|Thursday, 5 December 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 99-05-04
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, May 4, 1999
NEWS IN DETAIL
 GREECE IS AMONG EU’S LOWEST IN SOCIAL WELFARE EXPENDITURES
Athens, May 4 (MPA)Greece ranks among the European Union’s lowest-spending countries in terms of social welfare expenditures, according to the EU’s statistics service Eurostat. The Eurostat report on social welfare expenditures among the EU’s 15 member-states finds that Greece ranks 12th with 23.3 per cent of its GDP allocated to the sector in 1996. The report noted that the EU average stood at 28.7 per cent of GDP, with Sweden leading the way with 34.8 percent of its GDP allocated to social welfare spending, and Ireland spending the least, with 18.9%. A.F.
 PREMIER OF FYROM TO SPEAK AT THESSALONIKI CONFERENCE
Skopje, May 4 (MPA)The Prime Minister of FYROM Ljubco Georgievski will join Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis as guest speaker at a major Balkan economics conference to be held in Thessaloniki on May 10-11. The conference, an annual event held by the Federation of Northern Greek Industries (SBBE) will focus on the situation in the Balkans a decade after the deregulation of markets.
Mr. Georgievski will be accompanied by FYROM’s Ministers of Economy, Development, Defense and Foreign Affairs. A.F.
 CHERNOMYRDIN: WE’VE COME CLOSER TO A DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION
Washington, May 4 (MPA)Russian president's special envoy on Yugoslavia Viktor Chernomyrdin is expected to meet with the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan at the UN headquarters today. Mr. Chernomyrdin handed President Boris Yeltsin’s message on Yugoslavia over to US President Bill Clinton, which expounded on Russia's proposals to settle the Kosovo crisis. Following his talks with President Clinton, the Russian envoy stated that “we’ve come closer to a diplomatic solution. The matter is complicated and we will continue to work and maintain our hopes.” President Clinton said that a state of ceasefire could be declared if it is made clear that the Serb forces have began withdrawing from Kosovo. A.F.
 TELEVISION STATION IN NOVI SAD BOMBARDED BY NATO RAIDS
Belgrade, May 4 (MPA)NATO aircraft targeted the building of a TV station in the city of Novi Sad last night, when two bombs hit the building, completely destroying it. According to the station’s director, there was no one in the building at the time of the attack. A series of explosions resonated in Belgrade’s suburbs and other Serbian cities. Meanwhile, after yesterday’s strike against the city’s largest power station, the local authorities have asked the residents to conserve energy and water. A.F.
 MAIN OPPOSITION LEADER TOURS PREFECTURE OF THESSALONIKI
Thessaloniki, May 4 (MPA)The leader of Greece’s main opposition party, New Democracy’s Costas Karamanlis is to conduct a series of visits to local hospitals and municipalities, during his two-day tour of the Prefecture of Thessaloniki which starts today. A recently-conducted nationwide poll finds Mr. Karamanlis’ popularity on the rise as 46.1 percent of the respondents opted for the N.D. leader, thus giving him an edge over the Premier Costas Simitis, who amassed 33.9 percent in the popularity poll. A.F.
 GREEK EUROMEP CALLS ON EP TO DENOUNCE KOSOVO CASUALTIES
Strasbourg, May 4 (MPA)A Greek member of the European Parliament, Angela Kokkola, has demanded that the Europarliament denounce the NATO air strikes against Kosovo which have resulted in the death of about 60 civilians. Ms. Kokkola called on the European Parliament to denounce these actions and not merely express regret. During her address, the Eurodeputy stressed that there were 15 children among the victims of the strikes and demanded that the members of the European Parliament express their indignation over the killings. She further added that the killings should be condemned, whether the victims are Kosovo Albanians, Serbs or people of other nationalities. A.F.
 YUGOSLAV DELEGATION TO MEET WITH N. GREECE BUSINESSMEN
Thessaloniki, May 4 (MPA)A delegation from the Economic Chamber of Yugoslavia is to be in Thessaloniki tomorrow, May 5, for a meeting with businessmen from northern Greece, in order to review the damages suffered by the sector from the conflict in Kosovo. Among the subjects to be discussed will be the difficulties faced by Greek manufacturers and businessmen who are active in Yugoslavia. The participants will brief one another on the consequences of the war, not only borne on the Greek businesses active in the neighboring country, but in Northern Greece's tourism industry and exporting - transporting ventures. A.F.
 PREMIER: GREECE EMERGED STRONGER FROM NATO SUMMIT
Athens, May 4 (MPA)Addressing last night’s parliamentary debate on the Kosovo crisis, Prime Minister Costas Simitis supported that Greece emerged stronger from the recently-held NATO Summit, since its contribution to peacemaking in the region has been recognized. Mr. Simitis referred to Greece’s stance on the crisis and stressed that “our country’s position lives up to our values, the collective reactions of the Greek people, as well as to the need for credibility towards other peoples with whom we cooperate." The Premier emphasized that any solution to be found to the Kosovo crisis has to be within the framework of a unified Yugoslavia in order to be viable. He further questioned the correctness of the NATO bombings, saying they produced no results and, more specifically, failed to prevent ethnic cleansing, resulting in hundreds of thousands of refugees and economic destabilization in Albania and FYROM. Concerning the Alliance’s new role, Mr. Simitis briefed the deputies on the discussions held during the three-day Summit and stressed that Greece is participating in NATO on an equal footing for the first time. Mr. Simitis also underlined the Greek government’s opposition to NATO becoming an "international gendarme." "We recognize the importance of organizations for collective regional security and we do not consider it correct for NATO to turn into a world security organization," he said. He added that NATO cannot act on the basis of its own principles, independent from those established by the UN and cannot intervene when it alone desires intervention, stressing that the Alliance’s actions must have legal standing beyond any doubt and that international law is the prerequisite for credibility in all actions. A.F.
 GREEK TRANSPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER IN FYROM
Skopje, May 4 (MPA)In spite the fact that a strategic alliance between Greece’s and FYROM’s state-owned telecommunications organizations, (OTE and MT, respectively) is eyed positively by both sides, FYROM has yet to fully reveal its intentions concerning MT’s prospect of privatization.
The Transport and Communications Ministers of both countries (Messrs. Tasos Mantelis and Bobi Spircovski, respectively), gave a joint press interview in Skopje yesterday and confirmed that an alliance is being considered, albeit not finalized.
During the course of a three-hour meeting with his FYROM counterpart, Mr. Mantelis, accompanied by Communications undersecretary Nikolaos Salayannis, confirmed the Greek side’s interest in purchasing over one-third of MT’s shares.
“At the present phase, while the privatization process has yet to be unveiled, both sides have expressed the will for a strategic alliance,” Mr. Mantelis stated, adding that the matter is expected to further clear in the Fall, when an international bid for MT’s sale will be declared.
British Telecoms is also vying for MT’s shares as, according to Mr. Spirkovski, it has expressed an interest.
On other matters, the two ministers proceeded to specific actions, such as a bilateral agreement for the establishment of a regular airline route between Thessaloniki-Skopje-Athjens, which is expected to be signed by the end of June. Concurrently, Messrs. Mantelis anf Spirkovski discussed the establishment of a railway route connecting Thessaloniki and Skopje with an Intercity train.
Moreover, the time-consuming visa-issuance process between FYROM and Greece is expected to be expedited soon, a result of the recently-held SECI meeting in Athens. The South-East European Cooperative Initiative (SECI), aims at facilitating trade and transport in the region, thus laying the groundwork for expanded economic cooperation among the S.E. European states. Lastly, Mr. Mantelis stated that both governments are to promote the creation of the X Axis. “As soon as the crisis is over, we will focus on the X Axis and its link with VIII Axis, so that both (roads) can facilitate transport to the benefit of both countries,” Mr. Mantelis said. A.F.
 ALBANIAN DOCTORS FEAR CHOLERA EPIDEMIC BREAK OUT IN KUKES
Tirana, May 4 (MPA)At least 120,000 Kosovo deportees are being settled in the Albanian town of Kukes, 218 kilometers north of Tirana, which used to have only 18,000 citizens before the influx of refugees. According to the Croatian news agency HINA, Albanian doctors are warning of the danger of a cholera epidemic breaking out if urgent measures were not promptly taken to prevent the disease and if several thousands refugees were not transferred from Kukes to other Albanian towns.
In the past three days alone, at least 20,000 Kosovo Albanians came in Kukes via the Morina border crossing. Most of them are from the Kosovo town of Prizren. Many refugees are living in the open, and the warm weather is exacerbating the risk of epidemic.
According to the latest figures, about 400,000 Kosovo deportees have arrived in Albania since March 25, while another 200,000 are expected. International relief agencies are making additional efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Albania, Europe’s poorest country. About a hundred aircraft land at the Tirana airport on a daily basis with shipments of relief aid. Several hundred makeshift camps for refugees are to be built in Albania soon. A.F.
 FOREIGN UNDERSECRETARY: A SOLUTION WILL BE FOUND TO KOSOVO
Thessaloniki, May 4 (MPA)Greece’s Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Grigoris Niotis has expressed his optimism that a solution will be found to the Kosovo crisis, stating that such opportunities have opened up and proposals that could lead to a resolution have been have tabled.
Nevertheless, he pointed out that there is a number of hurdles, such a shift in positions, which could delay a potential solution.
Mr. Niotis stressed that Greece was convinced from the beginning that the solution would not be reached through bombings but, rather, through the course of diplomatic negotiations. Concerning the great number of civilian casualties from NATO’s bombings, Mr. Niotis stated that it constitutes another reason to expedite a political solution to the crisis. He further added that the Council of Greeks Abroad (SAE) will soon issue an announcement by which it will be accepting the Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou’s proposals for humanitarian aid and Yugoslavia’s reconstruction. A.F.
 MORE REINFORCEMENTS TRANSPORTED TO FYROM VIA THESSALONIKI
Thessaloniki, May 4 (MPA)Additional military reinforcements to NATO forces in FYROM departed from Thessaloniki’s port early this morning, transporting 75 trucks, light artillery tanks, containers and other supplies to the neighboring country. Sixty-three of the trucks, which left the port at 3 a.m., are British and the remaining 12 are German. Approximately an hour later, another convoy left the port’s gate, loaded with eight German military trucks. A.F.