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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-02-11
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 EUROPEAN PEOPLES PARTY CONFERS ON BALKANSThessaloniki, 11 February 2000 (10:08 UTC+2)
In cooperation with the European People's Party, Greece main opposition New Democracy is to hold a conference in Thessaloniki this month over matters pertaining to democracy, stability and cooperation in Southeastern Europe.
The two-day event, to be held on February 25-26, will be addressed by N.D. leader Costas Karamanlis who will speak on A New Strategy of Cooperation and Development in the Balkans.
 GREEK FIRMS EXPOSITION OPENS IN FYROMSkopje, 11 February 2000 (11:13 UTC+2)
A Greek firms exposition is presently underway in Skopje, FYROM, featuring the participation of 110 companies from the food, chemical, information and health sectors.
Inaugurated yesterday by the vice-president of FYROM Vasil Topurkovski, the exposition will provide the opportunity for joint ventures between the countries. It will be held until February 20.
 THE GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN ON THE "FALCON" FINDINGSAthens, 11 February 2000 (17:30 UTC+2)
Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, responding to a question by reporters on whether prime minister Kostas Simitis will raise the "Falcon" issue to his Romanian counterpart during his visit to Bucharest, stated that the committee of experts set up in Romania to examine the conditions under which the "Falcon" freak accident occurred resulting to the deaths of a number of its passengers among them deputy foreign minister Yiannos Kranidiotis must continue its work undistracted.
Mr. Reppas stated that the Romanian mass media have reported that the committee together with foreign specialists, such as Greeks, met today and he expressed the hope that the findings of the committee will be out soon.
 FYROM'S TRACK AND FIELD SECRETARY WAS KILLED IN A TRAFFIC ACCIDENTThessaloniki, 11 February 2000 (16:59 UTC+2)
FYROM's track and field secretary was killed, while two female athletes were seriously injured when their private car crashed on a tree due to slippery road.
Venofski Menoti, 42 was killed while 19yearolds Maja Kujoska and Daniella Kulieska were injured. The young women were going to Athens to take part in track and field sports events. The traffic accident happened at the Thessaloniki-Athens national motor-way in Stilida.
 THE NEW ARMORED BATTLE TANK WAS PRESENTED TODAYThessaloniki, 11 February 2000 (16:59 UTC+2)
The new armored battle tank (TOMA), under the name "Centaur", was presented today at the Litochoro, Pieria shooting ground.
Army general staff chief Konstantinos Panagiotakis characterized as successful the presentation that was attended by representatives of German defense industries. The armored tank was operated by two crews, a Greek and German and overcame successfully all obstacles.
Greek Vehicle Industry president Likourgos Sakellaris spoke about the capabilities of the armored tank and said that the number of the tanks that will be built will depend on the needs of the armed forces within the framework of the armaments program.
Minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos was unable to attend the presentation due to prior engagements that kept him in Athens.
 KARAMANLIS' PRESS CONFERENCE ON THE PRE-ELECTION PERIODAthens, 11 February 2000 (16:58 UTC+2)
Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis expressed the certainty that his party will win the April 9 parliamentary elections in a press conference he gave in Athens today to present his party's stance in the pre-election period.
Mr. Karamanlis stated that New Democracy will exercise criticism on the government without exaggerations and extremes while at the same time it will promote its own positions.
The New Democracy leader sent a letter to EU Commissioner Romado Prodi asking him to ban the promotion of projects built with community funds during the pre-election period. He also suggested that there should be no open-air pre-election rallies and backed the election spending checks, while he proposed that the radio and television air time that will be divided among the political parties should be bought.
On the television debate with prime minister Kostas Simitis he said that he would accept a face-to-face television appearance under the pre-condition that there will be a dialogue and not a monologue.
Responding to a question on the decision of Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos not to run for parliament, he stated that he will be useful to the party from the position he has chosen.
 GAINS OF 0.04% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 11 February 2000 (16:58 UTC+2)
The Athens Stock Exchange general index recorded gains of 0.04% today and closed at 5.502,32 points, while the volume of transactions was at 212 billion drachmas.
Most of the secondary indexes recorded losses except from the bank shares and investment companies that managed to record gains in the last 10 minutes of the session.
 A YOUNG ALBANIAN WOMAN GAVE BIRTH AT THE CUSTOMS OFFICE OF KRISTALLOPIGIThessaloniki, 11 February 2000 (16:57 UTC+2)
A 25yearold Albanian woman gave birth to a healthy baby-girl at the Customs Office of Kristallopigi with the help of the Greek Customs officers.
The young woman left Thessaloniki for Koritsa with her husband to give birth. At 4:30am the Greek Railways bus to Koritsa arrived at Kristallopigi and the birth pains came during the customs checks.
The two Greek customs officers who helped the woman in the delivery expressed the wish to baptize the child at the Kristallopigi chapel.
 ROKOFILLOS' STATEMENTS ON THE EU ENLARGEMENTAthens, 11 February 2000 (16:57 UTC+2)
The hope that the Turkish Cypriot side will take part in the negotiations for Cyprus' accession into the European Union was expressed by deputy foreign minister Christos Rokofillos speaking in a meeting organized in Athens by the diplomatic academy and the European forum. The meeting was held to focus on the enlargement of the European Union after the Helsinki EU summit meeting.
Referring to Turkey's accession into the EU, Mr. Rokofillos pointed out that it is up to Ankara to respond to the European challenge and contribute to the improvement of the Greek-Turkish relations.
 NEW CENTERS OF EUROPEAN INFORMATION FOUNDEDThessaloniki, 11 February 2000 (14:47 UTC+2)
Ten new centers of European Information are presently operating in Greece, aimed at providing the average citizen with access to reports, news and programs.
Specifically, five new info points have been established in the cities of Lamia, Rhodes, Iraklion Patras and Larisa, with the cities of Athens, Thessaloniki and Komotene already having such centers.
Moreover, four new centers of agricultural information and activity (Carrefours) were established in the cities of Livadia, Xanthi, Naxos and Kalamata, joining the existing ones in Thessaloniki, Ioannina, Karditsa, Egio and Chania.
Also, a new Center of European Documentation (CDE) was established at the University of Crete, making it the fourth such center after Athens, Piraeus, Thessaloniki and Komotene.
Fourteen Euro Info Centers are already in operation throughout Greece.
 ALBANIA EYES GREEK ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTUREThessaloniki, 11 February 2000 (14:31 UTC+2)
Since the country is undergoing administrative restructuring, Albania is reportedly looking to adopt Greece's system which they deem as most suitable for their needs.
The Prefects of Albania and western Macedonia met recently in Korce, on the initiative of the Albanian Prefect Bardhi Alickolli, where the discussion focused on the further development of bilateral ties, while the Albanian prefects were given an outline of the Greek model of administration.
The Secretary General of the Western Macedonia Prefecture Aris Papadopoulos pointed out that a given administrative system has to be adjusted to the specific country on the basis of its structure, mechanisms and public mentality.
 FARMER IN DEBT FOR LIFE, OWES 10 DRS IN TAXESThessaloniki, 11 February 2000 (14:17 UTC+2)
A young Greek farmer could have his property confiscated if he doesn't pay three drachmas (about ten U.S. cents) owed in back taxes, an amount which doubled with interest through the course of six years, as the sum originally due was 1.5 drachmas.
Thirty-year-old Prokopis Fotopoulos offered to pay the amount, proffering 5 drachmas, but was told that the tax office could not accept payment because it could not give him a receipt for such a small amount.
Instead, the tax officers stated, he could pay once the interest comes to 10 drachmas. This could be in about eight years.
 KIPRIANOU LEAVES FOR LONDON TODAY TO UNDERGO A NEW SURGERYNicosia, 11 February 2000 (16:59 UTC+2)
Cypriot parliament president Spiros Kiprianou leaves for London today to undergo a new operation after the complications that appeared one month after the open heart surgery he underwent in the United States.
According to an official statement, Mr. Kiprianou will undergo a surgery tomorrow afternoon.
 PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS LEAVES FOR BUCHARESTBucharest, 11 February 2000 (16:58 UTC+2)
Prime minister Kostas Simitis will be in Bucharest today to attend the inter-Balkan conference. On the sidelines of the conference, Mr. Simitis is expected to meet with his counterparts from Turkey, Bulgaria and FYROM, while Greece will raise the issue of the partial lifting of the sanctions imposed on Yugoslavia.
The issue will be raised and in the European Union foreign ministers' meeting that will be held in Brussels on Monday.
Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas pointed out that a declaration of friendship and cooperation for security and stability in south-eastern Europe will be signed in the Bucharest conference.
 THE GREEK AMBASSADOR TO YUGOSLAVIA VISITED MONTENEGROPodgorica, 11 February 2000 (16:58 UTC+2)
Greek ambassador to Yugoslavia Panagiotis Vlassopoulos conveyed to Montenegro president Milo Juganovic the support of the Greek government to the policy followed by Montenegro for the strengthening of democratic procedures and the preservation and strengthening of political stability in Yugoslavia and the region.
In the meeting were discussed issues concerning Montenegro and relations with Serbia as well as the mutual interest in the strengthening of bilateral relations.
The Greek ambassador also met in Podgorica with parliament president Svetozar Marovic and expressed satisfaction over the state of relations between Montenegro and Greece.
 PROPOSAL TO NAME A BELGRADE AVENUE AFTER ELEFTHERIOS VENIZELOSBelgrade, 11 February 2000 (16:57 UTC+2)
An initiative to name a main avenue in Belgrade after Eleftherios Venizelos has been undertaken by Association of Greeks in Serbia former president and current president of the "Aristotle" cultural center Diogenis Valavanidis.
In statements he made to the television station "Studio B" explained the reasons that led him to undertake this initiative and referred extensively to the personality of Eleftherios Venizelos reminding the statements made by the distinguished Greek politician and statesman on Serbia and the Serb army during WWI, while he also stressed that the exhausted Serb army reached the island of Corfu in the Ionian Sea with the permission of Eleftherios Venizelos.
Mr. Valavanidis stated that his initiative had the positive response of Belgrade's municipal authorities and that he was informed that the issue has been placed among the priorities of the municipality.
 S.E. EUROPES PMs TO SIGN STABILITY PACTBucharest, 11 February 2000 (10:08 UTC+2)
The prime ministers of Southeastern European countries are to meet in Bucharest tomorrow in order to sign the Pact of Stability, Security and Good Neighborliness in S.E. Europe and renew regional cooperation.
The six leaders of the Southeast European countries, namely the Premiers of Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, Turkey and FYROM, are to meet tomorrow in order to sign the Chart of Friendship, Stability, Security and Cooperation in Southeast Europe. Yugoslavia will not be attending since, according to Romania's Foreign Ministry, the said country's participation is not feasible until its domestic situation has been resolved.
Romanian Premier Emil Constantinescu will chair the meeting, since his country presently holds the presidium of the said cooperation initiative.
The Coordinator of the Stability Pact for the Balkans Bodo Hombach is to also attend the signing ceremony.
Greece's Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister George Papandreou are to meet with their Turkish counterparts, Bulent Ecevit and Ismael Cem, respectively, on the sidelines of the Bucharest-held summit. In addition to his Turkish counterpart, Mr. Simitis will also meet privately with Bulgaria's Premier Ivan Kostov, and his counterpart from FYROM Liupcko Georgievski.
According to diplomatic circles n Athens, the Simitis-Ecevit meeting in Bucharest will aim at maintaining the present state of G/T relations, while matters of substance are not expected to be touched upon.