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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 98-10-14
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, October 14, 1998
NEWS IN DETAIL
 SECOND ROUND OF LOCAL ELECTIONS TO BE HELD THIS SUNDAY
Thessaloniki, October 14 (MPA)Government officials are getting ready for the second round of municipal and county elections to be held this weekend. While the current in New Democracy remained high, due to the fact that its candidates have the lead in most municipalities, supporters of the ruling PASOK party are standing by their policy, amid comments that the message from voters was received. Democratic Movement leader Dimitris Tsovolas called his supporters to vote by conscience. He said, "We should vote under the criteria of the candidate's reliability and of whether their programs are progressive or not". In Thessaloniki, New Democracy-backed Vassilis Papageorgopoulos won 44.3 per cent of the vote, compared to the 31.3 per cent pulled in by PASOK's Thrasivoulos Lazarides. That gives Papageorgopoulos reason to hope for victory in the run off against Lazarides. The 15 per cent of voters who chose the Left and Progress Coalition candidate Spyros Vougias in last Sunday's race will be crucial in determining the outcome of the run off.
 1999 BUDGET FINALIZED TODAY BY GOVERNMENT
Athens, October 14 (MPA)The government’s finance and economy staff are to finalize the state budget for 1999, in a conference headed by National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.
Mr. Papantoniou announced yesterday that the government will press on with its austerity program, stressing that the results oft he local elections are not to affect the state’s policy.
According to reports, the state is looking to reduce the Value Added Tax on the electricity bills by 10%. Moreover, the government plans to reduce indirect taxes on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages.
 PACKAGE OF MEASURES TAKEN FOR KOSSOVO
Belgrade, October 14 (MPA)Belgrade has announced that it will adopt a package of measures that will lead to a solution to the political crisis in Kossovo.
Serb President Slobodan Milosevic is expected to soon sign agreements with both NATO and the OSCE which will allow international missions into Kossovo.
 NATO’S “DYNAMIC MIX ’98 ENDS IN NORTHERN GREECE
Thessaloniki, October 14 (MPA)NATO’S military exercise "Dynamic Mix 1998" ended yesterday in northern Greece with the participation of the Alliance's members in Greece, Italy and Turkey simultaneously. . Konstantinos Panagiotakis, commander of the First Army, said that yesterday’s "NATO exercise aim was to keep and impose peace in a certain region, to support peacekeeping efforts". The plan of the exercise was to defend refugee camps
 AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR TO ARRIVE IN ATHENS TOMORROW
Vienna, October 14 (MPA)Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima is expected to arrive on an official visit to Athens tomorrow, as part of a tour of all European Union capitals. Mr. Klima, who will be received by Greek Premier Kostas Simitis, currently holds the EU's rotating presidency.
 ATHENS-HELD CONFERENCE TO ADDRESS COMPUTER MILLENNIUM BUG
Athens, October 14 (MPA)The Greek Management Association, in cooperation with the European Council of Management, is to host a two-day conference beginning tomorrow concerning the various ways to address the computer millennium bug in the year 2000.
Minister of the Interior Alekos Papadopoulos and the managing director of Commercial Bank of Greece, George Michelis are to address the event, which will be held this Thursday and Friday, October 15-16, and which will be inaugurated by the British Ambassador to Athens Sir Michael Llewellyn-Smith. The conference will present solutions to the millennium bug applied by international corporations in sectors including industry and services. The bug will cause many computers to fail by reading the date 2000 as 1900 because computer software programmers have abbreviated each year to the two final digits in order to save computer memory. The conference is being held under the aegis of the British Embassy in Athens.
 GREEK GOVERNMENT SALUTES HOLBROOKE-MILOSEVIC AGREEMENT
Athens, October 14 (MPA)The Greek government has saluted the agreement reached yesterday between Serb President Slobodan Milosevic and US presidential envoy Richard Holbrooke concerning in Kossovo Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated that the agreement was welcomed with a sense of relief, which, as seen by the statement issued at the end of the Antalya summit, is shared by all the countries of the region. “Greece hails the agreement reached by Messrs. Holbrooke and Milosevic for ending the crisis in Kossovo. In this framework, it calls on the Kosovar leadership under Mr. (Ibrahim) Rugova to proceed to the process of peace-making, and on UCK to now show the courage required by peace," he said in a statement. Moreover, he added that "Greece congratulates the architects of the agreement, President Milosevic and Mr. Holbrooke. It draws, however, attention to how near the danger of the conflagration drew and how all margins for negotiation had to be exhausted. "The Greek side will make all efforts for the peace process to succeed. As in the past, Greece will participate with men and means in the organs that will be set up, particularly in the "Compliance Verifying Mission" of the OSCE, which constitutes the catalytic expression of Prime Minister Kostas Simitis' initiative last June. "Greece believes in the favorable outcome of this process, which also constitutes an indisputable vindication of its Balkan policy, and calls on its friends and partners in Europe and the neighboring region to join forces in this great task," Mr. Reppas concluded.
 GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER AT EUROPEAN SOCIALIST PARTY’S PRESIDIUM
Brussels, October 14 (MPA)Greece’s Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos and deputy Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis participated in the European Socialist Party's (ESP) presidium meeting held in Brussels yesterday. The participants examined the prospects for European socialists in light of June’s European Parliament elections. Speaking to reporters, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos said that after a briefing by British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook on the agreement reached between US mediator Richard Holbrooke and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, the Presidium dealt with the proclamation of the European socialists. Mr. Tsochatzopoulos said that the target of yesterday's discussion was the adjustment of European socialists to new factors and exceeding traditional structures and formations existing in the past. He said that the present dialogue showed that there are strong views by several representatives of socialist parties, including Greece, who want a traditional depositing of the principles and values of the socialist movement in Europe.
 ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH VARTHOLOMEOS VISITS AUSCHWITZ IN POLAND
Warsaw, October 14 (MPA)Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos visited the WWII Auschwitz- Birkenau concentration camps yesterday as part of his visit to Poland. The Patriarch stated that Nazism was a "foul religion that penetrates the brain of some people". On Sunday the Patriarch held a joint mass with Polish Catholic clergy in Warsaw, while he later awarded Orthodoxy's highest distinction to Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and Prime Minister Jerzy Bouzek.
 MILOSEVIC AND HOLBROOKE REACH AGREEMENT OVER KOSSOVO
Belgrade, October 14 (MPA)United States Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke and Serb President Slobodan Milosevic have reached an agreement that could lead to an end of the Kossovo crisis. Specifically, as per the agreement, Mr. Milosevic must take four steps: withdraw special troops from Kossovo, sign an agreement on the verification mission, sign an agreement on airborne reconnaissance over Kosovo and hammer out a ``framework agreement'' by November 9 outlining future talks with ethnic Albanians. Mr. Holbrooke confirmed that Belgrade is willing to allow the 2,000-strong verification mission by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The force will be supported by non-combat aircraft carrying out aerial surveillance over the Serb province. Mr. Holbrooke said the OSCE mission will have freedom of movement and has been given guarantees of security by Belgrade. He added that NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana is expected to fly to Yugoslavia in the next few days. Mr. Holbrooke said he hoped the deal would lead the way to "autonomy and self-determination" for the people of Kosovo.
But he also warned: "We're not out of the emergency yet. We're still in it." President Milosevic told the nation in a television address that the accord removed the threat of military intervention. He added that “the agreements ... are entirely in accordance with the interests of our country,'' and cited`` enormous pressures that we have been exposed to.''
 UN SECRETARY-GENERAL PLEASED WITH HOLBROOKE-MILOSEVIC DEAL
New York, October 14 (MPA)United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has stated that he warmly welcomes the news of a breakthrough in efforts to end the Kosovo crisis. "It is of paramount importance that both sides in Kossovo honor their commitments and fully comply with the provisions of Security Council resolutions 1160 and 1199," Mr. Annan said in a statement, adding that he intends to send a mission to the region in the coming days in response to a request from the Security Council. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the leading humanitarian agency on the ground in Kossovo, welcomed the report of the agreement and said it hopes that the reported agreement will contribute rapidly to reducing the level of fear which is impeding so many displaced persons from returning to their homes.