|Wednesday, 13 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-10-24
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 ALBANIAN PM: TENSION WITH GREECE WILL ABATETirana, 24 October 2000 (10:53 UTC+2)
Albanian Prime Minister Ilir Meta is confident that the existing tension in his country's relations with Greece will soon abate, as he attributes the recent upheaval in the area of Himara to "fringe elements", unwanted by either country.
"Albania's relations with all of its neighbors are very good, and there is no need to have different ties with Greece, regardless of the tension noted recently over the elections in Himara," Mr. Meta stated during an interview with the television station TV Klan.
"Any effort to turn the election challenges into national ones is a failed one, as it doesn't belong in a democratic country such as Albania. If we adopt this line of thinking, than we would have to admit that there is a Greek minority in the Vau i Dejes municipality, where the Party of Unity for Human Rights won, and that there is no Greek minority in the municipality of Dropoli, where the Socialist Party won, something which is irrational," he stressed.
Referring to Greco-Albanian relations following the runoff elections in Himara which were marked by widespread claims of vote-rigging and other irregularities, Mr. Meta attributed the ensuing tension to emotional highs that often accompany an election campaign.
"Things are calm today and they will get even calmer. I am confident that these events will not affect our ties with Greece since I believe that the Greek government and the Greek premier Costas Simitis provide an example to the other countries on as to how to build relations among neighboring countries and on the way problems should be resolved, especially manufactured problems."
Commenting on rumors that the Greek government is preparing "sweep" operations against Albanian nationals living Greece, Mr. Meta stated that "I don't believe that such rushed and irrational acts will actually take place, since they would not contribute to the improvement of bilateral ties."
The Albanian Premier also noted that a large portion of the Greek press covered the Himara story calmly and fairly.
 GREEK PM TO ATTEND S.E. EUROPE SUMMIT IN FYROMAthens, 24 October 2000 (13:43 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to depart for FYROM tomorrow, where he will take part in the summit conference of of Southeastern Europe's state and government leaders.
The summit will feature the participation of Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Albania and FYROM.
According to reports, Mr. Simitis is expected to promote a climate of investment that will facilitate relevant initiatives, while he will also stress that Greece is interested in FYROM's stability and regional security and that the country is opposed to any whatsoever effort to change the region's existing borders.
The conference is taking place three days prior to the local elections in Kosovo, which Yugoslavia's president-elect Voijslav Kostunica has already termed as "untimely and wrong" as, he said, LDK party leader Ibrahim Rugova is seeking national elections that will lead to Kosovo's independence.
 PROTOCOL OF COOPERATION BETWEEN THE CHAMBERS OF TRADES OF THESSALONIKI AND ISTANBULThessaloniki, 24 October 2000 (19:17 UTC+2)
A protocol of cooperation and twinning was signed by the Chambers of Trades of Thessaloniki and Istanbul within the framework of the visit of a 68-member delegation of Turkish businessmen to Thessaloniki's Chamber of Trades.
The proposal for the signing of the protocol had been submitted by a Thessaloniki Chamber of Trades delegation during its visit to Istanbul last summer.
Istanbul Chambers' Association president and Turkish Federation of Tradesmen and Craftsmen vice-president Mr. Suat Yalkin stated to reporters that the Turks and the Greeks share the two coasts of the same sea. He said that the two peoples want to be friends but the politicians are slightly using them. Responding to the question if the recent problem in the NATO exercise will affect the future relations between the two peoples, he said that the members of the military are tough by nature, adding that he thinks that there will be an understanding very soon.
Turkish vice-consul in Thessaloniki, Niyazi Evren Akyol responding to the question if the business contacts can help when there are still problems in bilateral relations, stated that what is important in the rapprochement of the two peoples is the development of cultural and economic relations, adding that this way mutual trust will be promoted.
 GREECE REJECTS THE TURKISH POSITIONS CONCERNING AIR CORRIDORS AND THE DEMILITARIZATION OF ISLANDSAthens, 24 October 2000 (18:22 UTC+2)
The military exercise "Nikiforos-Toxotis" that is being held in Cyprus is placed within the joint defense doctrine and its goal is to safeguard Cyprus' defense, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, who rejected the Turkish positions concerning the use of air corridors and the demilitarization of islands.
Specifically, Mr. Reppas stated that Greece will continue to draw and use the air corridors over the islands of Limnos and Ikaria clarifying that the Treaty of Montreau (1936) has lifted the treaties concerning the demilitarization of islands. He also denied the Turkish foreign ministry allegations that NATO blocked or canceled Greek flights in the specific air corridors, pointing out that the Greek commander in the Larisa Headquarters had complete freedom regarding the planning of the Greek aircraft participation in the exercise. The problem in the exercise was created because of the stance adopted by Turkey, underlined the Greek government spokesman.
Mr. Reppas also accused Turkey of selective memory and sensitivity and stressed that Greece will continue to exercise its sovereign rights.
Referring to NATO and its stance, he pointed out that it must be able to force Turkey to comply with the initial planning. Regarding the Greek-Turkish relations, he reiterated that Greece will be firm in its step-by-step strategy for the rapprochement of the two countries and called on Turkey to comply with the international rules and the European standards.
Called to comment on the statements made by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash on radar operation in Cyprus, he responded that Mr. Denktash is already exposed to the international community and it is to the interest of Cyprus not to make such statements.
 THESSALONIKI BASED CULTURAL BIENNALE FOR THE SE EUROPEAN COUNTRIESThessaloniki, 24 October 2000 (17:23 UTC+2)
Thessaloniki will be the seat of another cultural institution. It is the Cultural Biennale for South-Eastern European Countries, CuBes, that was adopted today in the Inter-Balkan Cultural Meeting organized by the Cybele Institute, the Balkan Music Forum and ArtHellas under the auspices of the Greek foreign ministry.
According to the approved resolution, the Cultural Biennale will host multi-national artistic and cultural events, while the governments of the states participating in the meeting as well as, non governmental organizations and the private sector are called to offer moral and material support to the effort. The delegates also expressed their full support to the European programs for the stability and the reconstruction of the Balkans.
 ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH VARTHOLOMEOS WISHED FOR BEST SETTLEMENT BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND THE CHURCHAthens, 24 October 2000 (17:01 UTC+2)
Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis met with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos at noon today and later he gave a luncheon in his honor which was attended by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece.
Addressing the Ecumenical Patriarch, Mr. Simitis referred indirectly to the issue of the state-issued identity cards, pointing out that the globalization of trade and technology does not lead to a world cultural model.
From his side, the Ecumenical Patriarch expressed the wish that there will be a "best settlement" reached between the government and the Church.
 GAINS OF 1.02% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 24 October 2000 (16:12 UTC+2)
Gains of 1.02% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today and the general index was at 3.754,90 points, while the volume of transactions was small at 56.4 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today 155 recorded gains, 191 had losses and 35 remained unchanged.
 LALIOTIS' RESPONSE TO THE AUSTRALIANS CONCERNING THE "ATHENS 2004" PROJECTSAthens, 24 October 2000 (16:09 UTC+2)
The response that was given by minister of environment, land planning and public works Kostas Laliotis to the verbal attack launched by the Australians against Greece was direct. The Australians protested against their "banning" from participating in the bids for the construction of Greek Olympic projects threatening even to appeal to the responsible EU institutions.
Mr. Laliotis clarified that Australia does not belong to the group of 23 countries that have signed an agreement with the European Union on the world trade and therefore, it can not participate in the bids.
 PANGALOS' INTERVIEW WITH THE CNN ON THE PARTHENON MARBLESThessaloniki, 24 October 2000 (15:55 UTC+2)
The mutilation of the Parthenon sculptures was characterized as moral offense and an aesthetic crime by Greek culture minister Theodoros Pangalos in an interview with the US television station CNN in which he presented the Greek position on the issue of the return of the works of art to Greece.
Responding to the question if and when the Parthenon Marbles will return to Greece, Mr. Pangalos clarified that Greece is not interested in the return of every Greek antiquity that is abroad because this would be difficult as they are many. However, he said that the Parthenon was mutilated illegally by Lord Elgin and this action constitutes moral offense and an aesthetic crime. He said that in the Greek ancient times sculptures and architecture were one and for this reason those specific works of art must be returned and placed near the ancient temple for the visitor to have the opportunity to see the whole of Parthenon as it was and not as it is today, with basic pieces of it being at the British Museum in London.
Responding to the question if the Greek demand is difficult to be satisfied because of the fact that the British Museum has 6 million visitors annually, he said that the same number of tourists visit Acropolis in Athens in a period of one year.
Mr. Pangalos also said that based on polls conducted on the Internet in the United States and Britain the majority of the people believe that the Parthenon marbles must be returned to Greece. Also, half of the British parliament members are in favor of the return of the marbles and therefore, this is not a Greek caprice but a position with a moral and an aesthetic basis.
He said that when the marbles will be returned they will be placed in a new museum that is under construction and will be ready by 2004 when Athens will host the Olympic Games. He said that this will be a wonderful act of justice that will show the world that the British people and the British authorities can give a lesson of moral justice. Mr. Pangalos concluded by saying that he can not impose solutions and the only thing he can do is to express the wish and promote the views of the Greek people.
 GREECE A LEADER IN FOREST FIRES AMONG EU STATESThessaloniki, 24 October 2000 (14:58 UTC+2)
Forest fires have occurred as long as forests have existed, but the phenomenon has been accelerating and escalating for most of the European Union's member-states since the 60s, with Greece leading in size of burning land.
According to the European Commission, a total of 331,743 hectares of wooded land burned in Greece during the summer of 2000 alone, a rate of biblical proportions when compared to '99's 18,954 hectares of burned forest land. Paling by a grim comparison, France suffered the loss of 11,069 hectares of wooded land this year, while over 67,000 hectares were burned in Spain last year.
The European Commission has embarked on a series of pilot projects for the development of forest fire prevention and fighting programs, which, as it announced yesterday, have already produced specific proposals.
 MAD COW DISEASE RE-EMERGES, STATE STARTS REVIEWThessaloniki, 24 October 2000 (14:39 UTC+2)
The scare of the "mad cow" disease, aka bovine spongiform encephalopathy, has re-emerged in Greece, after reports that over a ton of contaminated beef was pulled from the shelves of a supermarket in France and parts of the infected meat may have made it to the French seller's stores in Greece.
Greece's Agriculture Ministry has already ordered the temporary confiscation of dozens of tons imported from France for distribution by the Carrefour, DIA and Marinopoulos supermarkets.
According to the ministry, The confiscated meat is to remain under seizure until the French government and the European Union assure the Greek agriculture ministry that the said beef is not part of the lot withdrawn in France for further health reviews.
 INCREASE OF 0.2% IN THE EURO-ZONE INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTIONBrussels, 24 October 2000 (16:54 UTC+2)
An increase of 0.2% in the adjusted industrial production was recorded in the Euro-zone in August compared to the previous month, according to figures provided by the European Union statistics agency, Eurostat.
In the EU-15 August production gained 13.6% in Finland, 8.2% in Denmark, 7.9% in Italy, 7.2% in Germany and 6.3% in Spain. The smallest industrial production increase percentage was recorded in Britain with 0.9%, while in Luxembourg the drop was 1.8%.
It should be noted that compared to the same period last year, industrial production in the Euro-zone presents an increase of 6.3%, while in all "15" EU states the increase was 5.5%.
 SECOND MEDAL FOR GREECE IN SYDNEY'S PARALYMPIC GAMESSydney, 24 October 2000 (18:35 UTC+2)
Another big success for Greece in Sydney's Paralympic Games. Vangelis Bakolas won the silver medal in the men's shotput F33 category with 7.89m.
The gold was won by Czech Roman Musil with 9.67m, which is a new world record and the bronze went to Kuwait's Ahmad Makhseed with 7.54m.
It is the second silver medal for Greece. The first was won yesterday by Eleni Samaritaki in the women's 400m race on a wheelchair.
 THE A. ONASIS CULTURAL CENTER WILL BE INAUGURATED IN NEW YORK TODAYNew York, 24 October 2000 (16:21 UTC+2)
The A. Onasis Institute branch will be inaugurated in New York today in the presence of Greek culture minister Theodoros Pangalos and foreign affairs undersecretary Angeliki Laiou, responsible for issues concerning the Greeks living abroad. The institute will be based at the Olympic Tower in the heart of Manhattan and its founding act has been signed by A. Onasis Institute president Stelios Papadimitriou and US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns.
The A. Onasis Institute branch aims at the promotion of the Greek culture in its ecumenical sense and will be active both in the education and the cultural sector. It will fund academic programs with the participation of professors from Greek and European universities, the creation of a Greek library, prizes for English books on Greece, etc.