|Saturday, 25 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-12-15
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 GREEK FM ADDRESSES NATO CONFERENCE IN BRUSSELSBrussels, 15 December 2000 (12:57 UTC+2)
Addressing the NATO Foreign Ministers Conference in Brussels yesterday, Greece's FM George Papandreou stressed the need to globalize principles and values, as well as to draw a creative, far reaching and lasting strategy for the Balkans.
"After the very important changes in the Balkans, the Alliance must dare to hope," he stated. "We need to empower the region that has historically been handicapped, dependent and divided by a world community of competing interests and a babble of conflicting signals.
"The balkanization of the region must be replaced by coordination of international efforts and regional cooperation. Respecting international law and borders, human and minority rights, condemning all criminal activity and offering assistance in the region," this is the message that should be derived from this meeting, he said.
"We should globalize peace in our area and educatethe peoples how democracy, dialogue and prosperity can be gained in multi-ethnic, multi-cultural societies," he stressed, adding that the objectives should be to control potential sources of conflict and to create prerequisites for political and financial development throughout the region.
Furthermore, the Greek FM stressed that the strategy to be followed by NATO should be founded upon t he principles of respect for each country's sovereign and territorial integrity, respect of the existing borders, and the establishment of democratic procedures.
Referring to the European Union's role in the Balkans and the EU's plans for the creation of a rapid reaction force, Mr. Papandreou stated that "following the EU Summit in Nice, we have to forge an enduring and lasting relationship between our two organizations, by building upon the 50-year experience of our Alliance in unison with the autonomous will of the Union's decision to act and react with a view to create an environment conducive to peace, stability and prosperity.
He also referred to the need to upgrade the existing cooperation with Russia, through NATO's ever-growing programs.
"Since NATO was successfully tested during periods of wars and cold war, there is no doubt that it will equally succeed in coping with the new challenges which lay ahead."
 CHURCH OF GREECE: EUTHANASIA IS ASSISTED SUICIDEAthens, 15 December 2000 (12:32 UTC+2)
After the Netherlands became the first country to legalize euthanasia, the Greek Church's ruling body, the Holy Synod, expressed its disapproval by characterizing the act as "assisted suicide".
In an announcement issued yesterday, the Holy Synod stressed that "Orthodoxy believes only God can decide on life and death."
Although the Netherlands is the first country to take such a bold step in such a controversial issue, others, such as Colombia and Switzerland have ruled that it is not a crime to help a terminally ill person to die as long as they have given "clear and precise consent"
While the Swiss outlaw active euthanasia, there is leeway for doctors to assist in suicides where they give patients lethal drugs but then leave them to administer them.
Others, such as Denmark and Singapore and parts of the United States, Canada and Australia, give patients the right to refuse life-prolonging treatment.
 LITTLE BEN'S GRANDFATHER FILED A SUIT AGAINST ANYONE RESPONSIBLE FOR OMISSIONS IN THE SEARCH AIMED AT TRACING THE BOYThessaloniki, 15 December 2000 (19:10 UTC+2)
The grandfather of little Ben, the British boy that disappeared from the south-eastern Aegean island of Kos in the summer of 1992 while he was on vacation with his parents, filed a suit against anyone responsible, individuals and state employees, accusing them of serious omissions in the search aimed at tracing his grandson.
Eddie Needham, who came to Thessaloniki two days ago, accuses the Greek police of not acting immediately in order to avert the escape of the unidentified people who, according to him, kidnapped the boy. In his suit the boy's grandfather mentions that the island's ports and airport were sealed four whole days after the child's disappearance and this gave the opportunity to his abductors to leave the island with the boy.
 STRONG REACTION TO THE EU HUMAN RIGHTS CHARTER BY THE HOLY SYNOD OF THE CHURCH OF GREECEAthens, 15 December 2000 (18:50 UTC+2)
The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece will sent a demarche to French president Jacques Chirac and European Commission president Romano Prodi in protest to the Nice Summit meeting decision to remove from the Fundamental Human Rights Charter any reference to the Christian or religious tradition as a factor that has contributed to the formation of a common conscience among the European citizens.
In a statement issued by the Holy Synod it is pointed out that it should be noted that there was strong reaction to the French EU presidency action throughout Europe and in France. Specifically, 70 personalities from the political and intellectual world among them, socialist former president of the European Commission Jacques Delors, former minister of the French socialist government Catherine Trotman, Gaulist party parliament deputy Jules de Roben and intellectuals Olivier Ambel and Jan Batist de Foucau sent a letter of protest to French president Jacques Chirac on the occasion of the removal of any religious reference in the European Union Charter. In their letter they were pointing out among others, that Europe can not renounce its religious tradition and regard as a relic of the past the living faith of millions of European Union citizens.
The Holy Synod comments that the decision that was reached on the issue in the Nice Summit meeting attempts to push at the margins of history the centuries-long significant contribution of Christianity to the European civilization. The Holy Synod protests against the decision because as it mentions, an attempt is being made to impose on the European Union population principles and views on which the peoples making up the European Union were never asked to give their opinion. It is stressed that human rights and religious freedoms can not be promoted through the oppression of the religious belief of the Christians or by erasing historic periods and achievements that were the resultants of the Christian Culture.
In the statement it is made known that the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece will brief on the issue that has arisen, the Ecumenical Patriarch, the heads of the Autocephalous Christian Orthodox Churches, the Christian Church leaders in Europe, the president of the Hellenic Republic, the European Union prime ministers, the members of the European parliament, the Council of European Churches and COMECE.
The Holy Synod statement concludes that every Christian in Europe agrees with the observance of human rights but this does not mean that for their promotion the people should accept the abolition of their tradition.
 PAPANDREOU WILL VISIT INDIA, NEPAL AND BANGLADESHAthens, 15 December 2000 (18:10 UTC+2)
Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou will leave tomorrow for a formal visit to India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
During his visit to India he will have talks in New Delhi with the country's president and prime minister as well as with leaders of the opposition, while in Calcutta he will visit the Orthodox orphanage and clinic.
In Katmandu, Nepal he will meet with the country's prime minister and King, while he will inaugurate a Greek photo exhibition.
Next Wednesday, Mr. Papandreou will be in Dhaka, Bangladesh where he will have meetings with the country's president and prime minister, while he will inaugurate an artists' exhibition and meet with the main leader of the opposition.
 LOSSES OF 0.13% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 15 December 2000 (17:17 UTC+2)
Marginal losses of 0.13% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today and the general index was at 3.584,08 points. The volume of transactions was 167.49 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today 155 recorded gains, 181 had losses and 38 remained unchanged.
Meanwhile, the National Bank of Greece will proceed with interest rate cuts of 0.25%-0.50% in all the categories of its products, according to an announcement made today.
 ZAFIROPOULOS: THESSALONIKI PLAYS A LEADING ROLE IN THE BALKAN RECONSTRUCTIONThessaloniki, 15 December 2000 (17:15 UTC+2)
Thessaloniki will play a meaningful role in the process for the materialization of the Greek plan for the reconstruction of south-eastern Europe, stated undersecretary of national economy Yiannis Zafiropoulos addressing the delegates in the meeting of the commercial attaches serving in the Greek embassies in the Balkans.
Mr. Zafiropoulos stated that Greece has to adopt a quicker pace in order to reaffirm its strong economic and political presence in the wider region while at the same time creating the preconditions for the development of its action.
 FIVE YEAR PRISON TERM TO THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE YAKOVLEV CRASHThessaloniki, 15 December 2000 (16:57 UTC+2)
A Thessaloniki court imposed a five-year prison sentence on each one of the two air traffic controllers at Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport, who are accused of being responsible for the air accident at the Pieria Mountains in December 1997 in which all 74 people on board the Ukrainian "Yakovlev" plane lost their lives.
According to the charges, the two were on duty at the air traffic control tower at Thessaloniki's Airport on the night of December 17, 1997 and they were found guilty of making a number of mistakes and omissions during the failed landing attempt that was made by the Ukrainian pilot.
 WWF CAMPAIGN FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THE WILD GOATS IN GREECEAthens, 15 December 2000 (16:32 UTC+2)
A campaign for the preservation of the wild goats, which were in abundance in the Greek mountains in the past and now are threatened with extinction, has been launched by the Greek branch of the World Wildlife Fund, WWF.
According to a WWF announcement, only 500 wild goats can be found on the rocky mountains of central and northern Greece which have been isolated into small groups and are at the mercy of poachers.
 HOUSE SPEAKER MEETS WITH ALBANIAN COUNTERPARTAthens, 15 December 2000 (13:55 UTC+2)
The President of the Hellenic Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis received his Albanian counterpart Skender Gjinushi in Athens today, where the latter is presently on visit heading a delegation of Albanian deputies, among them Albania's former premier Fatos Nano.
During their talks, Mr. Kakalmanis relayed the Greek people's sentiments of disappointment over the recent violations of the Greek minority's rights during the local elections in Albania.
According to Mr. Kaklamanis, these events undermined the positive climate existing in the two neighbors' relations and the efforts to foster cooperation.
Furthermore, Mr. Kaklamanis stressed that Albania's European orientation necessitates respect for the individual rights of minorities residing in Albania, safeguards for their personal property and security for business activities.
In turn, Mr. Gjinushi underlined that the majority of the Albanian parliament wants to strengthen and develop friendly ties with Greece. He also stated that the media in his country tend to blow some issues out of proportion, a tactic that should not reflect the Albanian government's policies.
He further conceded that avoidable mistakes were perhaps made during the local elections.
Mr. Nano, who is the president of Albania's Socialist Party, also stressed that relations between the two countries have entered a period of growth and stability, especially in the sectors of military cooperation, the Greek minority's integrity and the development of Greek-Albanian business activities in the Balkans.
Mr. Gjinushi accepted his Greek counterpart's proposal for the restoration of Friendship Groups between the two countries' parliaments, as well as for the exchange of visits between the members of the two bodies.
 YOUNG DEPUTIES-TO-BE MEET IN THESSALONIKI TODAYThessaloniki, 15 December 2000 (13:34 UTC+2)
The National Conference for the selection of the Greek Youth European Parliament, gets underway in Thessaloniki today, where a select 10 students will represent Greece in the 36th International Summit of the Youth European Parliament in Stockholm next spring.
The European Youth Parliament is a non-profit association based in England and its goal is to hold meetings for the young that are modeled after the European Parliament meetings. It has been formally represented in Greece for the past six years by the non-profit association Greek Youth European Parliament.
 GREEK HUMANITARIAN MDs SEND AID TO PALESTINIANSThessaloniki, 15 December 2000 (13:03 UTC+2)
The humanitarian organization Doctors of the World Greece has issued an appeal to the Israeli government to allow the delivery of 5.5 tons of medical equipment and medicines destined for two Palestinian hospitals in Jerusalem and Gaza.
The supplies have been waiting at Cairo airport since November 30. The organization said that despite verbal promises, the Israeli authorities have not yet allowed the aid to be delivered to Jerusalem's Lutherian Augusta Hospital and the Dar el Shifaa hospital in Gaza.
 GREECE'S ASSISTANCE TO FRY TO DEAL WITH ITS URGENT NEEDSBrussels, 15 December 2000 (16:28 UTC+2)
Greece's assistance to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia aimed at helping it to deal with its urgent needs was announced by the Greek mission participating in the 1st international coordinating meeting of the donor countries for FRY that took place in Brussels.
Specifically, Greece will offer 22.660.000 Euro for food, medical aid and financial support, while 30 buses will be sent to Yugoslavia to cover transportation needs.
In the meeting that was held under the auspices of the European Commission and the World Bank participated 41 countries and 19 international organizations which focused their interest on finding ways to satisfy the urgent needs of the FRY and especially those concerning energy, health and social welfare issues.
 POLITICAL ANALYSTS ON WASHINGTON'S FUTURE STANCE TOWARD GREECE AND TURKEYWashington, 15 December 2000 (16:23 UTC+2)
Political analysts are divided in the United States over Washington's policy toward Greece and Turkey, according to the BBC radio Greek service.
George Sitilidis, director of the Western Policy Center in Washington stated that he does not expect a significant change in Washington's policy toward Greece, Cyprus and Turkey at least in the first two years of the George Bush Jr. administration. However, after the first two years he expects changes in the Washington-Athens relations, adding that Greece's position in the region has changed compared to the position it had in the past 50 years.
Mr. Sitilidis also stated that the new US president will focus his attention on the foreign policy the United States follow on big issues such as, the relations with Russia, China and the cohesion of NATO. Mr. Sitilidis expressed the view that the Bush administration will be more friendly toward Turkey, as it is a significant US partner in terms of the policy followed toward Iran, Iraq and Russia.
Responding to the question concerning the likely removal of Nicholas Burns from his post as US ambassador to Athens, Mr. Sitilidis said that both the republicans and the democrats know that Mr. Burns did an excellent job as a US ambassador to Athens. The general impression is that he will be in Athens until mid 2001, adding that Nicholas Burns was appointed to the position by president Clinton but he had also served in the National Security Council under the George Bush presidency.