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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 98-05-11
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, May 11, 1998
NEWS IN DETAIL
 WEU MEETING BEGINS IN RHODES TODAY
Rhodes, May 11 (MPA)The two-day conference of the Western European Union’s Defense and Foreign Ministers is to begin at the island of Rhodes today.
Greece, which is presently holding the WEU’s six- month rotating presidency, will be represented by the Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos. The participants at the conference are to set forth the issue of Kossovo and the need to take measures in order to avert a worsening of the crisis, while NATO secretary- general is to discuss the Confidence Building Measures over the Aegean Sea with the Defense Ministers of Greece and Turkey. Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Minister has stated that he will not bring up his country’s accusations that the PKK has set up offices in Greece.
 FOREIGN UNDERSECRETARY IN WASHINGTON
Washington, May 11 (MPA)Greece’s undersecretary of Foreign Affairs is currently visiting Washington where he is to hold talks regarding the Cyprus problem. Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides is to also travel to Washington on May 20. Meanwhile, in an interview with a Greek daily yesterday, the US special coordinator for the Cyprus issue Thomas Miller expressed his fears of the possibility if a warm incident taking place either in or in the Aegean.
 ALL GREEK BANKS TO BE CLOSED TODAY
Thessaloniki, May 11 (MPA)All of Greece's banks are to be closed today in protest of the state's decision to privatize Ionian Bank, a subsidiary of the state-run Commercial Bank.
National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou stated that the government decided to sell Ionian Bank on the grounds that it could not remain competitive in the domestic banking sector under its present status. Moreover, he said that the option to merge Ionian Bank with Commercial Bank - its main shareholder - was rejected as carrying a greater social and economic cost. Ionian is Greece's fourth largest commercial bank, with assets of 2.2 trillion drachmas and a 7.2 per cent share in the domestic banking market, holding round 6 per cent of loans and 7.5 per cent of deposits nationwide.
The bank has about 4,350 employees and 220 branches throughout the country.
 RICHARD HOLBROOKE’S MEETINGS IN BELGRADE BEAR NO RESULTS
Belgrade, May 11 (MPA)United States presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke’s meetings in Belgrade with Serb President Slobodan Milosevic and in Tirana with the leader of Kossovo’s Albanian community Ibrahim Rugova has born no results, as Mr. Milosevic has "made it clear he does not want an international negotiator." Mr. Holbrooke told reporters that he had "no idea" about how to resolve the Kosovo crisis and was concerned after the Albanians warned him that "violence is spreading like wildfire." At least 150 people have been killed in fighting between Serbian police and guerrillas of the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) this year.
 NEW ROUND OF TALKS BETWEEN HOLBROOKE, MILOSEVIC
Belgrade, May 11 (MPA)United States presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke and his assistant Robert Gelbard are to meet with Serb President Slobodan Milosevic in Belgrade today, for another round of talks regarding the Kossovo crisis. The American diplomats met with Mr. Milosevic on Friday and traveled to Prishtina and Tirana yesterday where they met with the leader of the Albanian community of Kossovo Ibrahim Rugova. Msgrs. Holbrooke and Gelbard stated that the United States respect Yugoslavia’s territorial integrity but added that the Kossovo issue is far more complex than that of Bosnia since “both the Serbs and the Albanians set forth history-based arguments regarding Kossovo’s reign.” They likened the Kossovo crisis with the situation in Jerusalem.
 GREEK FOREIGN AND DEFENSE MINISTERS AT THE WEU CONFERENCE
Rhodes, May 11 (MPA)Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos is currently at the island of Rhodes today, accompanied by alternate foreign Minister George Papandreou, in order to take part a the Western European Union conference. Yesterday, Mr. Pangalos stated there were "certain thoughts on the WEU playing some role" in defusing the Kossovo situation, focusing on the parameters "that could lead to the problem spreading, such as weapons trafficking and the unchecked activity of armed bands".
He added that we will have to see what the intentions of our other colleagues are and, chiefly, what the general disposition is towards giving the WEU a role comparable to that (played) in Albania, for example. "
Greece’s Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos has stated that the Western European Union is now becoming a more effective instrument for ensuring peace and stability in Europe than it was in the past, given the tripartite relationship between the European Union, the WEU and NATO. "The WEU will gradually, on the basis of that defined by the Amsterdam treaty, become the defense arm of the European Union while at the same time it constitutes the European pillar of the North Atlantic Alliance," Mr. Tsochatzopoulos said. WEU Secretary-General Jose Cutilheiro, NATO Secretary- General Javier Solana as well as EU Commissioner responsible for foreign affairs Hans van den Broek will be among the participants at the meeting, the first hosted by Greece as the holder of the current rotating six-month presidency. Greece became a full WEU member in March 1995. Issues to be discussed by 56 foreign and defense ministers from WEU member- states, associate members and observer states include the organization's role and prospects after the Amsterdam and Madrid summits, the WEU's role in the management of crises and upgrading its operational capabilities.
The WEU has 10 full members -- Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal and Greece. The five other EU members - Austria, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Ireland - are observers and NATO members Iceland, Turkey and Norway are associate WEU members. Ten East European neighbors of the EU are ``associate partners.''
 ALBANIAN PM SAYS NO TO UNILATERAL PROPOSALS ON KOSSOVO
Tirana, May 11 (MPA)Speaking to the Macedonian Press Agency, Albania’s Prime Minister Fatos Nano stated that his country will not accept unilateral initiatives regarding Kossovo. Responding to a question on the influence he holds over Kossovo’s Albanians, Mr. Nano stated that he trusts the new generation’s maturity, displayed through the young people’s return to the schools.
 GREECE SWEEPS 29 MEDALS IN “ACROPOLIS” WORLD SWIM MEET
Athens, May 11 (MPA)Greece’s swept seven gold, 10 silver and 12 bronze medals during the 12th international swim meet “Acropolis” held in Athens. Specifically, in the men’s races, Greece won gold and silver at the 100-meter Butterfly Heat, gold, silver and bronze at the 200-meter freestyle and bronze at the 200 backstroke. In women, Greece earned silver in the 100 freestyle and bronze in the 200 butterfly.
 HOLY SYNOD CONVENES UNDER ARCHBISHOP CHRISTODOULOS
Athens, May 11 (MPA)The Holy Synod is convening today for the first time under leadership of the newly-elected Archbishop of Athens and All of Greece Christodoulos, with whom it will review religious matters. Tomorrow, the Archbishop will meet with Prime Minister Kostas Simitis and the two are expected to discuss relations between church and state.
 GENERAL INDEX DROPS BY 6.53%
Athens, May 11 (MPA)The Greek stock market’s general index ended 6.53 percent lower at the close of last week, accompanied by bond liquidation and price restructuring. Banks plunged 3.35 percent, Insurance fell 1.87 percent, Investment was 3.47 percent off, Leasing dropped 1.56 percent, Industrials ended 2.79 percent down and Construction rose 0.50 percent.
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/