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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 99-02-04
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, February 4, 1999
NEWS IN DETAIL
 GREEK PREMIER TO MEET WITH NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL TODAY
Athens, February 4 (MPA)NATO's Secretary-General Javier Solana is presently in Athens where he will be received by the Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, as well as the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Theodoros Pangalos and Defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos.
Among the topics of discussion will be the latest developments in Kosovo, the Alliance's new structure and the course of Greek-Turkish relations.
Mr. Solana is presently touring the capital cities of the Alliance's member-states, in light of the Summit conference to be held at Washington in April. A.F.
 STUDENTS TO CONDUCT PROTEST RALLIES TOMORROW
Thessaloniki, February 4 (MPA)A new round of rallies, expected to be the last one, is to be held tomorrow throughout the country by students who are opposed to the academic reforms introduced by the state.
Members of the student co-ordinating committees have announced that the future course of their mobilizations will be determined tomorrow.
Meanwhile the Teachers Federation (OLME) has accused the Education Minister Gerasimos Arsenis of intransigence and will embark on two three-hour work stoppages tomorrow in order to enable teachers who wish to take part in the students' protests. A.F.
 SERB PARLIAMENT CONVENES TODAY
Belgrade, February 4 (MPA)The Serb Parliament is to hold a session today in order to decide whether or not Belgrade will participate in the Saturday's negotiations which are to be held in Paris.
The leader of Kosovo's Albanians Ibrahim Rugova and a delegation of representatives from the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) are to take part in the talks.
Meanwhile, the United States have announced that they are willing to dispatch troops under the auspices of a NATO peacekeeping force, but only if an agreement emerges from the talks. A.F.
 CYPRIOT FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS WITH PANGALOS IN ATHENS
Athens, February 4 (MPA)Cyprus' Foreign Minister Yiannakis Kasoulides, who arrived in Athens yesterday, met with his Greek counterpart Theodoros Pangalos with whom he discussed the Cyprus issue, the island's accession course to the European Union and the results of the talks Mr. Kasoulides had with EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek.
The two officials examined the coordinated efforts to be taken by the two countries in regards to the Cyprus issue.
Mr. Kasoulides stressed that the basic aim is the enforcement of the United Nations Security Council resolutions Nos. 1217 and 1218. A.F.
 PREMIER EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR PRESIDENT, BACKS A SECOND TERM
Athens, February 4 (MPA)Prime Minister Kostas Simitis has expressed his support for the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and did not hesitate to advocate him for another term in office.
"He is a very able and competent president. He has correctly kept the dictates of the Constitution and I believe he should be president of the Republic for the next four-year term ," Mr. Simitis stated during an in- depth interview broadcast last night by a Greek private television channel.
Mr. Simitis further reiterated that double elections for Greece and the European Parliament would not take place in June, while he stressed that the main issue at hand was for the government to carry out its task.
Responding to questions submitted to the program by the viewers in advance, Mr. Simitis touched all of the present issues pressing the country, while among the most popular topics were education, unemployment, social welfare and the economic and monetary union (EMU).
According to "Mega" channel officials, the program was inundated with over 2,000 calls and e-mails. One e-mail wanted to know what the Prime Minister was going to do about the neighbor's fence. A.F.
 PM DENIES THAT OCALAN HAS ASKED FOR POLITICAL ASYLUM IN GREECE
Athens, February 4 (MPA)Prime Minister Kostas Simitis has categorically reiterated that Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan has not asked for political asylum in Greece, and that if he came this would prove Turkish claims that Greece was fuelling the Kurdish uprising.
"This would also be detrimental to the Kurds themselves, and Turkey would be granted the additional argument that Greece was provoking tension and exhibiting aggressive tendencies," he said during a televised interview yesterday evening.
During the same interview, Mr. Simitis referred to the Cypriot government's cancelled order of the Russian-made S-300 anti- aircraft missiles.
He stated that the decision to purchase the missiles had not been made during his term in office, and that its cancellation, over which Greece concurred, was ultimately the best course.
He added that "the US, Britain and the European Union have undertaken, through statements, the obligation to move the Cyprus issue again," and that Greece had to keep spurring the interest of the international community.
"The Cyprus issue makes progress because of the alertness of the international community. When this alertness subsides, we have the obligation to remind of the issue again, and this we achieved," he said. A.F.
 THESSALONIKI METRO IN OPERATION FIVE YEARS FROM NOW
Thessaloniki, February 4 (MPA)The Thessaloniki metro, whose construction was approved yesterday by the appropriate state committee, will start operating in the fall of 2004, according to the Minister of Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Kostas Laliotis.
The project amounts to 220 billion drachmas and has been undertaken by the Thessaloniki Metro consortium, led by Bouygues of France.
Bouygues, the major shareholder, will operate the subway for 20 years before ownership reverts to the state.
Mr. Laliotis said that construction will begin immediately once Parliament ratifies the agreement and will take five years.
The subway will have a length of nine kilometres and 789 meters, with 14 stations. It will have a capacity of 18, 500 passengers in each direction during rush hours.
The Greek state will participate with approximately 67 billion drachmas and an annual ticket subsidy of GRD 50 billion. A.F.
 GREEK FM FORWARDS LETTERS TO COUNTERPARTS OVER KOSOVO
Athens, February 4 (MPA)Greece's Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos has forwarded a letter to his Yugoslav and Albanian counterparts concerning the participation of their respective government in Saturday's talks over Kosovo, to be held in France.
Stressing the significance of their participation, Mr. Pangalos also called on them to display constructive intent for the sake of ending the crisis.
In his letter to the Yugoslav Foreign Minister, Mr. Pangalos underlined that the exacerbation of the Kosovo crisis has raised serious concerns among the international community and jeopardises stability in Yugoslavia and the overall region.
Mr. Pangalos is to embark on a tour to Montenegro, Bosnia and Croatia this Sunday, February 7. A.F.