|Saturday, 24 February 2024
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-02-13
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 GREEK PM ON BUCHAREST SUMMITAthens, 13 February 2000 (18:57 UTC+2)
In a press conference following the inter-Balkan conference of heads of state or government in Bucharest yesterday, Prime Minister Costas Simitis characterized the Romania-held meeting as a more positive step than those taken in Crete and
The Greek Premier stated that the participating coutnries are looking forward to coperating with the European Union and the Euro-Atlantic structures, while all are in favor of cooperation with Yugoslavia.
Yugoslavia did not attend the Summit conference, although its flag was hoisted at the table.
When asked by the Macedonian Press Agency if he believes that such cooperation is feasible with Slobodan Milosevic in power, Mr. Simitis responded that "Mr. Milosevic did not seem like he wants to cooperate. Yugoslavia has all the requirements for accession."
Moreover, Mr. Simitis stressed that Greece carries out a significant role in the Balkan region, which it intends to intensify.
When asked if he discussed the name issue pending between Greece and FYROM with the latter's premier, Mr. Simitis simply stated that he mentioned the subject.
 TRIPARTITE ANTI-DRUG COOPERATIONThessaloniki, 13 February 2000 (18:57 UTC+2)
Officials from Greece, Bulgaria and FYROM participated in a Balkan Region Counter-Narcotics Meeting last week, held by the U.S. Consulate General in Thessaloniki and the U.S. embassy's Drug Enforcement Administration Office.
According to press reports, the secret meeting featured the participation of Greek police officers, the Greek Customs Agency, the Greek Economic crime enforcement agency, the Bulgarian National Agency against organized crime and FYROM's National Police.
 MINISTER IRATE OVER 3 DRS TAX «DEBT», ORDERS CANCELLATIONAthens, 13 February 2000 (18:57 UTC+2)
Deputy Finance Minister George Drys has vowed to intervene personally to cancel the 3-drachma tax debt burdening a peach farmer in northern Greece, stating that "I personally will see to it that such excessive actions by civil servants will never be repeated."
The taxpayer, 30-year-old Prokopis Fotopoulos, owed three drachmas (about one U.S. cent) in back taxes, an amount which doubled with interest through the course of six years, as the sum originally due was 1.5 drachmas.
Although he offered to pay the amount, proffering 5 drachmas, Fotopoulos was told by the overzealous tax officials 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, in about eight years.
 GREEK, TURKISH, BULGARIAN TRIPARTITE MEETING IN THRACEThessaloniki, 13 February 2000 (18:56 UTC+2)
The foreign ministers of Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria are to meet in Thrace - the region where the three countries share borders - on February 19, according to government spokesman Dimitris Reppas.
Mr. Reppas called the tripartite meeting hopeful, adding that it ushers in a new mode of communication between the three neighbors.
 NATO CHIEF TO VISIT GREECEAthens, 13 February 2000 (18:56 UTC+2)
NATO secretary-general George Robertson will visit Greece on February 23, bringing a recommencement of NATO initiatives for the creation of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) between Greece and Turkey, as well as talks on the latest developments in the Balkans.
According to reports, Mr. Robertson will insist on the expansion of the CBMs, noting the need of securing greater unity in the southern wing of the alliance.
The developments in Kosovo and Montenegro are also expected to come high on the agenda of Robertson's meeting with Greek officials. Officials will examine the work of the KFOR multinational force and its prospects, as well as the rising tensions in Montenegro.
 EUROPEAN PEOPLES PARTY CONFERENCE IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 13 February 2000 (18:56 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.
 S.E. EUROPES PMs SIGN STABILITY PACTBucharest, 13 February 2000 (18:57 UTC+2)
The six leaders of the Southeast European countries, namely the Premiers of Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, Turkey and FYROM, signed the Pact of Stability, Security and Good Neighborliness in S.E. Europe and renewed regional cooperation in Bucharest yesterday.
This was the third inter-Balkan conference of heads of state or government, with the two previous ones held in Greece's Crete and Turkey's Antalya.
Addressing the conference, Prime Minister Costas Simitis said great effort must be expended in promoting development, cooperation policies and relations with the European Union.
Mr. Simitis and Foreign Minister George Papandreou met 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 also met privately with Bulgaria's Premier Ivan Kostov, and his counterpart from FYROM Liupcko Georgievski.
 OIL PRICES SURGE TO HIGHEST LEVELS IN NINE YEARSLondon, 13 February 2000 (18:58 UTC+2)
Oil prices leapt to fresh post-Gulf War highs yesterday after Saudi Arabia deepened export cuts and the West's energy watchdog warned consumers of a worldwide scramble for supply.
Benchmark Brent crude hurdled $28 a barrel for the first time in nine years to a peak of $28.13, a 65 cent gain on the day.
Prices took off on news that OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia has allowed no let-up in supply restraint to western lifters by deepening cuts in exports to both European and US customers in March.
Support also came from a report from the International Energy Agency that world inventories were drained sharply at the end of last year and the decline in stockpiles was accelerating.
The European Union has issued a rare warning about possible damage to the global economy.
 CYPRUS HOUSE PRESIDENT UNDERGOES SURGERYLondon, 13 February 2000 (18:57 UTC+2)
Cyprus's President of the House of Representatives Spyros Kyprianou is reportedly recuperating well at Saint Mary's Hospital in London where surgeons rewire his sternum.
Mr. Kyprianou left for London urgently on Friday to undergo the operation
due to problems he was facing following an open-heart surgery he had in the United States last month.
 REPORT: GREECE HAS YET TO QUALIFY FOR US VISA WAIVERWashington, 13 February 2000 (19:38 UTC+2)
Greece has not fulfilled conditions to qualify for a US visa waiver program that covers most of Europe, but can join once it does, a Clinton administration official said yesterday.
According to the "Athens News", the former diplomat who served at the US embassy in Athens told Congress that Greece should continue to be excluded until it arrests members of the November 17 terrorist group blamed for the killing of four Americans since 1975.
Testifying before a House immigration subcommittee, Assistant Secretary of
State for Consular Affairs Mary Ryan said three new countries have joined the program since 1997 - Uruguay, Singapore and Portugal, bringing the total to 29.
Under the program, tourists and business people with return tickets can stay up to 90 days without a visa. Americans get the same privileges in trips to those countries.
"Greece has been informed that upon fulfillment of specified conditions, it will be designated also," Ms. Ryan said.
These include reforming its passport issuing program to prevent fraud and more strongly enforcing European Union common frontier and crime-fighting standards.
But Wayne Merry, the former diplomat, told the hearing Greece was far from meeting these two criteria and has one of the world's worst records in combating terrorism.
"Until the Greek government takes the minimal step of apprehending the murderers of our diplomatic and military representatives, I believe the United States should deny approbation to Greek law enforcement through waiving the visa requirement," he said.
Mr. Merry, a director of the Atlantic Council of the United States, a private
foundation, was referring to the Greek domestic terrorist organization called November 17 whose 21 victims since 1975 include four Americans, among them the CIA station chief in Athens, and one US embassy employee.
"Not a single member of this group has even been identified, apprehended or punished in any way," Merry said.
"Last year, it carried out five attacks, nearly killing the German and Dutch ambassadors."
 GREEK BUSINESS DELEGATION ON MISSION TO SYDNEYMelbourne, 13 February 2000 (18:56 UTC+2)
A delegation of leading Greek investors are to travel to Sydney this month, in order to view the city's preparations for the Olympic Games.
The four-day visit will coincide with the convention of the International Olympic Committee's executive committee, also to be held in Syndey, which will review the contribution of sponsorships to this year's Games, as well as to the Athens-held Olympics in 2000. The session will be attended by IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch.
The delegates who will arrive in Sydney on February 16 accompanied by journalists, will be received by Australian businessmen and with officials from Australia's Ministry of Foreign Trade.
Moreover, meetings are to be held with Australia's Ministers of Commerce and Athletics, as well as with the mayor of the city of Sydney.
 CONFERENCE ON GREEK-AUSTRALIAN LITERATURE AT RMITCanberra, 13 February 2000 (18:56 UTC+2)
The Greek Australian Archive Museum and Learning Centre, RMIT, is currently organizing the "Third Conference on Greek-Australian Literature" to be held on the 21st, 21st, 22nd and 23rd of February.
The conference, funded by the Australia Council, will contribute to the analysis of the past, review of the present, and appraisal of future trends. The conference is assisted financially by the Australia Council, the Federal Government's Arts Funding & Advisory Body.
The first such conference organized by RMIT in 1986 was Greek-Australian Literature: Literature in the making; the second, in 1992 (also funded by the Australian Council), was titled Greek-Australian Literature: the Traditions Continue.