|Monday, 11 December 2023|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-02-26
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 ANDREW ATHENS TOURS ATHENS-NICOSIA-LONDONThessaloniki, 26 February 2000 (17:18 UTC+2)
World Council of Hellenes Abroad, SAE, president Andrew Athens is on a tour of Athens, Nicosia and London within the framework of the campaign for the financial support of SAE's basic medical care program for the Greeks in the former soviet countries.
Mr. Athens will meet with private individuals in the effort to raise funds in order to keep the three SAE medical centers open in the Republic of Georgia, maintain the visiting nurses network in the Ukraine and create other centers for the relief of basic health needs of the Greek communities in the former soviet countries.
SAE has already offered the sum of US$ 24 million, said Mr. Athens, but the systematic and generous support of the Greek communities around the world is necessary for the improvement of the living conditions of the Greeks in the former soviet union.
 US STATE DEPARTMENT: GREECE RESPECTS HUMAN RIGHTSWashington, 26 February 2000 (17:07 UTC+2)
The Greek government has respected the rights of most of its citizens in spite of the fact that there are still problems in certain issues, while in others there was progress, according to the annual World Report on Human Rights that was issued by the US State Department yesterday.
On the contrary, the situation in Turkey is being described in the darkest colors and it is stressed that the army exerts a direct influence on the government policy and actions and on political life as well. It is also stressed that serious violations of human rights continued in spite of the measures adopted by the Ecevit government for the improvement of the situation.
On Greece, the report mentions that the government continued to take structural measures for the improvement of the living conditions of the inmates in the correctional facilities but in certain cases the police operations led to detentions of immigrants under harsh conditions.
There are legal restrictions in the establishment of associations by ethnic minorities, according to the report, but religious leaders have recognized an overall improvement in the government's tolerance. However, certain restrictions in the religious freedom are still in effect and police continued to arrest members of non Orthodox religions accused of trying to convert people.
The report mentions that Greece formally recognizes only the Muslim minority based on the 1923 Treaty of Lauzanne and in spite of the fact that it has reaffirmed the right of the people to self-identification the government continues to refuse to formally recognize the existence of non Muslim groups, mainly the Slav-speaking groups, under the term "minority".
According to the report, the increase in the xenophobic sentiment is linked to the increase in the number of foreigners living and working in Greece and it is mainly directed to the Albanians, who make up the 3/5 of the foreigners in the country.
In the case of Turkey, an extensive reference is made to the repeated violations of human rights, the systematic torture by the police encouraged by the fact that no one is being punished for such actions, the restrictions in the freedom of speech and culture, mainly regarding the Kurdish population, and the systematic persecutions suffered by the Islamists.
The report mentions characteristically that members of the Turkish political and military elite see the Islamists and the Kurdish nationalists as a threat for their country and still call for specific measures to be taken including the restrictions in the freedom of expression.
 THE EUROPEAN POPULAR PARTY CONFERENCE HAS ENDED IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 26 February 2000 (17:18 UTC+2)
Greek right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis got the support of the European Popular Party concerning the respect of the existing borders in the region in the European Popular Party conference that opened in Thessaloniki yesterday with the participation of 45 political parties representing the European center-right.
In the final statement issued by the conference participants, the European Popular Party stresses that the borders of south-eastern Europe should be respected. Also, the European Popular Party adopted the position of New Democracy for the easing of the embargo on Serbia. The final statement also refers to the backing of the democratic parties in the imminent elections in Serbia and to the selective lifting of the embargo.
Regarding Albania, an appeal was made for the respect of the principles of equality and balance between the government coalition and the opposition, while its support to the OSCE work is being reiterated.
In the final statement, a wish is being expressed that the new government of Croatia will be more flexible in the implementation of the Dayton peace accord. Also, an appeal is being made to all sides calling for reason to prevail in the issue of the refugees in Bosnia.
The European Popular Party also accepted the New Democracy proposal to establish a party secretariat in Thessaloniki to coordinate the activities on south-eastern Europe undertaken by the institutions operating within the framework of the party-members. Mr. Karamanlis had stated that the secretariat must operate immediately and the cost of its operation will be taken up by the Greek right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy.
Yesterday, in his introductory speech European Popular Party president Mr. Martens stated that the party wants to help New Democracy to win the April 9 parliamentary elections and praised Mr. Karamanlis characterizing him as an excellent politician, while he referred to statements made by a government minister that Greece will have difficulty to enter the Euro-zone if the elections are won by New Democracy, stating that this is not true.
Mr. Martens also characterized as unacceptable Turkey's refusal to allow the European parliament delegation to visit the imprisoned Turkish former parliament deputy of Kurdish origin Leila Zana, who has been honored by the Euro-parliament with the Zacharov Prize.
He said that the people in Serbia hope that they will rid the country of Milosevic and will establish democracy and law and order from the beginning.
 THE EUROPEAN POPULAR PARTY CONFERENCE CONTINUESThessaloniki, 26 February 2000 (17:18 UTC+2)
The proceedings of the two-day European Popular Party conference on Democracy-Stability-Cooperation in south-eastern Europe continued in Thessaloniki for a second day today.
The conference was formally opened yesterday by Greek right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis. In the conference participate representatives of Balkan political parties, New Democracy and European Popular Party Euro-deputies and European Popular Party president Wilfrid Martens.
It is the third meeting with the Balkan countries organized by the European Popular Party and the two previous meetings had been held last year in Thessaloniki and in Banja Luka.
The goal of the conference is hold a dialogue in the search for common political priorities and the intensification of the effort for democracy and prosperity in the south-eastern Europe.
 FRENCH STUDENTS ARE VISITING THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 26 February 2000 (17:18 UTC+2)
Sixteen French students arrived in Thessaloniki yesterday within the framework of the student exchange program "Socrates-Lingua".
The French students will stay in Thessaloniki for ten days as guests at the homes of Greek students and at the same time, they will attend classes at Thessaloniki's 13th High School.
The young guests will visit the White House, the Macedonian Struggle Museum, the Old City, the Old Market and the French Institute.
 OVER 2.700 ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS WERE ARRESTED IN NORTHERN GREECEThessaloniki, 26 February 2000 (17:08 UTC+2)
Over 2.700 illegal immigrants have been arrested in northern Greece in the past week.
According to information, 453 illegal immigrants have been arrested in Thessaloniki in the past few days and the majority of them were Albanians.
 KARATZAS: THE GOAL OF THE NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE IS TO BECOME A REGIONAL BANKNicosia, 26 February 2000 (17:32 UTC+2)
National Bank of Greece governor Theodoros Karatzas stated today that the strategic goal of the bank is to become a regional power and added that Cyprus is a very important link in the chain formed by the National Bank of Greece.
Speaking in the meeting of the bank's board of directors in Cyprus Mr. Karatzas, who is also the president of the bank's board of directors, stated that among the long-term goals is the establishment of an investment credit company, a mutual funds company and the trading of the bank's share in the Cyprus Stock Exchange.