|Sunday, 17 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 99-05-07
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.8
BRIEF GREEK NEWS BULLETIN BY THE MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY
Thessaloniki, May 7, 1999
NEWS IN DETAIL
 BALKAN NEWS AGENCIES MEET IN THESSALONIKI OVER CRISIS
Thessaloniki, May 7 (MPA)The news agencies from all the countries comprised in the Balkan region are meeting in Thessaloniki today, in order to examine the problems that have arisen in the operation of the mass media organizations as a result of the dramatic events taking place in Yugoslavia.
The event is being organized by the Association of Balkan News Agencies (ABNA) on the initiative of the Macedonian Press Agency, the headquarters of ABNA’s permanent secretariat.
The meeting will also examine ways to improve the activity of the news agencies and all of the Balkan mass media, always in line with the principles of journalistic ethics, objectivity and truth, which principles have been espoused by ABNA since its founding in 1994.
In addition to the news agencies of Albania, Bulgaria, FYROM, Greece, Romania, Yugoslavia and Turkey, the meeting will feature the participation of United Nations and UNESCO representatives, European Union officials, Council of Europe representatives, and International Journalists Federation members. Moreover, the meeting features the participation of news agencies of those countries neighboring with the Balkan states, and which are subject to the consequences of the Kosovo crisis, such as the Italian news agency ANSA, the Hungarian MTI and the Greek ANA and MPA.
On March 26, 1999, ABNA issued an appeal to its members, the mass media and various journalists, wherein it called on them to show restrain in these difficult times and to strictly adhere to the principles of journalistic ethics and truth, avoiding sensationalism, in order to allow peace, stability and security to return to the region of Southeastern Europe. A.F.
 MPA’S GENERAL DIRECTOR SPEAKS ON MEDIA’S ROLE AND KOSOVO
Thessaloniki, May 7 (MPA)The Macedonian Press Agency’s general director Spyros Kouzinopoulos addressed an extraordinary meeting held today in Thessaloniki among the news agencies from all the countries comprised in the Balkan region, as well as Italy’s ANSA and Hungary’s MTI, and spoke extensively on the media’s stance and role over the Kosovo crisis.
“The Kosovo crisis and NATO’s bombardments against Yugoslavia, coupled with the tragic events that have taken place, have brought on a state of emergency and caused immense concern throughout Southeastern Europe,” Mr. Kouzinopoulos stated, adding that the matter has been compounded by the activities of armed and riotous extremist groups -which stem from both sides of the conflict-, as they have brought on a climate of instability in certain Balkan countries, as well as fears of involvement by the region’s remaining countries in the case of ground operations.
Referring to the role carried out by the Association of Balkan News Agency (ABNA), which co-organized the meeting along with MPA, Mr. Kouzinopoulos stated that, during its five-year course, through conferences, meetings and other events, “the ABNA has cast its own stone in the matter of Inter-Balkan cooperation in the sensitive sector of the mass media. “For this reason alone, a mere few hours following the opening salvo of NATO’s bombings against Yugoslavia, ABNA issued an appeal to its members, the media and all the journalists of the Balkan Peninsula, calling on them to exercise restrain during these difficult times for the Balkans,” he said.
The MPA’s general director further added that “the present period is marked by noble initiatives for overcoming the crisis and rays of hope have began to sparkle along with Spring. “We shall not search for the perpetrators of the crisis. It is not our task to discover if the Serbs are right, or if the Kosovars are right, or the Albanians, or NATO, or whoever else became involved in this conflict. Nevertheless, we cannot but express our concern and strong protestation when we learn of our colleagues being killed in this senseless war, when we see media buildings being pounded by bombs, when we know that journalists are being prevented from performing their job without encumbrance and their free access to regions that are of immense interest to the general public is being hindered,” he said. Mr. Kouzinopoulos announced that the Macedonian Press Agency proposes a joint appearance of all the Balkan news agencies in cyberspace, allowing the Internet users, by accessing the MPA’s specially-designed server at www.abna.org, to discover news and information pertaining to all Balkan countries, thus forming diversified opinions and not have a biased view of the events. Moreover, the Macedonian Press Agency proposed the creation of a joint home page on the Internet, comprising all the Balkan news agencies, in order to assist in the discovery and relocation of Kosovar families whose members have been scattered as a result of the crisis. Once the homepage is set up, the MPA will install computers at the refugee camps, while its technical staff are already working on the creation of a program that will automatically file search requests and photographs of the missing persons.
Mr. Kouzinopoulos urged that the national news agencies, more so than the remaining news media, contribute to the improvement of quality, by broadcasting and printing more news and reports on their neighboring countries, especially on matters of common cultural heritage, in order to achieve proximity among the region’s peoples, develop friendship, cooperation and, once and for all, eliminate the danger of conflagrations. “In the course towards the 21st century, the national news agencies, by providing correct and sound information and promoting cultural values, can grant the media with the opportunity to become the messengers, a light in the midst of darkness. By striking ignorance and populism, they can become the strength of hope for the weak, the voice and refuge of the persecuted, the threat to the mighty. “They can become a suit of armor, a tireless lighthouse, an infallible eye, an impartial voice. If we grant this to the public, if we assist in the fight against chauvinism, nationalism, intransigence and all those components that result in war, then it is certain that our region will never again live through the atrocities of recent times. The Balkans will then no longer be ‘Europe’s powder-keg’,” Mr. Kouzinopoulos said. A.F.
 G8 FOREIGN MINISTERS ARRIVE AT COMMON PROPOSAL ON KOSOVO
Bonn, May 7 (MPA)The foreign ministers of the world's seven most industrialized nations and Russia (G8) achieved a common proposal for resolving the Kosovo crisis at their meeting in Bonn yesterday. The proposal calls for the withdrawal of Yugoslav troops from Kosovo and an immediate end to violence, allowing the refugees to return home. The G8 ministers issued a statement calling for "effective international civil and security presences" in Kosovo to protect returning residents. "A political process towards the establishment of an interim political framework agreement providing for a substantial self-government for Kosovo, taking full account of the Rambouillet accords and the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the other countries of the region as well as the disarming of the UCK," the statement read. A.F.
 GREEK PM: PEACE IS POSSIBLE, AS LONG AS IT’S NOT JUST WORDS
Athens, May 7 (MPA)Greece’s Prime Minister Costas Simitis welcomed the agreement reached by the world’s seven most industrialized nations and Russia (G8) yesterday, stating that it constitutes a step towards establishing peace in the region. "We hope that it (the agreement) will soon be adopted as a United Nations Security Council resolution and that all sides involved will implement it," Mr. Simitis stated yesterday. "Greece had from the very beginning outlined that the solution to the crisis could not be imposed only by force of arms, that political initiatives and diplomatic actions were necessary. Today's agreement confirms this point of view. At the same time the agreement prescribes that there should not be a change of borders...We have worked in this direction, " the Greek Premier added. Stressing that Greece, along with other countries, prepared the ground for yesterday’s agreement, Mr. Simitis stated that “this proves that peace is possible as long as it's not just words." A.F.
 NATO PLANES DESTROY BRIDGE, POUND MILOSEVIC'S HOMETOWN
Belgrade, May 7 (MPA)NATO aircraft delivered missile-and-bombing strikes against a railway bridge in the area of Vatin township near the Yugoslav-Romanian border last night, disrupting railway communication between Belgrade and Bucharest.
According to the Russian news agency Itar-Tass, NATO bombs also destroyed a local power substation, leaving Vatin inhabitants without electricity.
Itar-Tass also reported NATO planes pounded Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's hometown of Pozarevac, which boasts Yugoslavia's largest discotheque belonging to the president's son.
 BELGRADE REMAINS RESERVED OVER G8 AGREEMENT
Belgrade, May 7 (MPA)Belgrade continues to have a reserved stance over the agreement reached in Bonn yesterday among the world’s seven wealthiest nations and Russia, awaiting further clarifications over the issued proposal. According to a poll published today by the pro-government daily Politika, more than 40 percent of Yugoslavs would agree to some form of Serbian military withdrawal from Kosovo. Meanwhile, United States President Bill Clinton saluted the G8’s proposal, although he added that the raids against beleaguered Yugoslavia will continue. A.F.
 AUSTRIA’S KLIMA IN THESSALONIKI: KOSOVO CRISIS IS TO END SOON
Thessaloniki, May 7 (MPA)Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima met with Greece’s Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos in Thessaloniki yesterday, with whom he discussed the Kosovo crisis and expressed the belief that a political solution on the issue is very near. Mr. Klima said that he believes "we are moving toward a political and peaceful solution." He called for an end to the bombings and for support of the initiatives taken by the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In turn, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos said "we are at the final political-diplomatic solution, which Greece believed in and for which we fought for from the beginning." The Chancellor made a stopover in Thessaloniki as part of a visit to the Halkidiki region, this year's site of an annual festival organized by Vienna for many of its citizens to celebrate the coming of spring. A.F.
 GREECE HAS YET TO RECEIVE EXPLANATIONS OVER CONVOY ATTACK
Athens, May 7 (MPA)While it remains to be seen just who is responsible for Wednesday’s attack against a Greek non-governmental aid convoy in Kosovo, NATO’s Secretary-General Javier Solana has given the Greek government repeated assurances that the Alliance had nothing to do with the bombs that fell just yards away from the convoy’s leading vehicle. The “Doctors of the World” mission was attacked by aircraft on Wednesday afternoon, as the four jeeps of the aid convoy were emerging from a tunnel. No one was injured and none of the vehicles were struck in the attack, which took place outside the town of Urosevac in southeastern Kosovo. A Greek member of the mission delivering aid to Prishtina, contacted Greek consular officials in Belgrade as soon as the convoy arrived in Kosovo's capital and said that bomb had fallen about 100 meters from the start of the convoy. According to the mission’s officials, NATO had been given four days advance notice that they would be traveling to Prishtina, but NATO said there was no indication the alliance was connected to the attack. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Greece wanted "the truth to shine", adding that the issue of responsibility remained open and stressed that investigations into the incident should continue. The spokesman said Mr. Solana had twice given assurances to Foreign Minister George Papandreou that NATO had nothing to do with the attack. A.F.
 GREEK SOLDIERS TO SET UP REFUGEE CAMP IN FYROM
Athens, May 7 (MPA)Fifty Greek soldiers will be dispatched to FYROM in order to assist in the setting up of a refugee camp in the area of Kotovo. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated that the decision to send the troops had been taken after consultations between representatives of the Greek defense ministry and FYROM authorities. A.F.
 GREEK PRESIDENT TO PAY OFFICIAL VISIT TO GEORGIA ON MAY 10
Tbilisi, May 7 (MPA)The President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos is to conduct a two-day official visit to Georgia on May 10, the first visit by a Greek president to Georgia after the Caucasian republic became independent.
The President will meet with his Georgian counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze, parliamentary speaker Zurab Zhvania, Foreign Minister Irakly Menangarishvili and other officials. Discussions will focus on issues of further development of cooperation between the two countries, as well as regional problems. A.F.
 GREEK PRESIDENT TO PAY VISIT TO ARMENIA ON MAY 11-13
Yerevan, May 7 (MPA)The President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos will pay an official visit to Armenia on May 11-13 at the invitation of the republic's leadership.
Before arriving in Armenia the President will make an official visit to Georgia. While in Tbilisi, he will meet Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, the parliament speaker and the foreign minister to discuss further development of cooperation between the two countries and regional issues. A.F.
 GREEK PM TO MEET WITH PORTUGUESE, FYROM, ALBANIAN PREMIERS
Thessaloniki, May 7 (MPA)Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis will receive his counterpart from Portugal in Thessaloniki tomorrow, May 8, with whom he will travel to the monastic community of Mt. Athos. Mr. Simitis will also meet with the Premier of FYROM, Ljubco Georgievski, and both of whom will be guest speakers at a major Balkan economics conference to be held in Thessaloniki on May 10-11. The Premier of Albanian Pandeli Majko will also attend the event. 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. The forum is expected to draw more than 500 Greek and foreign business figures representing 120 foreign companies and 280 Greek. A.F.
 MPA PARTICIPATES IN HERMES TRADE EXPO IN NEW YORK TODAY
Thessaloniki, May 7 (MPA)The Macedonian Press Agency is participating at the 7th Annual Business Development Trade Show and Exhibition in the United States (Hermes Expo International 1999) , to be held today and tomorrow, (May 7-8) at the New York Hilton. The event is expected to give the opportunity to Greeks living on both sides of the Atlantic to consolidate their communication channels. This marks the first the MPA has the opportunity to take part in such an organized show, which will illustrate the agency’s multifaceted activities in the media sector, and especially its singular commitment to the Greek community abroad. This year’s event will also feature the participation of ventures from Albania, Romania and other Balkan countries. Greece’s Undersecretary of Sports Andreas Fouras will inaugurate the event and has expressed the hope that the participation of the General Secretariat of Sports and representatives of the Greek business sector will contribute to the further advancement of Greek products and services in the U.S., as well as to the promotion of Greece’s sports infrastructure, especially in light of the Athens-held Olympic Games of 2004. The Archbishop of America Spyridon will also attend the inauguration ceremony. Greek businesses interested in serving the needs of the Greek American community and establishing an initial strong foothold in the massive American market, the exhibition is certainly worth attending as a number of joint-venture seminars will be held, which can provide fertile ground for such investments. A.F.
 BULGARIAN DELEGATION VISITS THRACE THROUGH PHARE PROGRAM
Thessaloniki, May 7 (MPA)A fifty-member delegation of Bulgarian local government officials embarked yesterday on a two-day visit to the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace District, in the framework of the PHARE program.
The delegates, representatives from Bulgaria’s central and regional administration, are meeting with their Greek counterparts and will be briefed on ways to expedite regional development in their country. Specifically, they will examine issues concerning regional strategy, preparations for the establishment of a national plan for regional development, the application and materialization of a regional business plan and ways to fund it and the establishment of committees which will review the results of the regional development actions. A.F.
 HELLENIC PETROLEUM DEAL ENDORSED BY FYROM'S GOVERNMENT
Skopje, May 7 (MPA)Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) will be allowed to go ahead with the construction of an oil pipeline linking Thessaloniki with Skopje, after the government of FYROM approved the said agreement during a Cabinet session held this week.
Specifically , the agreement calls for ELPE becoming the strategic investor of FYROM’s OKTA refinery, with the investment being the largest ever in the neighboring country. The 90-million-dollar pipeline, which will have an annual capacity of 2.5 million tons and a length of 220 kilometers, is due for completion in three years. A.F.