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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 98-09-14
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, September 14, 1998
NEWS IN DETAIL
 MPA’S CONFERENCE ON RIGAS FEREOS
Thessaloniki September 14 (MPA)Over fifty delegates met in Thessaloniki on September 11-12 on the occasion of the Macedonian Press Agency’s conference on “The effect of the ideas of Rigas Velestinlis on the countries of south-eastern Europe and the need for Inter-Balkan cooperation today”. Following are excerpts of some of the ideas that were dispersed during the two-day conference:
The President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos stated in his salutation: “Rigas Fereos was a pioneer in the field of what we know today as inter-Balkan cooperation.
“His activity in the national uprisings of the Danube- bordering hegemonies is famous. That is where he embarked from in order restoring freedom in Greece and that is where he conceived the idea for the formation of a Balkan federation.
“With his revolutionary declarations, the Chart, the Thurios, he struggled for freedom until his death. The scientists participating in the inter-Balkan conference will develop their points of view on “the influence of the ideas of Rigas Fereos in the countries of Southeastern Europe and on the need of inter- Balkan cooperation today” thereby granting new dimensions on the assessment of this national martyr’s work under the present time’s prism. Prime minister Kostas Simitis sent the following message: “Two hundred years have passed since the death of Rigas and his deeply revolutionary and humanitarian ideas are more applicable today than ever before. Our country, as a member of the European Union and within the framework of political friendship and cooperation with all the Balkan countries on an equal basis has become the main stability factor in this sensitive region. Its diplomatic initiatives for the peaceful settlement of crisis and disputes have won international recognition. I believe that it is the common belief of all the Balkan states that there can be no peace, stability and security in the region without regional cooperation. This regional cooperation must be promoted by all the countries together. An Inter-Balkan cooperation that will not be an occasional one but one that will be consolidated on a permanent basis. An Inter-Balkan cooperation that will be based on self-evident principles: The state of Law, the protection of Human Rights, the inviolability of the borders and territorial integrity, the respect of International Law and the respect of international treaties.
Greece’s Foreign Minister Theodros Pangalos forwarded his salutation in which he stated that the Conference “the influence of the ideas of Rigas Velestinlis on the countries of Southeastern Europe and the need for interbalkan cooperation today”, is a truly laudable initiative undertaken by the Macedonian Press Agency. The leader of Greece’s main opposition party, New Democracy’s Kostas Karamanlis stated that The name of Rigas constitutes, even to our day, a point of reference synonymous with freedom, democracy, equal rights regardless of nationality, the State of Justice, religious tolerance and opposition to tyranny. “Today, in the once-again disturbed Peninsula, we cogently recognize the need to review, adopt and enforce the idea of the modern Greek Enlightener. A need served by your Conference. Holding the said Conference in Thessaloniki, a center of Greek and Byzantine culture with significant cultural influence on the Balkan region, bears its own symbolism,” Mr. Karamanlis said, adding that the Association of Balkan News Agencies provides an interesting and dynamic example of the possibilities for cooperation.”
Albanian foreign minister Paskal Milo characterized Slobodan Milosevic as a “democratic dictator” saying that the Yugoslav leader can not bring democracy to Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
Mr. Milo stressed that the crisis in Kosovo is a problem concerning all the Balkan peoples and not just the Albanians and the Serbs. He said that it is a regional crisis and at the same time a European one and added that “The philosophy and practice of the Serb-Albanian cohabitation in Kosovo is so badly compromised that it is difficult to think that it will have a future. But the great challenges can be faced even when it seems that there is no way out”. Shortly afterwards, Serb minister of information Alexander Vucic responding to the accusations launched by Mr. Milo stressed that Albania tolerates on its territory -if not backing- terrorist training camps and does nothing to stop the illegal arms trade.
Mr. Vucic expressed the hope that the Albanian side will sit at the negotiating table in the immediate future for the sake of true peace and unity in the Balkans.
In his speech the Serb minister of information accused the foreign mass media of misinformation by creating news that present the Serbs as those who are mainly responsible for all bad and need to be punished. He said that part of the blame belongs to the Balkan reporters who are proven to be equally prone to spreading “false news”. Bulgarian undersecretary of culture Svetlozar Zekov stated that the word “accession” has become fashionable since the start of the unification of Europe, adding that it would be best if the unification is not just economic and political but cultural as well. He referred to the activities of Bulgaria’s National Book Center and to its cooperation with Greece’s respective center and suggested that the countries of the region should undertake an initiative for a Balkan cultural agreement aimed at promoting literature as well as, for the publication of a multi-lingual Balkan literature magazine under the auspices of UNESCO.
Croat professor of modern Greek language Vesna Kurelec referred to the ideas of Rigas and the Croat enlightenment and stressed that his premature death overshadowed his role as a linguistic reformist.
Bulgarian ambassador to Athens, student of Rigas’ ideas and literary man Kiril Topalov characterized Rigas as a Balkan typological phenomenon of his time. Romanian professor specializing in Balkan issues Alexandru Firescu referred to the Romanian translators and poets who had Rigas as a model. Dimokrition University of Thrace Ioannis Papadrianos stated that Rigas based on his descent belongs exclusively to Greece but his revolutionary work concerned all the Balkan peoples, adding that his tragic death had a deep effect to the Serb literary world and especially to Nobel prize winner Ivo Andric.
Konstantin Badea, general director of Romania’s Rompress news agency, spoke on “The Nation within the Context of Globalization”. “Globalization,” he stated, “through telecommunications, transport, commerce, mass media -especially TV- and other technological advances, requires imperatively, beyond human will, the disappearance of the nation state an of the nation. That’s one of the prevailing world ideology and current Western ideology. We, in the former Communist countries, are very familiar with this school of thought, only under a different name: it was called “proletarian internationalism” DAJC EDUARD, a member of the Scientific Society for History in Serbia, spoke on “the influence of Balkan Confrontations on Rigas Ideas and Rigas Influence on Balkan Cooperation.”
In his address, Mr. Eduard stated that “Rigas work was concentrated on cooperation of Balkan Nations which is the only way that leads our peninsula to real liberation from, in most cases destructive, influence of outer powers. Balkan to Balkan nations was Rigas and should be our motto.” PANAYOT DENEV, general director of Bulgarian news agency BTA, spoke on “Balkan News: The (Im)Possible Genre”. He stated that the main question is whether objective information about the Balkans has reached, is reaching and will be reaching the democratic world - which now usually means Europe and North America. “Do news flow from our troubled lands differ depending on how they reach the rest of the world: mediated or unmediated? And if mediation is inevitable, who are the intermediaries and how do they do their job? I purposefully use the term "genre" in defiance of theory of literature, because I regard truth and falsehood as distinct manners and styles of news-reporting journalism. Professional news reporting and propaganda are poles apart.” MEHMET GULER, general director of Turkey’s “Anadolu” news agency, spoke on “The role of the Press for the Inter-balkan Cooperation Today”.
He said that the Balkan peninsula, which is at the southeastern part of Europe, has become the stage for political unrest due to its strategic status for ages. The Balkans, which was effected by immigration as it is situated in the transit route from Asia to Europe, has also been the arena of various civilizations.
“Although appropriate opportunities came out after the cold- war period concerning the installation of a new period at the bases of friendship and cooperation by the abolishment of both blocks that divided the Balkans and also by the disappearance of political and ideological impediments, these opportunities could not be benefited well due to some negative conditions occurred in the region.” MARIUS PETREAN, spoke on the “The Balkans: Unfulfilled dreams of Rigas Fereos”, and stated that Rigas was not only an outstanding figure for Greek history but also for the whole South-East European region. “It is, I believe, the duty of historians but also a duty of the media. I therefore sincerely welcome the initiative of this Conference -a right step in the right direction.
Rigas Fereos was a man of action but also a visionary, a dreamer. Many historians and even politicians pointed out that his revolution and humanitarian ideas are as actual as ever. Influenced by the French Revolution and the ideals of Enlightenment, Rigas used the texts of French manifestos and constitutions to draw up the Statutory Charta of the Hellenic Republic. But Rigas went well beyond the declarations of the French Revolution. He recognized political and individual rights for the citizen rather than for groups of citizens, such as minorities. Svetlana Slapsak, Prof. at I Ljubljana Postgraduate School in Humanities, spoke on The Legacy of Rigas Velestinlis: The Balkan School for Delicate Lovers.
“Towards the end of the 18th century, the passion for new knowledge, education and justice pushed intellectuals and aspiring students from the Balkans, among them Dositej Obradovi from the Serbian parts under the Austrian Empire, toward the Western cultures and Western cultural and academic centres. The same passion pushed Rigas Velestinlis to study, translate and adapt texts by French authors, certainly the main source of intellectual incentives and democratic ideas of the time.”
 JOURNALISM AWARDS “RIGAS VELESTINLIS”
Thessaloniki, September 14 (MPA)The Macedonian Press Agency’s two-day conference honoring the bicentennial anniversary since the death of Rigas Velestinlis came to a close with the signing of a declaration that calls on the Balkan countries’ governments to take the necessary measures that would create a climate of understanding, mutual acquaintance, and cooperation. The fifty delegates saluted the proposals submitted by Greek and foreign academics and journalists which call for the creation of an inter-Balkan school of journalism headquarters in Thessaloniki as well as for the establishment of awards named after Rigas Velestinlis which would be bestowed upon the year’s best news stories, commentaries and sketches in the Balkan region.
The declaration reads as follows: We, the politicians, academics, historians and journalists participating in the Interbalkan conference organized by the Macedonian Press Agency in Thessaloniki, on September 11-12, 1998 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the death of the visionary of Interbalkan cooperation Rigas Velestinlis, believing that his ideas will remain alive and topical as ever in our days, declare that the unfortunate phenomena of nationalism and racism occurring in our region once again do not reflect the mentality or history of Balkan peoples and Rigas.
Considering that the governments of the countries of the region can resolve existing problems through dialogue, cooperation and developing peaceful co-existence and friendly neighbourliness, we would like to invite the Governments of the countries of SE Europe to help with measures to encourage the cultivation of a good climate of deliberation, mutual acquaintance and mutual understanding of our peoples.
We would like to warmly greet the efforts of all governments who strive for the timely accession of all Balkan states in the E.U. As we are certain that with the integration of all Balkan countries in the European family, the reinforcement of democratization and economic development within the framework of United Europe all problems troubling the Balkan countries today will be overcome. Thus, the vision and desires of the pan-Balkanic national activist will be realized.
As a first step in that direction we second the proposal for the creation of an Interbalkan Journalism School based in Thessaloniki with branches in all Balkan States organized by the Macedonian Press Agency. We also propose the institutionalization of journalistic prizes named “Rigas Velestinlis” to be awarded to the best reportages, articles and cartoons of the year.
 ALBANIA ROCKED BY MURDER OF DEMOCRATIC PARTY DEPUTY HIDARI
Tirana, September 14 (MPA)Albania is on the brink of another crisis following the murder of opposition Democratic Party deputy Azem Hidari in Tirana on Saturday. Episodes erupted at Tirana, costing the life on one and injuring three others, when Democratic Party followers tried to enter the Public Order Ministry and the office of the Prime Minister Fatos Nano.
 ALBANIAN PM, PRESIDENT CONDEMN KILLING, APPEAL FOR CALM
Tirana, September 14 (MPA)Albanian Prime Minster Fatos Nano and President Rejep Meidani have condemned the killing of opposition deputy Azem Hidari on Saturday and appealed for calm. Mr Meidani said the authorities would do their utmost to arrest those responsible for the killing.
Mr. Nano, who has held all-night meetings with his cabinet members has not responded to the democratic Party leader Sali Berisha’s deadline calling for his resignation, although he has implied that he dopes not intent to leave the post. He blamed Mr. Berisha of being behind the violent incidents that erupted after the assassination and characterized the murder as a “barbarian act.” Earlier, Mr. Berisha, alleged that the government had ordered Mr. Hidari's assassination.
 ALBANIA: SALI BERISHA SPEAKS TO THE MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY
Tirana, September 14 (MPA)The leader of Albania’s main opposition Democratic Party Sali Berisha spoke to the Macedonian Press Agency in an exclusive interview following Saturday’s murder of his party’s deputy Azem Hidari, whose funeral is to take place this morning in Tirana.
Mr. Berisha stated that he has given Albanian Prime Minster Fatos Nano and his cabinet a deadline of one hour after the funeral to resign from the post.
Mr. Berisha told the MPA that Prime Minster Nano is responsible for the deputy’s murder as well as for the aftermath. He stressed that if the government does not resign after the one- hour deadline, then it shall bear responsibility for anything hat might take place. Mr. Nano in turn blamed the Democratic Party leader and called on the Albanian people not to allow the country to return to previous eras.
 THESSALONIKI’S 63RD INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR COMES TO A CLOSE TODAY
Thessaloniki, September 14 (MPA)The run of Thessaloniki’s 63rd International Trade Fair comes to a close today, having reached a record number of visitors this year. The Fair served as a meeting point for the Balkan business world, as well as for businesspersons from southeast Europe, and illustrated Thessaloniki’s leadership role in the region.
 MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY’S CONFERENCE ON RIGAS WAS A SUCCESS
Thessaloniki, September 14 (MPA)The Macedonian Press Agency's two-day conference honoring the bicentennial anniversary since the death of Rigas Velestinlis came to a close with the signing of a declaration that calls on the Balkan countries' governments to take the necessary measures that would create a climate of understanding, mutual acquaintance, and cooperation. The fifty delegates saluted the proposals submitted by Greek and foreign academics and journalists which call for the creation of an inter-Balkan school of journalism headquarters in Thessaloniki as well as for the establishment of awards named after Rigas Velestinlis which would be bestowed upon the year's best news stories, commentaries and sketches in the Balkan region.
 FINNISH PRESIDENT TO ARRIVE ON OFFICIAL VISIT TO ATHENS TODAY
Athens, September 14 (MPA)Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari will pay an official visit to Greece from September 14 to 17, his first visit to Athens, taking place in return of a visit to Finland by Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos in November 1996. Apart from issues of a bilateral nature, discussions are expected to focus on the recent developments in Russia, the situation in Kossovo and the Balkans and issues relating to the European Union in view of Finland taking up the union's rotating presidency in the second half of 1999. Before leaving Greece, the Finnish official will pay a short visit to Crete, from where he will depart for Helsinki.
 US ATACAMS MISSILES DELIVERED TO THESSALONIKI
Thessaloniki, September 14 (MPA)Five ground-to-ground Atacams missiles were delivered to Thessaloniki yesterday from the United States, this being the first consignment of a 19-billion drachma order for 40 such missiles. The delivery ceremony was attended by National Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos and the chief of Greek army staff, Lieutenant- General Manoussos Parayoudakis. The state-of-the-art missiles will be used by the army and have a range of 165 kilometers. The all-weather missiles are designed to hit high-priority targets including administrative and control installations and munitions depots, launched from mobile M270 units.
 ECONOMY MINISTER ANNOUNCES POSSIBLE REDUCTION OF TAXES NEXT YEAR
Athens, September 14 (MPA)The Minister of National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou announced yesterday that the government may lower taxes in 1999 in order to reduce inflation and thus facilitating the country’s entry into the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). "The possibility of lowering taxes is being examined. If there is room for a reduction in 1999 this will happen so that inflation may fall and the country enter EMU," Mr. Papantoniou stated. The government has set January 1, 2001 as the latest entry date into the European Union's single currency.
 IRAN CRITICIZES TURKISH MILITARY COOPERATION WITH ISRAEL
Tehran, September 14 (MPA)Iranian president, Mohammed Khatami, criticized Turkish military cooperation with Israel during his Tehran-held talks with the Turkish foreign minister, Ismail Cem. According to press reports, President Khatami stated that Israel was an aggressive country and Turkey had no need to cooperate with it. Mr. Cem replied that relations between Turkey and Israel were not aimed at the interests of any of the countries in the region.
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/