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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 99-02-12
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 12, 1999
NEWS IN DETAIL
 ARCHBISHOP SPYRIDON APPEALS FOR RETURN OF PARTHENON MARBLES
Athens, February 12 (MPA)Archbishop Spyridon of America, who is presently on a visit to Greece, has appealed for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens.
"The legal heritage must be returned to the Parthenon," Mr. Spyridon said after a visit to the Acropolis yesterday, adding that the Greek community in the United States sees the Acropolis as "the symbol of all that is ours, an inalienable heritage and legacy for the future". A.F.
 ARCHBISHOP OF AMERICA SPYRIDON MEETS WITH FM PANGALOS
Athens, February 12 (MPA)Archbishop Spyridon of America, who is on a visit to Greece, met yesterday with Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos with whom he discussed a variety of issues concerning Greeks living abroad, the country's foreign policy and the events to take place at the onset of the next millennium.
Mr. Spyridon stated that "any problems we face, we should solve them as a Greek family."
The Greek government has greeted His Eminence with honors normally accorded to a head of state. A.F.
 PREMIER TO EMBARK ON THREE-DAY TOUR OF NORTHERN GREECE
Thessaloniki, February 12 (MPA)Prime Minister Kostas Simitis is to embark on a three-day tour of Northern Greece tomorrow, 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. Main opposition leader, New Democracy's Kostas Karamanlis, is to also conduct a visit to the Halkidiki peninsula where he will meet with local government officials. A.F.
 PREMIER MEETS WITH DEFENSE MINISTER, DISCUSS ARMAMENTS PROGRAM
Athens, February 12 (MPA)Prime Minister Kostas Simitis met with Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos yesterday in order to discuss the country's armaments program and prepare for today's meeting of the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA).
Mr. Tsochatzopoulos said that the main topic on today's agenda will be the procurement of new combat aircraft within the framework of long-term planning to boost the strength of the Hellenic Air Force. A.F.
 MACEDONIA-THRACE MINISTER SEES FRENCH, BRITISH DIPLOMATS
Thessaloniki, February 12 (MPA)The Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Yiannis Magriotis met with the British Embassy's charges d'affaires Peter Miller and the French Ambassador to Greece Bernard Kessedjian in Thessaloniki yesterday.
Messrs. Magriotis and Miller discussed matters related to bilateral cooperation between Greece and the United Kingdom, the targets set forth by Britain's economic presence in Greece and British ventures in Thessaloniki, especially in the sectors of tourism and energy.
The Minister pointed out that Northern Greece's rate of development is quite accelerated and stressed that the role of Thessaloniki, and the overall region, is significant to the economic development and stability of southeastern Europe.
He urged the further advancement of Britain's economic, cultural and intellectual presence in the region.
In his talks with Mr. Kessedjian, the Minister discussed the Thessaloniki metro project, as well as other maters related to furthering France's economic presence in the region.
Furthermore, Mr. Magriotis referred to France's stance towards Greek-Turkish relations and appealed to the French diplomat that France should be closer to the values of European culture, closer to the common European interests and, as a result, closer to Cyprus and Greece.
In turn, Kessedjian stressed that while France exercises solidarity towards Greece, "there are differences in tactics.
"Europe's door to Turkey should always be open since there is a wider problem in the region surrounding that country," the French Ambassador stated.
Mr. Magriotis responded that while this tactic is wise, "it should not sacrifice the documented truth, human rights and the basic values of our culture." A.F.
 THESSALONIKI'S METRO WILL BE READY BY YEAR 2004, SAYS MINISTER
Thessaloniki, February 12 (MPA)Construction on Thessaloniki's metro will begin immediately following the ratification of the relevant contract by the Hellenic Parliament, likely to occur in March, according to the Minister of Environment, City Planning and Public Works Kostas Laliotis, who also reiterated that the project will be ready by the year 2004.
Mr. Laliotis presented the project in Thessaloniki yesterday evening and stated that "it is an honor to present a contract which consolidates healthy competition, is credible and reliable and also constitutes a guarantee for the project's viability and funding."
He further stressed that the numerous other infrastructure projects planned for the city will not be obstructed by the metro's construction, nor will the new form of transportation impose any form of restructure on the city's public transit system, other than changes that are advantageous to the bus lines.
The Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Yiannis Magriotis also attended the presentation and expressed his conviction that the project will begin within the year and will be completed on time, as it is bound to do by contract.
The metro 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.
The subway will have a length of nine kilometers and 789 meters, with 14 stations. It will have a capacity of 18, 500 passengers in each direction during rush hour.
The Greek state will participate with approximately 67 billion drachmas and an annual ticket subsidy of GRD 50 billion. A.F.
 PROBLEMS CONTINUE AT STATE HOSPITALS AS DOCTORS STRIKE
Thessaloniki, February 12 (MPA)Problems, as well as patients, continue to mount at state hospitals where physicians are presently on strike demanding due pay for their on-call duty. The Ministries of Health and Finance have announced that they will increase funds allocated for the payment of on-call duties by 11% although most of the disgruntled strikers have said that the increase does not cover the hospital needs.
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. A.F.
 MINISTER OF DEVELOPMENT IN MOSCOW FOR NATURAL GAS TALKS
Moscow, February 12 (MPA)Greece's Minister of Development Vaso Papandreou is presently in Moscow, 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.
Ms. Papandreou will attempt to secure the terms of the agreement signed by Gaz Prom and DEPA. A.F.
 INTERPRISE BRINGS TOGETHER 65 BUSINESSMEN FROM 4 COUNTRIES
Thessaloniki, February 10 (MPA)An opportunity to embark on a series of contacts among 65 businessmen from Greece, France, Spain and Italy was provided by the INTERPRISE of Marble and Stone which begin yesterday Thessaloniki.
According to the chairman of the Athens Chamber of Industry George Kyropoulos, Greece features vast supplies of marble and provides a number of advantages, especially in its exports to Asia and China since, following the war in the Gulf, many markets from Saudi Arabia were eradicated.
The event was inaugurated by the representative of the European Commission's 23rd Directorate Nasos Christoyiannopoulos and co-organized by the Business Confederation of Saragosa (Spain), the Regional Chamber of Pyrenees Toulouse (France) and the Trade and Industry chamber of Udine (Italy). A.F.
 S.E. EUROPEAN YOUTH CENTER TO BE FOUNDED AT TODAY'S CONFERENCE
Athens, February 12 (MPA)The founding of a Southeastern European Youth Center is expected to be ratified during the course of the Third Conference of S.E. Europe's College Students, which will begin in Athens today.
Minster of National Education Gerasimos Arsenis, alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and the secretary-general of the New Generation Petros Sfikakis are to salute the conference which will feature the participation of college student unions from Greece, Romania, Turkey, Albania, FYROM, Bulgaria, F.R. Yugoslavia and Cyprus.
The organization will aim to promote policies of stability and cooperation in the region, with Greece as its headquarters. A.F.
 ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION ON BALKAN CRISIS TO BE HELD IN ATHENS
Athens, February 12 (MPA)A round table discussion on "conflict avoidance and management" is to be held tomorrow, February 13, in Athens, featuring the participation of representatives from socialist and social-democratic parties from Central and Eastern Europe.
The discussion is organized by the Institute of Strategic and Developmental Studies (ISTAME) of Andreas Papandreou (ISTAME) and will be held at the St. George Lycabettus Hotel. A.F.
 SCHOOL BOARDS HAVE TO GIVE PROPOSALS ON MAKING UP LOST TIME
Thessaloniki, February 12 (MPA)The Education Ministry has asked school boards throughout the country to provide proposals on ways to make up teaching hours lost as a result of the three- month-long student protests.
As the deadline to submit the proposals has been extended to next week, the Mister of Education Gerasimos Arsenis will announce thereafter the measures he will adopt. A.F.
 DEADLINE FOR EXPRESSED INTEREST IN O.A. MANAGEMENT IS TODAY
Athens, February 12 (MPA)The deadline for the expression of interest in taking over the Olympic Airways management ends today and, according to reports, British Airways, Lufthansa and a US operator have already expressed interest in taking over the management.
Meanwhile, the state has accepted the resignation of the managing director of Theodoros Tsakiridis, who said that he is vacating the post in order to facilitate the Transportation Ministry's efforts to find a new manager for the airline. A.F.
 BELGRADE IS READY TO COMPROMISE, SAYS DRASCOVIC
Paris, February 12 (MPA)"Belgrade is ready to proceed to any whatsoever compromise, even the most difficult one, in order to resolve the crisis in Kosovo," stated the vice-president of Yugoslavia Vuk Drascovic.
During a press interview given in Paris, Mr. Drascovic stated that the Serb delegation is ready to endorse the ten points for resolving the Kosovo crisis, as set forth by the Contact Group. A.F.
 SENATE VOTES ON PRESIDENT CLINTON TODAY, ACQUITTAL ASSURED
Washington, February 12 (MPA)The United States Senate is to vote today on President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial, after closed-door deliberations ended yesterday.
Four republican senators have so far declared their intention to vote for acquittal on the charges of perjury and obstruction of justice brought before the U.S. Head of State. A two-thirds vote is required to convict the president and remove him from office, and the chance of that happening appears dim. A.F.
 US CONGRESSMEN TO VISIT GREECE NEXT WEEK
Washington, February 12 (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.