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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 99-05-17
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 17, 1999
NEWS IN DETAIL
 “17 NOVEMBER” FIRES ROCKET AT GERMAN AMBASSADOR’S HOUSE
Athens, May 17 (MPA)Police believe that the infamous “17 November” group is behind last night’s attack against the residence of German Ambassador in Athens where a rocket was fired from a fuse within a short distance, but no one was hurt as the weapon failed to explode.
Both the Ambassador, Carl Heinz Kuhna, and his wife were inside the house, when the rocket tore a hole in the roof. Following the incident, the Ambassador told reporters that he continues to feel safe in Greece and urged the German citizens to visit Greece fearlessly. The “17 November” terrorist group has been active for a great number of years but continues to remain elusive. It first appeared in 1975 when it claimed responsibility for the killing of 20 Greeks and foreigners. A.F.
 GREEK PREMIER TELLS SUPPORTERS: PASOK IS HERE TO STAY
Athens, May 17 (MPA)Addressing a rally of supporters in Kalamata, south Peloponnese, yesterday, Greece’s Prime Minister Costas Simitis told a rally of supporters that the country is an oasis of stability in the Balkans.
The Premier outlined the governing party’s achievements in the public sector and emphasized that the real incomes of workers have been on an upward course for an annual basis. He further stressed that a health sector restructuring program is presently in the works, totaling 200 billion drachmas.
After accusing the main opposition party, New Democracy, of irresponsibility and hypocrisy, Mr. Simitis vowed that PASOK will govern the country for the years to come. A.F.
 GREEK FM PROPOSES TEMPORARY CEASEFIRE IN YUGOSLAVIA
Athens, May 17 (MPA)Greece’s Foreign Minister George Papandreou is proposing that a state of temporary ceasefire be applied to Yugoslavia, where NATO forces will stop the bombarding, thus giving the UN Security Council the opportunity to issue a resolution which in turn would have to be responded by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Mr. Papandreou has stated that he will bring forth his proposal during an imminent meeting with his French counterpart Hubert Vedrine, in Paris. A.F.
 GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER TRAVELS TO SOFIA TODAY
Athens, May 17 (MPA)Greece’s Minister of National Defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos is to embark on a two-day visit to Sofia today, where he will hold talks with Bulgaria’s political leadership regarding the Kosovo crisis. Mr. Tsochatzopoulos will reportedly focus on the initiatives for reaching a diplomatic solution to the problem. A.F.
 BSTDB DIRECTORS TO MEET IN THESSALONIKI THIS WEEK
Thessaloniki, May 17 (MPA)The Board of Directors of the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) is to meet in Thessaloniki on May 21-22, in order to draw the final touches prior to the financial institution’s operation. The meeting will concern the BSTDB's latest financial policies which are subject to approval, matters concerning project strategy and investment policies and assessment of risk management.
While the Bank will embark on full operation mode on the 1st of June, the official inauguration will take place on the 21st of that month.
The bank's budget, which is expected to be 150 million dollars in 1999, will finance projects and programs funded jointly with other credit organizations, such as the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The shareholders of the Black Sea Bank are the 11 member-states of the Black Sea Organization of Economic Cooperation: Greece, Turkey, Russia, Romania, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldavia and Albania. A.F.
 GREEK MINORITY PARTY SENDS HUMANITARIAN AID TO YUGOSLAVIA
Athens, May 17 (MPA)Greece’s minority party Democratic and Social Movement (DIKKI) has gathered twenty-two tons of humanitarian aid for Yugoslavia, which will be transported to Belgrade today.
A delegation of party officials, led by DIKKI President Dimitris Tsovolas, is to accompany the aid mission, which includes pharmaceutical supplies and foodstuffs. DIKKI announced that the aid is a symbolic gesture of solidarity and support towards the Serb people. A.F.
 GREEK CONSORTIUM BUILDS IMPRESSIVE PORT PROJECTS IN GEORGIA
Thessaloniki, May 17 (MPA)A Greek consortium has drafted and completed a “railway ferry” that will link Georgia, Ukraine and Bulgaria, this being the Black Sea region’s first structural project to be funded by the European Union. The sea route, which will link the cities of Poti (Georgia), with Ilitcovsk (Ukraine) and Varna (Bulgaria) and constitutes a section of the TRACECA axis (Transportation Corridor Europe Caucasus Asia), was recently inaugurated by Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze in the presence of presidents and other leaders from 11 countries. The port of Poti is considered of utmost importance as it constitutes the key junction for transporting trade to neighboring countries and the Caspian region. The Greek consortium, comprising “Athena S.A.” and “Elliniki Technodomiki” (with the input of “Triton Engineering Consultants”), undertook the project following an international bidding process and completed the task far ahead of the deadline.
The project, a world first, involved the construction of all necessary facilities and infrastructures for the creation of a link span (similar to a floating bridge) which will enable the complete and mass loading-unloading of cargo trains from ferry boats to - and from - the piers.
The said bridge was fully constructed in Greece, based on a hoisting system patented by Britain’s MDC, and was towed to Poti by traveling a distance of 1,000 miles through the Bosporus Straits. A.F.
 CYPRUS: MASSIVE PEACE MARCH HELD AGAINST BOMBING OF F.R.Y.
Nicosia, May 17 (MPA)Thousands of people participated in a peace march held in Larnaca yesterday to condemn Turkey's occupation of part of Cyprus, the presence of British Bases on the island and NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia. According to the Cyprus News Agency, a resolution was issued calling on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to "intensify his efforts for the implementation of UN resolutions on Cyprus." It also says that the two military bases Britain retains in Cyprus since granting the island freedom from colonial rule in 1960 must be abolished. Moreover, the resolution condemns NATO's offensive against Yugoslavia and calls for its dissolution. Greece’s famous composer Mikis Theodorakis addressed participants, and messages from the Primate of the Church Archbishop Chrysostomos and the Russian Communist Party were read. The march was organized by the Cyprus Peace Council. A.F.
 EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT ARRIVES IN ATHENS TODAY
Athens, May 17 (MPA)European Commission President Romano Prodi is to arrive in Athens today where he will meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis and opposition party leaders. According to reports, Messrs. Prodi and Simitis are expected to discuss selection criteria for the EC’s new commissioners. A.F.
 SINCE BOMBS CONTINUE, BELGRADE CANCELS PARTIAL WITHDRAWAL
Belgrade, May 17 (MPA)As another round of NATO bombings pounded Yugoslavia last night, Belgrade has reconsidered its stance regarding the partial withdrawal of Serb troops from Kosovo.
The chief of the Yugoslav military press center stated that the partial withdrawal cannot continue as, since the day Belgrade announced its intent to do so, the Alliance has intensified the attacks by 50-80%.
Meanwhile, “Newsweek” has reported that the U.S. Pentagon warned President Bill Clinton that the attacks against Yugoslavia cannot be successful without ground operations. A.F.
 AHTISAARI TO MEET WITH SCHROEDER, CHERNOMYRDIN, TALBOTT
Helsinki, May 17 (MPA)Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari is to receive German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Helsinki today, in order to search for approaches to a political settlement of the conflict in the Balkans. President Ahtisaari will also hold talks with the Russian President's special Balkans envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin today and US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott tomorrow. A.F.
 RUSSIAN FM IVANOV IN BRUSSELS, TO MEET WITH RUGOVA
Brussels, May 17 (MPA)Russia’s acting Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is to travel to Brussels today where he is to attend the 2nd session of the Russia-European Union Cooperation Council. Mr. Ivanov will hold talks with the European Union’s Foreign Ministers and the moderate leader of Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians, Ibrahim Rugova. In regards to the Kosovo crisis, political analysts are forecasting clouds in the so-far close cooperation between London and Washington. Greece’s alternate Foreign Minster Yiannos Kranidiotis also spoke of divisions having emerged within the Alliance. A.F.
 NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: REFUGEES BACK AT HOME BY WINTER
Washington, May 17 (MPA)NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana has stated that the Kosovo refugees will be back in their homes by winter.
“We’ll see how the ethnic cleansing ends and i believe that this will be before the start of winter,” Mr. Solana told CNN. A.F.
 RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER TO VISIT CHINA IN EARLY JUNE
Beijing, May 17 (MPA)Preparations are continuing in Beijing for the arrival of Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev, who is to visit China in early June.
According to the Russian news agency Itar-Tass, Mr. Ivanov's visit will take place as scheduled and both sides will discuss a broad spectrum of bilateral and international matters. Mr. Sergeyev's talks will center of the Yugoslavia crisis, the Theater Missile Defense program laid out by the United States and Japan, and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. A.F.