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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 99-05-19
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 19, 1999
NEWS IN DETAIL
 GREEK FM TO MEET WITH FINLAND’S PRESIDENT AHTISAARI TODAY
Helsinki, May 19 (MPA)Greece’s Foreign Minister George Papandreou is to be received by the President of Finland Marti Ahtisaari, who is also carrying out a mediatory role in the Kosovo crisis. Mr. Papandreou was received yesterday by the Finnish Premier Paavo Lipponen and his counterpart Tarja Halonen, whom he briefed on the Greek proposal for a 48- hour truce in Yugoslavia. "We propose a ceasefire for a short period of time, let us say 48 hours, so that we might enter the final phase towards a diplomatic solution," he stated. Furthermore, Messrs. Papandreou and Halonen discussed issues concerning the "Day After" in the Balkans. Finland assumes the EU presidency on July 1 and, as such, will coordinate the implementation of any potential agreement.
Mr. Papandreou will also meet with US Assistant Secretary of State Strobe Talbott today, in order to discuss the latter’s talks with Russian mediator Viktor Chernomyrdin. A.F.
 GREEK PROPOSAL FOR 48-TRUCE IN YUGOSLAVIA IS GAINING GROUND
Athens, May 19 (MPA)Greece’s proposal for a 48-hour truce period, which would require the acceptance of Russia and China, would facilitate the final phase of the diplomatic process, according to Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou. Mr. Papandreou further added that a number of Allies, such as Germany, France and Italy, have already expressed their agreement with the said proposal. The Foreign Minister stated that the truce period would have to follow a discussion with Belgrade, in order to provide the necessary boost to a diplomatic outcome of the crisis. A.F.
 GERMANY, ITALY, MAYBE FRANCE, SUPPORT GREEK TRUCE PROPOSAL
London, May 19 (MPA)Germany and Italy support on principle Greece’s proposal for a 48-hour truce period in Yugoslavia, while France is positively eyeing the proposal, thus giving the opportunity to promote diplomatic initiatives on the Kosovo crisis, according to Greece’s Foreign Minister George Papandreou.
In an interview with BBC, Mr. Papandreou said that the Greek proposal refers to the final phase of the diplomatic process towards a solution, stressing that the UN would have to issue a resolution which would be approved by Russia and China, both of which countries have set ceasefire as a precondition. When asked if, in the case of a 48-hour truce, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic would undertake a gesture of good will, Mr. Papandreou said that “the effort would aim at reaching an understanding with Mr. Milosevic and, even if complete agreement is not attained, it would still bring us close enough as to provide a final push which would force all sides to move towards a diplomatic solution.”
The Greek Foreign Minister believes that there is a tendency within Yugoslav political circles to abide by the terms set forth by the G-8, “without this meaning that we’ve reached an agreement,” as he said, adding that the terms are general and their application can stumble on negotiations. A.F.
 GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER CONCLUDES TWO-DAY VISIT TO BULGARIA
Sofia, May 19 (MPA)Greece’s Minister of Defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos has concluded his two-day visit to Bulgaria, where he held talks with Bulgaria’s political leadership regarding the initiatives for reaching a diplomatic solution to the Kosovo crisis. Mr. Tsochatzopoulos expressed his optimism that the terms and preconditions for a peaceful solution to the Kosovo crisis will soon emerge.
"We are optimistic that the terms for a peaceful solution will emerge in the next few days from the continuing initiatives," he said, reiterating that the positions of Sofia and Athens converge on the issue of Yugoslavia. Mr. Tsochatzopoulos was received by Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov, Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mihailova and Defense Minister Mr. Ananiev on Monday, with whom he signed an agreement on the quality of armaments and products of war industries, while he also held talks with the leader of the socialist party Mr. Parvanov. The Defense Minister stated that he ascertained that "there is also a common conception in Bulgaria on the need to promote a diplomatic solution as soon as possible." A.F.
 RUSSIA’S DEPUTY FUEL AND ENERGY MINISTER VISITS GREECE
Athens, May 19 (MPA)Russia’s Deputy Fuel and Energy Minister Yelena Telegina was received in Athens yesterday by the Minister of Development Evangelos Venizelos with whom she discussed the plans for building the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline and joint power generation projects.
The Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline will be jointly constructed by Greece, Russia and Bulgaria and envisions a transport link for Russian oil between the Bulgarian port of Burgas and the Greek port of Alexandroupolis.
A group of Russian experts met with their Greek colleagues and reviewed the results of the first phase of the project’s feasibility study. A.F.
 FOREIGN MINISTRY CONFERS ON TRIPARTITE AID TO YUGOSLAVIA
Athens, May 19 (MPA)The heads of the Russia, Switzerland and Greece Coordinating Committee of the tripartite "Focus" humanitarian initiative of delivering and distributing humanitarian aid in Yugoslavia are presently conferring in Athens with alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis in order to review plans of action and coordination.
The meeting is being held at the Foreign Ministry’s premises, and features the participation of Russian Acting Minister for Civil Defense and Emergencies Sergei Shoigu, Swiss Foreign Ministry general director Walter Fust and Greek FM’s special envoy for humanitarian issues Alexis Rontos. A.F.
 PRESIDENT OF GREECE TO CONDUCT OFFICIAL VISIT TO BULGARIA
Athens, May 19 (MPA)The President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos is to conduct an official visit to Bulgaria next week.
President Stephanopoulos will embark on his visit on Wednesday, May 26, and will return to Athens on Friday, May 28. A.F.
 MOODY’S CONFIDENT OF GREECE’S ACCESSION TO EMU
Thessaloniki, May 19 (MPA)Moody’s has postponed the review of Greece’s credit rating for the near future, maintaining the present status which ranks the country at the Baa1 level for external debt and A2 for internal.
According to Moody’s newest report, the relatively high inflation rate was the factor for maintaining Greece’s credit rating at the present level, as opposed to upgrading it, citing the budget deficit and the negative international conditions as reasons for the stalling.
Nevertheless, the agency estimates that Greece will be able to join Economic and Monetary Union in 2001, citing the national currency’s prospect as “positive”, a shift form the previous characterization of “stable”. A.F.
 NEXT YEAR’S BUDGET WILL BE A TIGHT ONE, STATE ANNOUNCES
Thessaloniki, May 19 (MPA)Next year’s budget will a tight one, judging by the circular released by the Undersecretary of Finance Nikos Christodoulakis.
Specifically, the draft budget calls for strict fiscal policy, severely containing state expenditures and new hires.
Another factor is a pre-determined ceiling on spending by subsidized institutions, not allowing for any leeway.
Outlining the priorities taken into consideration while drafting the budget, Mr. Christodoulakis cited the following targets:
Increase reserves and proceed with structural reforms through privatization, contain new hires, monitor spending by state agencies, merge or abolish outdated institutions and activities, enforce a duplicate accounting system on state agencies and pay public servants through state banks. A.F.
 PARLIAMENT’S FOREIGN-SOCIAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE GOES TO F.R.Y.
Athens, May 19 (MPA)A delegation comprising members of the Greek Parliament’s foreign and social affairs committee is to travel to Belgrade today where they will meet with representatives of the Yugoslav parliament and party officials.
The delegation is headed by PASOK deputy Lambros Kannellopoulos. A.F.
 NATO RAIDS CONTINUE IN YUGOSLAVIA, DESPITE DIPLOMATIC MOVES
Belgrade, May 19 (MPA)In spite of the diplomatic moves that aim at resolving the Kosovo crisis, NATO aircraft continued their raids against Yugoslavia last night, for the 56th consecutive day. A fuel depot belonging to “Yugopetrol” was stricken in the heart of Belgrade, the first the region was attacked after the bombing of the city’s Chinese embassy. United States President Bill Clinton reiterated that the Alliance has to press on with the strikes to the end. Nevertheless, he added that no future possibility has been ruled out. A.F.
 FLURRY OF DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS IN THE WORKS FOR KOSOVO
Belgrade, May 19 (MPA)Russian special envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin is due to arrive in Belgrade today, after having met yesterday with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott in Helsinki, to discuss Kosovo peace plans. Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari mediated the talks. Mr. Chernomyrdin plans to meet again with Mr. Talbott this morning prior to traveling to the Yugoslav capital where he will be received by President Slobodan Milosevic. A.F.
 BSTDB DIRECTORS TO MEET IN THESSALONIKI THIS WEEK
Thessaloniki, May 19 (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.
 UN SECRETARY-GENERAL TRAVELS TO FYROM TODAY
Skopje, May 19 (MPA)United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is to travel to FYROM today in order to assess UN-led efforts to cope with the massive outflow of Kosovo refugees and will visit Kukes, on the Albanian border with Kosovo, tomorrow. Speaking in The Hague at the commemoration of the Centennial of the first International Peace Conference yesterday, the Secretary-General said that a renewal of the effectiveness and relevance of the Security Council must become a cornerstone of efforts to promote international peace and security in the next century. He stressed that unless the Security Council "is restored to its pre-eminent position as the sole source of legitimacy on the use of force, we are on a dangerous path to anarchy." A.F.
 COMMEMORATION DAY FOR PONTIAN GENOCIDE OBSERVED TODAY
Thessaloniki, May 19 (MPA)Today marks the commemoration of the genocide committed in 1919 by the Turks of Greeks from the Pontus, with laying of wreaths and marches held throughout Greece. In Thessaloniki, a gathering will be held at the city’s St. Sophia Square, while the Minister of Development Evangelos Venizelos will give an address at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The gathering will begin with addresses given by prominent Pontoons of Thessaloniki, while it will also feature music and dance. The participants will conduct a rally to the Turkish consulate where Pontian Associations will post a resolution on the building’s entrance.
Mr. Venizelos’ address, organized by the Pan- Hellenic Federation of Pontian Associations, will concern “The Pontian Genocide: The Lesson of History and International Law at the Dawn of the 21st Century”. A.F.