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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 99-02-11
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, February 11, 1999
NEWS IN DETAIL
 PREMIER TO EMBARK ON THREE-DAY TOUR OF NORTHERN GREECE
Thessaloniki, February 11 (MPA)Prime Minister Kostas Simitis is to embark on a three-day tour of Northern Greece on Saturday, escorted by the Ministers of National Defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos, Development Vaso Papandreou, Environment Kostas Laliotis, Health Labros Papademas, Agriculture George Anomeritis, Culture, Evangelos Venizelos, Macedonia-Thrace Yiannis Magriotis, and various undersecretaries,
His tour will include a visit at Thessaloniki's "Papanikolaou" hospital. A.F.
 GREEK PM ADDRESS PARLIAMENT IN AMSTERDAM TREATY DEBATE
Athens, February 11 (MPA)During his address at the parliamentary debate over the Amsterdam Treaty last night, Prime Minister Kostas Simitis outlined the ruling PASOK party's policy towards the euro-elections, stating that the Amsterdam Treaty is occurring at a highly critical point for Europe and Greece.
In his address, the Premier emphasized PASOK's role in ensuring the course of the country towards the Economic and Monetary Union and also said that the government's top priority is to secure Greek interests in the framework of the "Agenda 2000" negotiations.
Concerning the state's priorities, Mr. Simitis said that Greece favors the allocation of adequate funds for the support of the EU policies as well as the enlargement of the Union.
Referring to Cyprus, Mr. Simitis said that if the Turkish- Cypriot side does not abandon its intransigence "then Cyprus should become a full member of the Union as soon as the process is complete."
Regarding Turkey, Mr. Simitis stated that Greece supports the European orientation of Ankara, "but it should 'respect' the European principles of justice, human rights and the inviolability of borders." A.F.
 GREEK FM: ALBANIANS ARE BLOCKING RAMBOUILLET TALKS
Podgorica, February 11 (MPA)Greece's Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos has expressed doubt over the results of the talks held in Rambouillet, while speaking to journalists upon his return to Athens from his four-day tour of Bosnia- Herzegovina, Yugoslavia and Croatia.
Specifically, he stated that the Kosovo matter is a "very difficult one" and stressed that while both sides had agreed upon the basic points of the negotiations at the onstart, the Albanian side is now rejecting some facts of the talks and is refusing to meet with the official Serb government delegation.
When asked by the Macedonian Press Agency to comment on the statement of "Great Albania" made By the Albanian Premier, Mr. Pangalos responded that "such statements are not very intelligent." A.F.
 GREEK FM MEETS WITH PRESIDENT OF MONTENEGRO
Podgorica, February 11 (MPA)Greece's Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos met with the President of Montenegro Milo Jukanovic yesterday, as part of a series of contacts he had during his Balkan tour.
Following the talks, which Mr. Pangalos termed as "very constructive and useful," the two officials gave a joint press interview and stated that they primarily discussed three issues: Montenegro's course of democratic and economic reforms, problems faced by the republic in the framework of the Yugoslav federation and bilateral relations.
Mr. Pangalos stated that necessary conditions for the achievement of common targets are respect for borders, democratic principles, protection for human rights and the existence of open societies in the Balkans. A.F.
 MINISTER OF DEVELOPMENT TRAVELS TO MOSCOW THIS EVENING
Athens, February 11 (MPA)Greece's Minister of Development Vaso Papandreou is to travel to Moscow this evening, where she will have a series of meetings with Russian government officials concerning the glitches in natural gas deliveries from Russia via Bulgaria to Greece. A.F.
 PROBLEMS MOUNT AT STATE HOSPITALS AS DOCTORS CONTINUE STRIKE
Thessaloniki, February 11 (MPA)Problems, as well as patients, continue to mount at state hospitals where physicians are presently on strike.
An emergency preliminary investigation has been ordered by the Athens's District Attorney's office which will look into whether or not the public's health care is jeopardized by these mobilizations and if the necessary number of physicians is actually working.
In Thessaloniki, the District Attorney's office has ordered the arrest of those physicians who blocked cancer- stricken patients at the "G.Gennimatas" hospitals from undergoing the necessary tests.
The disgruntled physicians are demanding due pay for their on-call duty. A.F.
 STATE OFFERS PACKAGE OF FAVORABLE MEASURES TO FARMERS
Athens, February 11 (MPA)The Ministers of National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and Agriculture George Anomeritis yesterday announced a package of measures to facilitate the repayment by farmers of debts to the Agricultural Bank of Greece, according to which 50 per cent of outstanding debts will be written off.
The measures also provide for the write-off of all interest due, 50 per cent of accrued interest and refinancing with new loans at favorable interest rates. A.F.
 FARMERS CONTINUE PROTESTS IN SPITE OF STATE'S CONCESSIONS
Thessaloniki, February 11 (MPA)The central Greece farmers committee has decided to press on with its protests, not satisfied by the state's concession regarding the settlement of their debts.
Specifically, they said that the state's announced plans are not clear and simply reiterate older pledges. The committee's members have requested to meet with Agriculture Minister George Anomeritis tomorrow.
Meanwhile, tractors remain lined up along the national highway of Athens-Thessaloniki. A.F.
 TALKS OVER KOSOVO CONTINUE IN RAMBOUILLET
Rambouillet, February 11 (MPA)The peace talks over Kosovo are being continued at Rambouillet, France, where the Serb delegation is to be joined today by the President of Serbia Milan Milutinovic.
The Foreign Ministers of France and Great Britain are to return to the negotiations today and are expected to met with the Serb president. A.F.
 RUSSIAN POET YEVTUSHENKO FAVORS RETURN OF PARTHENON MARBLES
London, February 11 (MPA)Russian Poet Yevgeni Yevtushenko has expressed his advocacy for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, the cradle of civilization.
According to a BBC report, the Russian poet forwarded a letter to the British Committee for the Restitution of the Parthenon Marbles wherein he wrote: "Greece is the cradle of world culture. Everybody is born in Greece even the Russians, even I, a Siberian.
"All of us have to be spiritual columns of the resurrected Parthenon. Each crumb of its ruins has to be given back to the land where it was created."
Mr. Yevtushenko is a member of the European Academy of the Arts and Sciences and an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. A.F.
 EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT TO BLAIR: RETURN THE MARBLES TO GREECE
Brussels, February 11 (MPA)The European Parliament has forward a letter to British Premier Toni Blair wherein the deputies call for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.
The said letter was the result of a recent resolution through which the majority of eurodeputies favor the return of the treasured Marbles to their place of origin. A.F.
 DEUTSCHE BANK-DRESNER BANK: BUY DRACHMAS
Thessaloniki, February 11 (MPA)Deutsche Bank and Dresner Bank urge their investors to invest in the Greek drachma, in a report on the outlook for European markets.
In the report, Deutsche Bank underlines that Greece has retained its strength in a global economy facing a slowdown in growth and high foreign exchange risk.
Furthermore, the German bank expects the general index of the Athens Stock Exchange to end the year at 3,600 points from around 3,200 points currently, recommending that investors should buy into Greek shares.
Deutsche Bank remains positive on the future of Greek stocks, despite their high price levels, due to the prospect of a sharp decline in interest rates in the next two years.
Dresner reports that the Greek economy is still making rapid progress towards alignment with the European Union and entry into economic and monetary union by the government's target date of January 1, 2001, thanks to declining inflation.
The bank says that another drachma devaluation before joining the euro had become increasingly unlikely. A.F.
 AGREEMENT SIGNED FOR GREEK, CYPRIOT ARMS INDUSTRIES COOPERATION
Athens, February 11 (MPA)The Defense Ministers of Greece and Cyprus, Akis Tsochatzopoulos and Yiannakis Chrysostomis respectively, have signed an cooperation agreement regarding the arms industries of both countries.
The agreement, signed yesterday in Athens, sets the ground for future purchases of military equipment from the Greek arms industry. A.F.
 US CONGRESSMEN TO VISIT GREECE NEXT WEEK
Washington, February 11 (MPA)A 12-member delegation of U.S. Congressmen will visit Greece next week, February 18, in order to meet with Greek government officials on political and economic affairs and defense and security issues.
The delegation, led by Nebraska Republican Douglas Bereuter, is on a six-day tour of the region and, in addition to Greece, will also visit Belgium, France, Cyprus and Turkey.
The Athens talks are expected to focus on the security situation in the eastern Mediterranean, relations between Greece and Turkey and prospects for a resolution of the Cyprus issue. A.F.