|Monday, 20 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-01-24
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 GREEK PRESIDENT TO BE RECEIVED BY THE POPERome, 24 January 2001 (11:55 UTC+2)
The President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, presently on an official, four-day visit to Italy, will be received by Pope John Paul II at the Vatican this afternoon, the first visit ever to be made to the Vatican by a Greek president.
This morning, President Stephanopoulos will visit the Italian Senate and later will lay a wreath at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier.
In the afternoon, the President will be received by Italian Prime Minister Giuliano Amato for talks on bilateral and international issues, as well as the situation in the Balkans. A joint press conference will follow.
In the evening, President Stephanopoulos will be received by Pope John Paul II and the Secretary of State of The Holy See Cardinal Sodano.
 PM: «TURKEY CANT ENTER EU THROUGH BACK DOOR»Athens, 24 January 2001 (11:17 UTC+2)
"Turkey's accession to the European Union through the back door is unfathomable", Prime Minister Costas Simitis stated yesterday, during a parliamentary discussion on EU-related issues.
The Premier stressed that "Turkey, through its associate-status with the EU, is faced with its responsibilities and is obliged to respect the principles and criteria existent within the EU, as is true for all the countries that are candidates for EU accession. We want Turkey incorporated in the European system, but no country aspiring to become an EU member can doubt the integrity of another EU member-state and cannot occupy militarily the territory of another candidate country. There is no other way to accession."
Referring to Cyprus' accession course, the Premier said that Greece steadily supports the EU's enlargement as a factor that will contribute to stability in the continent, establish democracy and individual rights, provide prosperity and social progress.
The Premier also referred to decisions taken at the EU Nice summit, as well as the new treaty, which, he said, pave the way for the accession of candidate countries to the EU.
Also, the Premier referred to the creation of a European defense body with a military force of 60,000 soldiers ""o that it will not be necessary for it to resort to factors outside Europe, as was the case in the recent past."
Lastly, Mr. Simitis stated that a key target is the combating of unemployment, stressing that "the central target of the new strategy is full employment until 2010", as well as expedited economic growth rates and the development of new technologies.
 FM: GREECE IS PRO-ECOLOGY, NOT LIABLE FOR DU USEAthens, 24 January 2001 (12:32 UTC+2)
Greece cannot be held accountable for the issue of depleted uranium (DU) bombs at a time when it was a pioneer in examining ecological and environmental repercussions, Foreign Minister stated during his presentation of the Ministry's policies before the Parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday.
In a marathon, three-hour session, Mr. Papandreou stressed that Greece was the first to diagnose, indicate and take measures, adding that while the problem had indeed been detected, its extent was unknown.
Moreover, the Foreign Minister also attributed responsibilities to NATO for failing to immediately notify the United Nations on weapons which had been used during Yugoslavia's bombing, stressing that Greece did not take part in the raids.
As for the Cyprus issue, Mr. Papandreou stated that Turkey's
lack of will to resolve the problem will have grave repercussions regarding its accession course towards the European Union. In response to a deputy's question, the FM stated that a "casus belli" still stands in the event Turkish forces advance into the free territory of Cyprus.
Advocating the ideas of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, i.e. Cyprus as an "undivided and federal" state, Mr. Papandreou ruled out the solution of a confederation.
Regarding the issue of FYROM's name, Mr. Papandreou said Greece has not accepted another name, adding that "FYROM knows that its further development cannot be promoted unless the problem is resolved."
 GREEK COMMUNIST PARTY SG TO MEET WITH MILOSEVICThessaloniki, 24 January 2001 (10:30 UTC+2)
The Secretary-General of the Greek Communist party (KKE) Aleka Paparega is to meet with the former president of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic today, the first day of her official, four-day visit to F.R.Y.
Heading a KKE delegation, Ms. Paparega will meet with officials from the Serb Socialist Party, the Yugoslav Left Party and the New Communist Party of Yugoslavia to discuss ways of developing the "action of the Balkan anti-NATO center" and events in March 2001 marking the second anniversary of the NATO campaign in Yugoslavia.
The KKE officials will also participate in rallies held at Belgrade and Novi Sad, while they will also and visit hospitals as well as refugees from Kosovo and the towns of Pancevo and Novi Sad in northern Serbia.
According to a KKE announcement, the purpose of the visit is to convey the undiminished solidarity of Greek communists to the Yugoslav people and their struggle for "national independence, a Balkans of peace and cooperation, without NATO and nuclear arms.
 DIMOCRITOS RESEARCH CENTER: NORMAL RADIATION LEVELS IN GREECEAthens, 24 January 2001 (18:16 UTC+2)
The radiation levels in Greece are normal, based on the radiation counts conducted all over the country by the Dimocritos Research Center network.
The network's scientists confirmed today that no radiation increase was recorded, while there were no results of radiation counts that could cause fear. The scientists also stated that it is premature to link the leukemia cases with the use of depleted uranium shells during the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. It should be noted that "Dimocritos" measures radiation in the air, water and land since 1960.
The research center scientists also clarified that the problem from the depleted uranium shells explosions is of a local nature and is limited to a small distance from the explosion points. On the shells that were used by the Greek Navy and are at the bottom of the Aegean Sea, they stressed that they must be located and all necessary measures must be taken.
 THE GREEK ECONOMY FOLLOWS AN UPWARD COURSEAthens, 24 January 2001 (17:50 UTC+2)
The course of the Greek economy is good and this is recognized by International Organizations, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas and added that the course followed by the country's economy is upward and it will continue to be so in the following years as well.
Referring to the tragic event of the suicide committed by an investor, who was the director of an Alpha Bank branch in Pirgos, southern Greece, he expressed his sorrow but suggested to all those dealing with the stock exchange to follow the rules of the market.
When asked to comment on the downward course of the Athens Stock Exchange, the government spokesman reiterated that the government does not interfere with its operation and suggested to everybody to avoid such discussions because they offer bad services. Finally, he admitted that, of course, there are certain ones who undermine the operation of the stock market because they think that they gain more, at least for a certain period of time, when the stock market is on the decline.
 SEAN CONNERY AND HIS WIFE VISITED THE ANCIENT THEATER OF DIONYSOSAthens, 24 January 2001 (17:28 UTC+2)
Famous actor Sean Connery and his wife visited the ancient theater of Dionysos at the foothills of the Acropolis in Athens this morning. Earlier, they had met with their friend music composer Vangelis Papathanasiou.
The opening of the painting exhibition with works of Mr. Connery's wife was held at a Votanikos gallery in Athens yesterday. The opening of the exhibition was attended by many personalities representing the arts and politics as well as, the literary and business world.
 REPPAS' STATEMENTS ON THE NANO-KOSTUNICA MEETING IN ATHENSAthens, 24 January 2001 (17:02 UTC+2)
The meeting of Albanian Socialist Party leader Fatos Nano with Yugoslav president Voislav Kostunica that took place in Athens on January 16 was held at the initiative of the two leaders themselves, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas when he was asked by reporters if there was a Greek involvement in the meeting.
Mr. Reppas underlined that the Greek government has the will to offer its assistance, adding that it has contributed in the past and has offered all it could toward the direction of greater communication and understanding among leaders and especially, among the leaders in the region.
 NATO'S MILITARY COMMANDER IN EUROPE IS VISITING ATHENSAthens, 24 January 2001 (16:44 UTC+2)
NATO's military commander in Europe Air Force general Joseph Ralston promised a detailed briefing on the issue of the effects from the use of depleted uranium during his meeting in Athens with Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou. The American commander of NATO, who is on a ceremonial visit to Greece, expressed the view that the depleted uranium shells used in Kosovo will not put at risk the health of the KFOR soldiers and the local population.
Mr. Ralston left open the likelihood for future use of such shells for the protection of the NATO forces from enemy tanks. He also stressed that there will be no decision on the withdrawal of the US forces from Kosovo without prior consultations with the US allies. NATO's military commander in Europe discussed with Mr. Papandreou other issues as well such as the enlargement of NATO and the holding of military exercises.
Earlier, Mr. Ralston, accompanied by US ambassador Nicholas Burns, had met with defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos and National Defense General Chief of Staff lieutenant general Manousos Paragioudakis.
 NEW LOSSES IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 24 January 2001 (15:54 UTC+2)
More losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index was down by 0.99% at 3.032,85 points, while the volume of transactions was small at 105.77 million Euro or 36.04 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, 146 recorded gains and 174 had losses, while the value of 55 remained unchanged.
 OTE-OKTA-INTERAMERICAN ARE INTERESTED IN THE 2ND GSM LICENSE IN FYROMThessaloniki, 24 January 2001 (15:53 UTC+2)
Three businesses of Greek interests intend to claim the second mobile phone service provider license in FYROM. According to information, they are the Greek state Telecommunications Organization, OTE, the OKTA oil refineries controlled by the Hellenic Petroleum company and Interamerican.
Also, interested in the license are Hungary's MATAV, MAKPETROL, the local telecommunications company PIKON and FYROM's state-run Electricity Company. The list with the interested companies is expected to become longer as the license will be given by the end of 2001 putting an end to Mobimak's monopoly.
 YOUNG PEOPLE OF GREEK ORIGIN FROM THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE ARE IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 24 January 2001 (15:46 UTC+2)
Ninety six young people of Greek origin coming from Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil and South Africa arrived in Thessaloniki today as guests of the general secretariat for the Greeks Living Abroad.
Young people, 18-25 years old, arrived in Athens on January 8 within the framework of the worldwide students' exchange program organized by the general secretariat for the Greeks Living Abroad in cooperation with Greek universities. The goal of this program is to bring the Greeks living abroad in contact with the modern Greek culture, help them learn more about tradition in Greece and strengthen the relations among the young Greeks around the world.
 SEVEN BANKS OFFER A 70 BILLION DRACHMAS LOAN TO OLYMPIC AIRWAYSAthens, 24 January 2001 (15:43 UTC+2)
The Greek airline Olympic Airways will have to choose among seven bank offers concerning the 70 billion drachmas loan it wants in order to cover its needs concerning its relocation to the new "Eleftherios Venizelos" Airport at Spata.
The loan issue is being handled by a three-member committee made up of two national economy ministry officials and the airline's economic management general director.
The Greek state will be the guarantor for the loan after a permission given to the Greek government by the European Commission. Offers have been placed by BNP, Deutche Bank, ABN AMRO BANK, Bayerische Vereinsbank, Credit Suisse, UBS and a Greek joint venture made up of three banks. The evaluation of the offers will be completed in the following days.
 JUSTICE MINISTER OKs DNA TESTS FOR SERIOUS CRIMESAthens, 24 January 2001 (13:48 UTC+2)
While DNA testing could be a useful criminal investigative tool in grave crime cases, and be used even without the suspect's consent, Justice Minister Mihalis Stathopoulos urges caution over the prospect of using the obtained data for other purposes.
In an interview with the Athens daily Eleftherotypia, Mr. Stathopoulos stated that phone conversations can be wiretapped, but only under a prosecutor's order. However, the Justice Minister categorically ruled out the possibility of the said order being issued by a policeman.
Moreover, the Minister stressed that there is impending legislation aimed at combating organized crime, which will be effective without violating the core of basic personal rights, which are safeguarded by the constitution.
 SPAIN BACKS THE SOLUTION OF THE CYPRUS PROBLEMNicosia, 24 January 2001 (16:38 UTC+2)
The Spanish foreign minister expressed his country's support to the efforts for the solution of the Cyprus problem, stressing that it was created by the invasion of the Turkish forces to Cyprus.
At the same time, he called on the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash to return to the proximity talks for a solution to be found on the Cyprus issue based on the UN Security Council resolutions.
Speaking to reporters in a press conference yesterday with his Cypriot counterpart Yiannakis Kasoulides after the formal talks they had in Madrid, the Spanish foreign minister referred to Cyprus' EU accession prospect and said that it would be good to complete the EU accession negotiations during the Spanish EU presidency in the first half of 2002.
 EXHIBITION IN STRASBOURG ON THE HOLOCAUST OF THE GREEK JEWSStrasbourg, 24 January 2001 (15:49 UTC+2)
An exhibition of photographs, documents and different objects under the title "The Holocaust of the Greek Jews-Hunted and Saviors" is organized at the Europe Building in Strasbourg to take place on February 12-26. The event is organized by the Greek ministry of press and mass media general secretariat on information in cooperation with the Jewish Museum in Greece.
The goal of the exhibition is to make the history of the Holocaust of the Greek Jews known to the European public and place it within the framework of the long historic course of the Jews in Greece. Also, among the main goals of the exhibition is to honor the private individuals and different institutions that contributed to the rescue of the hunted Jews.