic, the economic damage from the embargoes amounted to six billion dollars over the past six years, however this figure increases significantly when sanctions over the following five years were taken into account due to Belgrade's inability to guarantee loans or credits.
He also added that the sanctions had an impact on education and health, while the ailing economic climate has brought on an increase in crime.
Yugoslavia had recovered 60 per cent of the gross national product it had at the end of the 1980s, and per capita income was between 1,700-1,800 dollars, he said.
"Without economic reforms there can be no development and without development the conditions for real democracy, freedom of expression and all the other factors considered the primary characteristics of contemporary democracies cannot exist," Mr. Junic said.
Without the cooperation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - the third largest country in the region, cooperation in southeastern Europe could not succeed, he said.
 GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER COMMENTS ON CYPRUS’ ACCESSION TO EUGerman Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel told a Frankfurt daily that he could “only imagine with difficulty a divided Cyprus becoming a member of the European Union.”
Mr. Kinkel added that "for this reason we must contribute to the resolution of the Cyprus problem and all interested parties must show goodwill and a desire to cooperate."
The German minister also expressed his view that the Cyprus issue is a particularly difficult problem, and said that the EU’s decision to start entry negotiations with Cyprus was due to "very strong pressure" exerted by Greece.
"At any rate, the decision is now made, and we must now assume its responsibility. For this reason, we must now also break the deadlock between Greece and Turkey," he said.
Meanwhile, German diplomatic sources described as "unproductive" the implementation of an 'association agreement' announced between Turkey and the Turkish- Cypriot pseudo-state, also expressing the hope that "things will not be pushed to the extreme".
A de jure incorporation of "northern Cyprus to Turkey would be a completely unacceptable action" for the international community, and particularly so for the European Union, and would clearly constitute a good reason for "further alienation," the same sources said.
 WASHINGTON OPPOSED TO INSTALLATION OF S-300 IN CYPRUSUS State Department spokesperson James Rubin has reiterated the Clinton Administration’s opposition to the installation of the Russian-made anti-aircraft S-300 missiles to Cyprus. As well as the possibility that they may end up in Greece.
Moreover, Mr. Rubin stated that he is not aware of any reports of a possible transfer of these missiles to Greece, albeit he added that if this were to happen it could have serious consequences and this should be made clear to all of the involved sides.
 CYPRIOT FM COMMENTS ON ISLAND’S ACCESSION TO THE EUThe European Union embarks today on accession talks with Cyprus and five other countries from Eastern Europe, this being the first round of entrance negotiations.
The talks with Cyprus, Poland, Estonia, Slovenia, Hungary and the Czech Republic are to center on these countries’ ability to fulfill the economic and political criteria for accession to the Union.
Cypriot Foreign Minister Yiannakis Kasoulides is expected to extend the Cypriot President’s (Glakfos Clerides) regret over the refusal of his invitation to the Turkish-Cypriots for participation at the talks and to reiterate the invitation.
Mr. Kasoulides stated that the island’s accession is to be to the benefit of Cyprus’ both communities.
 YES TO NUCLEAR ENERGY, BUT ONLY THROUGH REGULATIONSOne of the most renowned nuclear physicists in the United States, the MIT’s Greek-American professor Elias Gyftopoulos, spoke to the Macedonian Press Agency on the advantages of nuclear energy and the importance of its regulated use.
Referring to the issue of security of nuclear reactors, specifically the Chernobyl plant, Mr. Gyftopoulos stated that the overall security in nuclear plants is satisfactory, but differentiated his view over Chernobyl. “Chernobyl is an exception since it was the worst type of plant that could have been designed.
“Not all Russian reactors are made like the ones in Chernobyl,” he explained. “It’s like a plane flying. If the plane‘s operator does not make use of the control systems, then the plane will crash. If the turbines stop, the plane will crash. The case of Chernobyl was much like that. It needed continuous watch, of both the operation and the conditions of the reactor’s operation. For some reason. The workers (at Chernobyl) decided to experiment and overlook the regulation, which is what led to the accident.
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/