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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-12-02
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 CONFERENCE ON GREECE'S NEW GEO-POLITICAL ROLEAthens, 2 December 2000 (18:53 UTC+2)
The conference on Greece's new geo-political role that was organized by the Kokkalis Institute was completed in Athens today with the speeches of education minister Petros Efthimiou, US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns and Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.
The minister of education stressed, among others, that Greece is the most stable point in the region.
The US ambassador appeared optimistic regarding the cooperation relations between Greece and the United States and suggested that Greece should not go on with the purchase of the Eurofighter and opt for the US proposal.
Athens mayor Mr. Avramopoulos spoke of a new reality in the US-Greek relations and stressed that it is time for politics in Greece to be free of certain ideologies that have characteristics of phobias and insecurities.
 THE ATHENS OLYMPIC GAMES' BUDGET IS ESTIMATED AT 363 BILLION DRACHMASThessaloniki, 2 December 2000 (15:55 UTC+2)
The Athens Olympic Games' budget is estimated to reach 363 billion drachmas, stated Greek undersecretary of sports Giorgos Floridis yesterday speaking to journalism students in Thessaloniki's Aristotle University.
Mr. Floridis stated that Olympic Games' projects will be constructed outside the wider Athens region as well, to hold different sports events in Thessaloniki and elsewhere. He also stated that national mobilization is necessary and underlined that the factors that will play a significant role in the success of the games will be volunteerism, modern technology and transportation.
 TACI IS OPPOSED TO A KOSTUNICA-RUGOVA DIALOGUE THAT WILL EXCLUDE HIMAthens, 2 December 2000 (15:44 UTC+2)
Kosovo's Democratic Party leader Hasim Taci stated today that he is against any talks on the future of the province that will not include him.
Taci, former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army, made this statement in a press conference in Kavouri, Athens where a closed-door conference was held on "The Albanians as a majority and a minority", responding to the question if he will respond to a call for a dialogue issued by Yugoslav president Voislav Kostunica.
Last week, Mr. Kostunica had expressed the wish to have talks with representatives of the Kosovo Albanians, who are ready to talk and who won the local elections held in the province, referring to moderate leader Ibrahim Rugova and his party the Democratic Union of Kosovo.
No representative from Kosovo, including Rugova, can decide alone on the future of the province, stated Mr. Taci, adding that the dialogue with Belgrade can be launched only after an international mediation. He pointed out that Kosovo is represented by its institutions and those who participate in them. He also said that as soon as a mediation is underway a negotiation could be launched for the peaceful separation of Kosovo from Serbia, stressing that the goal is a free and independent Kosovo.
Christian Orthodox Bishop Artemios of the Kosovo Serbs, stated that the problem of the province's status must be resolved within the framework of the UN resolution 1244 which provides for an autonomous Kosovo within the framework of Yugoslavia.
 MEETINGS OF THE ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER WITH GREECE'S PRESIDENT AND PRIME MINISTERAthens, 2 December 2000 (15:23 UTC+2)
Albanian prime minister Ilir Meta had separate meetings with Greek president Kostis Stephanopoulos and prime minister Kostas Simitis in Athens yesterday.
The meeting of prime minister Simitis with Mr. Meta was an informal one as the Albanian prime minister is on a private visit to Athens to attend a conference organized by Prinston University on the problems of minorities and their role in the Balkan developments.
Mr. Simitis underlined that Greece is willing to offer more help to Albania, pointing out that as it is mentioned in the Zagreb Summit meeting declaration, it is up to the Albanian government to adopt measures, in a short period of time, that will be in accordance with the criteria set by the European Union.
Mr. Simitis and Mr. Meta reviewed the Greek-Albanian bilateral relations and agreed to examine new prospects of cooperation in the military sector and further promote the joint efforts against organized crime and illegal immigration.
They also discussed issues concerning the Greek investments in Albania with an emphasis on the three Greek oil companies in Durres. The Albanian prime minister stated that his government will respect all legal and economic obligations in has undertaken toward them, stressing that a mutually satisfactory solution will be reached soon.
On the issues concerning the minority zones and minority rights, Mr. Meta pledged that the Albanian legislation will be reviewed soon in accordance with the European requirements.
 THE MAJORITY OF THE GREEK PUBLIC OPINION IS AGAINST EARLY ELECTIONSAthens, 2 December 2000 (15:15 UTC+2)
The overwhelming majority of the Greek public opinion says "No" to the "games" involving early elections and "Yes" to the stable governments, according to an opinion poll conducted by the V-PRC polling company on behalf of the Athens newspaper "Imerisia".
The main question in the opinion poll had to do with the draft bill on labor relations and what should the government do in case it is not passed in parliament. Should it resign and call for early elections or should it make changes in the controversial bill and bring it again in parliament? In favor of the likelihood of early elections was just 19.1% of those questioned, while in favor of the second option was 73.4%.
The percentage of those who are against early elections is even higher among the governing socialist party of PASOK voters (85.1%), while equally impressive is the fact that 6 in 10 right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy voters reject the likelihood of early elections in case of a crisis on labor issues. Only 35% of the New Democracy voters are in favor of early elections.
 TENS OF BALKAN MAYORS WILL MEET IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 2 December 2000 (15:10 UTC+2)
Thirty mayors of big Balkan cities will seek to draw a joint policy for the solution of their common problems.
Mayors from Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, FYROM, Albania, Romania, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina will be Thessaloniki to attend the Balkan Mayors' 1st International Meeting of Friendship and Cooperation organized by the municipality of Thessaloniki.
In the meeting, that will take place on December 8-9, will be discussed major issues that concern the relations of the Balkan states.
The mayors attending the meeting will consider the prospects opened for the Balkan countries to play an important role in Europe.
 THE EU FOREIGN MINISTERS WILL MEET ON MONDAYThessaloniki, 2 December 2000 (15:06 UTC+2)
The European Union foreign ministers will meet in Brussels on Monday to discuss the EU-Turkey partnership relation.
The issue was discussed yesterday by Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis and foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou. Mr. Papandreou stated that Greece together with the French EU presidency form joint proposals concerning the EU-Turkey partnership relation.
 KOSTUNICA AND DJINJIC WILL BE AT MOUNT ATHOS ON SUNDAYThessaloniki, 2 December 2000 (14:02 UTC+2)
New Yugoslav president Voiclav Kostunica together with prime minister Zoran Djinjic will be on a two-day private visit to the monastic community of Mount Athos in Chalkidiki, northern Greece on Sunday and Monday, according to Yugoslav sources.
The two men will arrive in Thessaloniki by plane and then they will go to Mount Athos by helicopter to visit the Hilandariou Monastery. The two Yugoslav officials will stay in Mount Athos until Monday morning when they will visit Thessaloniki before returning to their country later in the afternoon. In Thessaloniki, they will meet with minister of Macedonia-Thrace Giorgos Paschalidis and then they will visit the St. Demetrius church and the Serb cemetery.
It should be noted that this short unofficial visit is not related with the formal visit to Athens that will be made by the Yugoslav president on December 13.
 A CYPRIOT IN THE GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDSNicosia, 2 December 2000 (15:17 UTC+2)
Greek Cypriot Andreas Harpas from Limassol, Cyprus, who lives in a central England city, broke a world record covering a distance of 166 miles on roller skates last Monday.
According to the London Greek Radio (LGR), Andreas Harpas will be in the new Guinness Book of Records that will be published in the beginning of next year.