|Saturday, 25 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-12-21
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 AGREEMENT ON THE BURGAS-ALEXANDROUPOLIS OIL PIPELINEAthens, 21 December 2000 (19:39 UTC+2)
A tripartite agreement was reached by Greece, Russia and Bulgaria for the acceleration of the procedures concerning the establishment of a company that will undertake to construct and manage the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.
In a series of meetings held in the ministry of development in Athens, the representatives of the three countries decided to continue the procedures for the establishment of the Transbalkan Pipeline Co. This solution will be ratified by the three countries at a higher government level as well when an agreement will be signed determining the rights and the obligations of the parties involved.
Development minister Nikos Christodoulakis appeared very satisfied with the progress made on the issue and speaking to his counterparts stated that the oil pipeline is the best possible option for the transport of oil from the Caspian Sea to the West.
According to the studies already made, the oil pipeline will be 285 km long and in order to be viable it has to carry at least 15 million tons of oil on an annual basis.
 CONTRACT ON THE RADIO-TELEVISION COVERAGE OF THE ATHENS OLYMPICSAthens, 21 December 2000 (18:55 UTC+2)
The contract on the radio-television coverage of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games was signed today after the final agreement reached between "Athens 2004" Organization and Manolo Romero's ISB company.
The contract is estimated at 183 million Euro or about 60 billion drachmas.
 SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN THE GREEK EXPORTS IN THE FIRST HALF OF 2000Thessaloniki, 21 December 2000 (18:45 UTC+2)
A significant increase of 36% was recorded in the Greek exports in the first half of 2000 compared to the same period in 1999, according to Association of Exporters in Northern Greece president Mr. Thomas Fokion Algianakoglou.
Specifically, in the period January-June 2000, the Greek exports were 5.87 billion Euro, while according to the association's estimates, exports in the year 2000 are expected to reach 11 billion Euro.
The rise of the Greek exports to the Balkan states was also impressive according to figures provided by Eurostat, as they reached 1.2 billion Euro presenting an increase of 71%. The Greek exports to the European Union showed an increase of 17%.
Association of Exporters in Northern Greece general director Babis Filadarlis commenting on the Eurostat figures pointed out that Greece's exports showed the biggest increase compared to the exports of the other EU member-states which had an average increase of 20%. Among the impressive conclusions of the specific report is the big increase in the Greek exports to Turkey and Japan.
 THE GREEK AIRPORTS ARE SAFEAthens, 21 December 2000 (17:32 UTC+2)
Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas attributed the travel warning issued by the American Civil Aviation Agency, concerning the safety of the Greek airports, to the transitional political period in which the United States are as a result of the change in their administration.
The government spokesman reiterated that the Athens Airport and the rest Greek airports are safe and added that the civil aviation has taken all measures necessary for safe conditions, stressing that there is no danger whatsoever.
Responding to a relevant question, he stated that this travel warning is not associated with the issue of terrorism and added that US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns did not raise the issue of terrorism or associate relevant issues with the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece in the meeting he had with undersecretary of foreign affairs Grigoris Niotis.
 REPPAS: THE EVENTS IN TURKEY DO NOT CHARACTERIZE A EUROPEAN COUNTRYAthens, 21 December 2000 (17:16 UTC+2)
The tragic events in Turkey have no relation with a European country and can not characterize it, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas today when he was called by reporters to comment on the developments in the neighboring country.
Specifically, the Greek government spokesman mentioned that Greece and other countries had pointed out in the past that human rights are being violated in Turkey. Characteristically, he mentioned that anyone who is jailed as a political prisoner in Turkey is at risk to lose his life. The Greek government spokesman wondered how could Turkey sit at the same table with Greece and the rest EU countries.
He concluded by saying that Turkey must deal with its problems in a positive and successful way in order to be able to become an EU member.
 THE CONTRACT FOR THE PURCHASE OF FOUR "SUPER PUMA" HELICOPTERS WILL BE SIGNED TODAYAthens, 21 December 2000 (16:48 UTC+2)
The contract with the French company "Eurocopter" for the purchase of four search and rescue "Super Puma" helicopters will be signed this evening by Greek minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos, the ministry's general director on armaments Giorgos Koliris and company representative Werner Weis.
The first two helicopters will be delivered to the Greek forces in 21 months and the rest two in 24 months after the contract activation date.
The four new "Super Puma" helicopters will be added to four more that belong to the Greek Coast Guard. They are among the best search and rescue helicopters and can participate in rescue operations day and night under adverse weather conditions.
 MORE LOSSES IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 21 December 2000 (16:42 UTC+2)
Losses of 1.54% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index was 3.401,01 points and the volume of transactions was very small at 99.5 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, only 77 had gains, while 252 had losses and the value of 44 remained unchanged.
 YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT KOSTUNICA WILL BE IN ATHENS ON JANUARY 16Athens, 21 December 2000 (16:37 UTC+2)
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia president Voislav Kostunica will be on a formal visit to Greece on January 16, 2001 and will meet with prime minister Kostas Simitis.
It will be his first formal visit to Greece. A few weeks ago, he was on a private visit to Thessaloniki and the monastic community of Mount Athos.
 SMUGGLED WOMAN, CHILD, BURN TO DEATH INSIDE CARThessaloniki, 21 December 2000 (14:23 UTC+2)
A woman and child who were being illegally smuggled into Greece locked inside a car trunk, burned to death this morning when their vehicle toppled over and caught on fire on a Greek highway.
According to early reports, the two victims were among an undetermined number of illegal immigrants who were picked up by two vehicles bearing Russian license plates at the Greece-FYROM border.
En route to Thessaloniki, one of the two vehicles toppled over and burst into flames, with the woman and child (unidentified, but believed to be Albanian nationals) trapped inside the trunk.
The vehicle's driver and other passengers managed to escape.
 FAA DOWNGRADES GREEK CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITYAthens, 21 December 2000 (14:01 UTC+2)
The United States' Federal Aviation Administration will downgrade Greek airports from category 1 to 2, after finding that Greece's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) "does not provide safety oversight of its air carrier operators in accordance with the minimum safety oversight standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)".
An FAA delegation, comprising International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program officials, met in Athens recently with Greece's Transport Minister Christos Verelis, and discussed flight security problems that need to be corrected.
IASA uses the same standards as the UN's ICAO and the downgrade concerns CAA, and not safety procedures at the country's airports.
Greece's failure to establish an expert body to oversee flight safety is reportedly a key reason for the projected downgrading of the country's Civil Aviation Authority.
Until CAA's status is upgraded, Olympic Airways will not be able to increase the number of flights to the US or change the type of aircraft it uses on these routes.
 BULGARIA: OTE VICTORY IN THE MOBILE PHONE SECTORSofia, 21 December 2000 (18:09 UTC+2)
The Bulgarian cabinet declared the Greek Telecommunications Organization, OTE, as the winner of the bid for the second mobile phone provider license in Bulgaria which will have a 15year duration.
As it was made known, OTE won the bid last Sunday with an offer of US$135 million, while "Telecom Italia Mobile" offered US$130 million and the rest candidates namely, the British "Votafon" and the Turkish-Finn joint venture "Fintur" withdrew at US$75 million and US$120 million respectively.
OTE's strategy and investments department director Vasilios Fetsis stressed in an interview with the Sofia newspaper "Monitor" that by the end of 2002 Bulgaria will be covered by OTE's network. He also pointed out that the first thing that will be felt by the Bulgarian subscribers will be the big improvement in quality.
 SWEDEN TAKES REIGN AS EUROPEAN UNION PRESIDENTStockholm, 21 December 2000 (11:13 UTC+2)
Enlargement, employment and environmental concerns will be the three issues to top the agenda of Sweden's term as president of the European Union, which will commence on January 1, 2001.
Sweden, which is succeeding France in the EU's rotating, six-month presidency, has announced that the first EU special summit will be held on March 23-24 in Stockholm, while the EU summit at the closing of the Swedish presidency will be held in June 15-16 in Goteborg.
Regarding the EU's enlargement, Sweden believes that the opportunity exists for achieving significant progress after the Nice Summit agreements.
On joblessness, the Swedish presidency is to focus on strategies to increase employment through economic reforms, educational programs and social welfare.
As for environmental policies, Sweden is expected to promote EU cooperation regulated by environmental considerations.
Sweden is also to grant special attention to EU's relations with Russia and it will work toward the further development of its crisis management capability.