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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 99-05-25
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 25, 1999
NEWS IN DETAIL
 PRESIDENT OF GREECE TO CONDUCT OFFICIAL VISIT TO BULGARIA
Athens, May 25 (MPA)The President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos is to embark on an official visit to Bulgaria tomorrow, May 26, where he will meet with President Petar Stoyanov and Prime Minister Ivan Kostov with whom he will discuss issues of bilateral interest and the latest developments in the Balkans.
The President’s visit to Bulgaria was preceded by an official visit by Greece’s Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, May 17, who met with his Bulgarian counterpart Georgi Ananiev, foreign minister Nadezda Michailova, foreign policy parliamentary committee chairman Asen Agov and parliament speaker Jordan Sokolov. Messrs. Tsochatzopoulos and Ananiev stated that they ascertained an identity of views concerning the Kosovo crisis. Specifically, the two ministers stated that they advocate an expeditious and peaceful settlement of the crisis through diplomatic means. Moreover, they stated that they support the deployment of multi-national peace-keeping forces comprising NATO member and non-member states which would guarantee the implementation of a peace agreement. A.F.
 ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH VARTHOLOMEOS TO VISIT THESSALONIKI
Thessaloniki, May 25 (MPA)The Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos will visit the Thessaloniki suburb of Kalamaria on May 31, the feast of the Holy Spirit, accompanied by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece.
The Ecumenical Patriarch, the spiritual leader of all of the world's Orthodox Christians, arrived in Greece on May 20 for a two-week visit as the official guest of the Orthodox Church of Greece. A.F.
 GREEK FM TO MEET WITH US SECRETARY OF STATE TOMORROW
New York, May 25 (MPA)Greece’s Foreign Minister George Papandreou is presently on a four-day visit to the United States, where he will meet with US envoy Richard Holbrooke this evening in New York and the Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Washington tomorrow.
Mr. Papandreou will brief Ms. Albright on the Greek- Czech initiative for a short suspension of NATO bombings in Yugoslavia before any relevant resolution by the UN Security Council.
China has reportedly welcomed the Greek-Czech initiative. A.F.
 THESSALONIKI MAYOR, CITY COUNCIL PROTEST NATO RAIDS IN SERBIA
Thessaloniki, May 25 (MPA)The Mayor of Thessaloniki Vasilis Papageorgopoulos and the members of the City Council presented a message of peace yesterday afternoon to the NATO forces presently stationed at the city’s port. Mr. Papageorgopoulos called the move a "peace offensive", stressing that the city’s should not be used for the transit of NATO troops for deployment in FYROM. The Mayor led a delegation of the city council members tot he port’s facilities and council chairman Sotiris Kapetanopoulos handed a resolution to the director general of the port authority Nikos Papadopoulos. With the said resolution, the City Council expresses its opposition to any whatsoever involvement of Greek forces to military operations in Yugoslavia, and the passage of NATO forces from Thessaloniki for ground operations in the neighboring country. A.F.
 BALKAN DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTERS TO MEET IN SOFIA TODAY
Sofia, May 25 (MPA)The deputy defense ministers of seven Balkan countries and their US and Italian counterparts will meet Bulgaria today in order to discuss the Kosovo crisis and prospects for ensuring stability in SE Europe following the Yugoslav conflict. The participating countries are Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, FYROM, Romania, Slovenia and Turkey. The Greek delegation will be led by Deputy Defense Minister Dimitris Apostolakis. A.F.
 GREEK ECONOMY REVIEWED BY ECOFIN MINISTERS, OECD
Brussels, May 25 (MPA)The state of Greece’s economy is to be reviewed during the OECD and ECOFIN conferences to be held this week, a stringent examination concerning the country’s efforts to joint the Economic and Monetary Union. ECOFIN is convening in Brussels today, while the annual session of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is to be held in Paris on the 26th and 27th of May. Greece will be represented by the Minister of National Economy and Finance Yiannos Papantoniou. A.F.
 MAIN OPPOSITION IS LEADING IN POLL CONDUCTED FOR RULING PARTY
Athens, May 25 (MPA)Greece’s main opposition party New Democracy is ahead of the ruling PASOK party by 2.4 percentage points, according to a poll published in an Athens daily and conducted by "Ìetron Analysis" on behalf of PASOK.
According to the poll, New Democracy garnered the advocacy of 31.9% of those polled, while PASOK fell slightly behind with 29,4%. The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) emerges as third party with a percentage surmounting seven percent, while the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos), as well as the Democratic and Social Movement (DIKKI)both show increased percentage rates.
In spite of the party percentages, Prime Minister (and PASOK leader) Costas Simitis is far ahead of N.D. leader Costas Karamanlis, being the leading choice of those polled as to who would make a more able premier. A.F.
 GREEK MEN LIVING ABROAD CAN VOTE IN EUROELECTIONS
Athens, May 25 (MPA)According to a parliamentary resolution, Greek males who live abroad and plan to arrive in Greece in order to vote in the Euroelections are exempt from the control of their conscription status between May 24 and June 20. The decision excludes deserters, while prosecution against those falling under the relevant resolution will also be suspended over the same period. A.F.
 NATO INTENSIFIES RAIDS AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA
Belgrade, May 25 (MPA)NATO aircraft continued to pound Yugoslavia last night, targeting Belgrade, Nis, Novi Sad and other cities. Belgrade’s police headquarters, or what’s left of it, was again subject to the raids, while over 20 missiles fell near Prizren in Kosovo and an oil refinery in Novi Sad. According to the U.S. Pentagon, over 1,000 aircraft are taking part in this operation, a triple amount since the start of the war. According to NATO officials, the air raids will have destroyed or removed all Serb forces from Kosovo within the next two months. A.F.
 DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS CONTINUE IN YUGOSLAVIA
Moscow, May 25 (MPA)U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott will fly to Moscow tomorrow for further consultations over Kosovo. While in Moscow, Mr. Talbott is expected to have talks with Russia's Balkans envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin and Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. "The only purpose of these contacts is to ensure a speedy end to the military operation against Yugoslavia and put the Kosovo settlement on a legal footing," Ivanov said. A.F.
 CHERNOMYRDIN:TOMORROW’S TALKS SHOULD LEAD TO END OF RAIDS
Moscow, May 25 (MPA)Russian presidential envoy on Yugoslavia Viktor Chernomyrdin has stated that tomorrow’s trilateral talks in Moscow “should lead to an end to air strikes in Yugoslavia."
According to the Russian news agency Itar-Tass, Mr. Chernomyrdin said that he will travel to Belgrade on Thursday irrespective of the outcome of talks in Moscow.
He noted that only two key questions have to be agreed at the talks in Moscow: the withdrawal of Serbian troops from Kosovo and the structure of international presence in that province.
He stressed that "Belgrade and (Yugoslav President Slobodan) Milosevic are ready to accept many things, including the participation of NATO countries, which are not actively involved in combat actions, such as Greece or Portugal, to take part in the international presence." The Russian envoy expressed the hope that the talks will be successful and Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari will go to the Yugoslav capital with him.
Mr. Chernomyrdin pointed out that the bombings must be stopped or at least "there should be a temporary pause stipulated by real steps by the sides. A pause is needed very much," he added. A.F.
 UNHCR REPORTS: KOSOVO EXODUS HAS RESUMED WITH FULL FORCE
United Nations, May 25 (MPA)The exodus of refugees from Kosovo into Albania and FYROM has resumed with full force, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced yesterday. According to UNHCR, more than 18,000 refugees crossed into the two countries in the three-day period from Friday through Sunday and thousands more streamed across the borders yesterday. Approximately 7,700 refugees arrived on Saturday in FYROM and another 7,500 on Sunday. UNHCR reported more than 15 bus loads of refugees arrived early yesterday and a train with at least 15 carriages reached the border at Blace. According to UNHCR, "a wall" of refugees was walking towards the border from the railhead and one arrival said the line stretched back one kilometer into Kosovo. Many of the refugees who were elderly and in "very poor condition" required immediate medical attention, UNHCR said. A.F.