|Tuesday, 28 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-12-11
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 PM ON SUMMITS OUTCOME: «VERY GOOD FOR GREECE»Nice, 11 December 2000 (11:31 UTC+2)
Following a marathon session that lasted until dawn today, European Union leaders attending the Summit Conference in Nice finally reached an agreement concerning the EU's enlargement, one that Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis characterized as "very positive for Greece", even though it does lead to certain inequalities for smaller member-states.
In a press conference this morning, Mr. Simitis saluted the European Union's enlargement, which he characterized as necessary for the Community's development, and stated that the EU is now entering a new phase. The enlargement, he added, "will facilitate Greece's position as many Balkan countries are slated for EU accession, thus promoting central and Eastern Europe and strengthening Greece's role".
Regarding the Commission, Mr. Simitis stated that the issue of representation is to be re-examined when the EU expands to 27 members, when the various nations will take turns serving on the body.
Moreover, the Premier stated that the EU agreed on replacing unanimity voting by majority voting, a move that allows Greece to retain its present power.
In the enlarged European Union of 27 member-states, Greece will be represented by 22 European Parliament members, even though the French-held EU presidency had originally proposed 20, and 12 votes.
The Premier also stated that the European Union is presently undergoing an "adjustment period" and referred to the compromises that led to the final agreements.
 THE UN IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MOVES AIMED AT THE RELEASE OF THE ABDUCTED GREEK ARMY CAPTAINAthens, 11 December 2000 (19:23 UTC+2)
The United Nations organization is responsible for the handling of the situation that was created as a result of the abduction of Greek army captain Efstathios Kokkinidis, stated Greek acting government spokesman Tilemachos Hitiris.
The Greek captain served as a UN observer in the former soviet republic of Georgia and together with a Polish UN observer were the victims of an abduction by an unidentified gunman. According to Mr. Hitiris, both the Greek ambassador and the military attache follow the developments closely.
Mr. Hitiris expressed the belief that there will be a happy ending.
 SWEDEN'S MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE IS VISITING GREECEAthens, 11 December 2000 (18:17 UTC+2)
Sweden's minister of agriculture Ms. Margarita Winberg is on a visit to Greece to exchange views with her Greek counterpart Giorgos Anomeritis on agriculture policy issues in view of her country's EU presidency that will begin in January 2001.
The main issues under discussion will be the acceleration of the negotiations with the World Trade Organization aimed at the liberalization of the foreign trade policy system, the EU proposal on the cooperation with the least developed countries, ways to deal with the "mad cow" disease and the proposal on the olive oil.
During her visit to Greece, the Swedish agriculture minister will also meet with minister of interior Ms. Vaso Papandreou to discuss sexual equality issues.
 HITIRIS: POSITIVE RESULTS IN THE NICE SUMMIT MEETINGAthens, 11 December 2000 (17:52 UTC+2)
Greek acting government spokesman Tilemachos Hitiris stated that the results of the Nice Summit meeting are positive for Greece.
The undersecretary of press stated that it is positive that after marathon consultations on the distribution of power in the new Europe the double majority was approved, which was suggested by Greece, while a decision was reached according to which, each country will have one Commissioner.
 THE PRICE INDEX REACHED A TWO-YEAR HIGHAthens, 11 December 2000 (17:19 UTC+2)
The price index in November reached its highest point for the past two years, at 4.2%, compared to 4% in October, mainly due to the rise in the US dollar value and the oil price hikes in the international markets.
However, the latest news from these two fronts are encouraging as both the US dollar and the oil prices are on a downward course in international markets.
 LOSSES OF 1.37% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 11 December 2000 (17:11 UTC+2)
Losses of 1.37% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today and the general index was at 3.685,31 points, while the volume of transactions was small at 94.26 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, 90 recorded gains, 225 had losses and 23 remained unchanged.
 BALKANET:BALKAN RADIO-TELEVISION COOPERATION CONFERENCEThessaloniki, 11 December 2000 (17:09 UTC+2)
Issues of Balkan cooperation in the sector of the mass media will be discussed in the Balkan state radio-television organizations conference BalkanNet, organized by Greek state television station ET3 to take place in Thessaloniki on December 16-17.
The conference will also be attended by representatives of Balkan state news agencies and among the issues that will be discussed will be the Inter-Balkan cooperation in sectors of news reporting, sports event, technical facilities and co-productions.
 NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE REPRESENTATION OFFICE IN ISTANBULThessaloniki, 11 December 2000 (16:47 UTC+2)
The National Bank of Greece representation office is expected to open in Istanbul, Turkey in January and according to statements made to MPA by its international affairs director Mr. Nikos Koutsos, the necessary permit by the Turkish authorities has been issued.
Regarding the establishment of a venture capital by the National Bank of Greece in cooperation with the Turkish Garanti Bank and the international money and credit organization JP Morgan, Mr. Koutsos stated that the National Bank of Greece will participate in the initial capital with US$ 45 million through one of its subsidiaries.
He also stated that the goal is the further expansion of the bank in the Balkans and Europe in general, adding that the policy that will be followed will be clearly expansionist in order to become competitive based on the European standards.
 SECRET SERVICE EMPLOYEE CAUGHT WITH ARSENALThessaloniki, 11 December 2000 (14:09 UTC+2)
Greek police have arrested a secret service empployee who kept an arsenal of illegal firearms in his car which, he claimed, he was planning to transport to a military unit in the region.
George Vasiliou, a non-operational employee of the National Intelligence Service (EYP), was caught with a machine gun and two sub-machine guns of Russian make, a German pistol, a shotgun, ammunition and an infra-red camera.
He was stopped in an ambush by Kastoria narcotics officers, who were acting on information that a large arms delivery was due from Albania.
 POLL FINDS MOST LIKELY SUCCESSORS TO PREMIERAthens, 11 December 2000 (13:39 UTC+2)
Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos and Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos are deemed as the most likely successors of incumbent Premier Costas Simitis, according to a recently-conducted nationwide poll.
Published in the Athens daily "To Vima", the "Kapa Research" poll finds that 55.7% of the respondents believe the ruling PASOK party should change leader in the event it loses the elections -whenever they may be held. By the same token, 59.1% of those polled believe that the main opposition of New Democracy should change its leader if it fails to win in the elections.
The Defense Minister is topping the list as Mr. Simitis' most suitable successor, followed -in respective order- by Foreign Minister George Papandreou, Culture Evangelos Venizelos, Interior and Public Administration Vasso Papandreou, Environment, Urban Planning and Public Works Costas Laliotis and former culture minister Theodoros Pangalos.
As for the most suitable successor to New Democracy's presidency post, presently held by Costas Karamanlis, the respondents' first choice is the mayor of Athens, followed by N.D. deputy (and shadow foreign minister) Dora Bacoyanni, deputy George Souflias, deputy Prokopis Pavlopoulos, former N.D. spokesperson Aris Spiliotopoulos and deputy George Voulgarakis.
In spite of future tendencies, 47.4% of those polled want to see PASOK remain united and under the direction of Mr. Simitis, until the elections, while 55.4 percent want the same for New Democracy, under the leadership of Mr. Karamanlis.
 TOMBS DATING BACK TO 6TH CENTURY BC DISCOVEREDXanthi, 11 December 2000 (13:36 UTC+2)
Twenty-five tombs containing amphorae and other earthenware with the remains of adults and children, most of which date back to the 6th century BC, were discovered in northern Greece during archaeological excavations.
The discovery was made by archaeologists during works at an acequia in Avdera, near Xanthi; three of the tombs, one shaped as a pit and the other two box-like, date back to the 3rd century BC and their walls are painted in red, white and blue plaster.
 ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT TARGETING THE ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTERTirana, 11 December 2000 (18:50 UTC+2)
The Albanian police arrested an individual in relation with the bomb attack that took place a few minutes before Albanian prime minister Ilir Meta and his convoy passed from the spot.
There are no injuries as a result of the explosion that occurred on a street leading to a cement factory plant in the city of Fuse Kruntze to where the prime minister was heading in order to attend the plant's inauguration ceremony. The city is situated about 25 kilometers north of the Albanian capital, Tirana.
According to the Albanian police the bomb was powerful, was activated through remote control and the crater it created was about one meter deep.
 MEETING OF THE FOREIGN MINISTERS OF GREECE AND FYROM IN THESSALONIKISkopje, 11 December 2000 (16:38 UTC+2)
FYROM foreign minister Sertzan Kerim announced in an interview with the state radio in Skopje that he will have a series of meetings with his counterparts from neighboring countries starting with Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou.
Mr. Kerim stated that the meeting with Mr. Papandreou will take place in Thessaloniki on December 13.
In January, he is scheduled to meet with his Bulgarian counterpart, while very soon his Yugoslav counterpart will visit FYROM. He will also meet with the Albanian foreign minister but the date of their meeting has not been set yet.
 UN SECURITY COUNCIL GETS UPDATE ON CYPRUS ISSUENicosia, 11 December 2000 (11:04 UTC+2)
UN Security Council members will be briefed today on the positions and views of the parties involved in the Cyprus issue by UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto, who has had contacts recently in Cyprus, Athens and Turkey.
The briefing takes place only days before the mandate of the UN peace- keeping force in Cyprus expires, at midnight on the 15th of December, and amid increasing concerns about the future of the UN-led proximity talks, following threats by Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to leave the negotiating table unless his demands for recognition of the self-styled regime in Turkish-occupied Cyprus are met.
 THE POLISH MINISTRY OF DEFENSE ON THE ABDUCTION OF THE UN MILITARY OBSERVERS IN GEORGIAWarsaw, 11 December 2000 (17:05 UTC+2)
An unidentified armed man is the abductor of the two United Nations military observers, Greek Efstathios Kokkinidis and Polish Zbigniev Bletsac, who were kidnapped in the former soviet republic of Georgia, according to a statement issued by the Polish ministry of defense.
Based on the statement, an armed man tried to stop two UN mission jeeps, some 600 meters away from the Russian outpost overseeing the truce reached between the Georgian forces and the Abkazian separatists.
The first jeep managed to get away, stated the Polish ministry of defense spokesman, adding that the Polish colonel and his interpreter, who escaped, had heard gun shots and then lost contact with the second jeep. Shortly afterwards, UN forces found the jeep empty with its engine running.