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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-08-29
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 CHIEF OF THE GENERAL ARMY STAFF IN KRIVOLAKSkopje, 29 August 2001 (12:45 UTC+2)
Operation "Essential Harvest" in FYROM for the disarmament of the Albanian guerrillas continues, with two victims from the NATO forces so far, one British and one German soldier, while the General Secretary of NATO is arriving in the country today.
On Thursday, the British Foreign Secretary will visit Skopje, while the Greek Chief of the General Army Staff, Lieutenant General Georgios Antonakopoulos, will arrive in Krivolak.
In the mean time, the MPs of the EU's Parliament who are on the committee for foreign affairs of the EU Parliament, expressed reservations as to effectiveness of the operation and number of weapons held by the guerrillas.
 KOUSANTASI MAYOR IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 29 August 2001 (12:46 UTC+2)
The Mayor of Kousantasi, Fouat Agnogan, who is in Thessaloniki as a guest of the Municipality of Neapoli in the framework of the "Balkan Square" and the Turkish singer Zulfi Livaneli, who took part in the opening concert of this year's organization in Aristotelous square, are both to meet with the Mayor of Neapoli, Grigori Hatzisavvas.
For his initiative and contribution of his prefecture to the friendship of the Balkan people, the Mayor of Kousantasi congratulated Mr. Hatzisavvas, while he then expressed a desire-proposal for the Sunday concert to be moved to a year later in te framework of the "Balkan Square 2002", in the Municipality of Kousantasi.
The two Mayors also discussed the possibility of any further contribution bodies of local government could have in the fraternization of Balkan countries, with similar initiative. The conversation with Zulfi Livaneli took place in the same spirit, who is well known for his progressive approach of the two people.
The Mayor of Neapoli also met with the Tourist Minister of Turkey, Bahadin Giouzel, the Turkish Consul of Thessaloniki, the Mayor of Skopje, Vileta Alvaroza, and the Mayor of Priyedor Nanta Sevo.
Mr. Hatzisavvas was also visited by the Minister of Culture of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia, Mitar Novakovits accompanied by spokespersons of the Ministry.
The "Balkan Square" was characterized as a great event for friendship among Balkan people by Mrs. Novakovits, while she expressed her government's wish for their relations to expand to an economic level.
 MIHALIS DERTOUZOS DIEDAthens, 29 August 2001 (13:06 UTC+2)
At the age of 65, in Boston, died Mihalis Dertouzos, Professor of Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the renowned MIT.
Mihalis Dertouzos, was a member of the university community and had, from the late 70s, foreseen the predominance of personal computers, as well as the increase in automatization in the area of production, but also cooperation in time-space which is confirmed with the rapid spreading of the Internet. The funeral will take place in Athens at the end of next week.
 NIOTIS AND ATHENS WILL VISIT GEORGIA, ARMENIA, UKRAINEAthens, 29 August 2001 (18:12 UTC+2)
Greek undersecretary of foreign affairs Grigoris Niotis and World Council for Hellenes Abroad, SAE, president Andrew Athens will inaugurate two new SAE medical centers in Alaverti, Armenia and Marioupoli, Ukraine within the framework of their tour of Black Sea countries that began today and will be completed on September 3.
The first stop of the tour will be Tblisi in Georgia and on August 30 the mission will be in neighboring Armenia. On September 2, they will be in Marioupoli, Ukraine. The tour will be completed with a visit to Kiev.
 TSOCHATZOPOULOS ON THE CHANGE OF THE BORDERS IN THE BALKANSAthens, 29 August 2001 (18:02 UTC+2)
Greece's national goal is the respect of international borders and the status quo in the Balkan region but the country will not be apathetic in case of revisory policies aimed at changing the existing borders, stated Greek minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos speaking today before the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs and defense. Mr. Tsochatzopoulos briefed the committee on the developments in FYROM and the participation of the Greek contingent in the NATO military force within the framework of the disarmament of the Albanian rebels.
The defense minister said that Greece will not be apathetic to any procedure aimed at changing the borders and will act within the framework of the international community initiatives, especially those undertaken by the EU, to back FYROM politically, economically and militarily to avert any such eventuality and avoid being led to similar developments. He did not rule out the likelihood of developments in 4-5 years that will lead to a new International Conference to define the borders in the Balkans.
Mr. Tsochatzopoulos said that these concerns are not groundless as there are parties in FYROM which do not want the political agreement that has been reached to succeed. He said that part of the FYROM leadership, like prime minister Georgievski, is ready to accept a change in the borders, adding that it cannot be ignored that a part of the citizens of that country are in favor of a convergence with Bulgaria, while another part is in favor of a convergence with Albania.
Former foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos appeared pessimistic, pointing out that the clashes in FYROM will intensify and most likely there will be a "Bosnia type" solution.
Both Mr. Tsochatzopoulos and Mr. Pangalos agreed that FYROM's repressive behavior toward the minorities on its territory was one of the causes that led to the crisis.
Mr. Tsochatzopoulos speculated that this is a period of fragile balance and it is the obligation of the international community to back FYROM's political system, pointing out that the problem of peace and security in the Balkans is an EU issue.
 CHRISTODOULOS MET WITH STEPHANOPOULOSAthens, 29 August 2001 (17:02 UTC+2)
Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece accompanied by members of the Church hierarchy met with president Kostis Stephanopoulos today. Leaving the presidential building told reporters that he briefed Mr. Stephanopoulos on the 3.008.901 signatures collected by the Church with the request for a referendum on the optional listing of the bearer's religion on the state-issued identity cards.
He explained that Mr. Stephanopoulos enjoys a high prestige as the president of the republic and as an individual and for this reason the Church asked for his help to settle the issue through dialogue.
 STEPHANOPOULOS: THE NECESSARY PRECONDITIONS FOR A REFERENDUM ARE NOT PRESENTAthens, 29 August 2001 (16:29 UTC+2)
Hellenic Republic president Kostis Stephanopoulos points out in a statement he has issued that the necessary preconditions for a referendum on the identity cards issue are not present. Earlier, president Stephanopoulos had been briefed on the issue by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece.
In the statement issued by the Greek presidency it is mentioned that the president explained to the Archbishop that the ways in which popular sovereignty is expressed, among them the holding of a referendum and the procedures toward this end, are included in the constitution and the laws of the state. Based on them, the necessary preconditions for a referendum on the identity cards issue are not present, according to the statement issued by the Greek presidency.
 LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 29 August 2001 (16:26 UTC+2)
Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -1.08% at 2.775,70 points, while the volume of transactions was at 134.85 million Euro or 45.951 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, 66 recorded gains and 281 had losses, while the value of 29 stocks remained stable.
 KARAMANLIS MET WITH MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH HIERARCHYAthens, 29 August 2001 (16:25 UTC+2)
A committee made up of members of the Church of Greece hierarchy met with right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis and briefed him on the collection of signatures by the Church and its request for a referendum or a new law on the issue of the optional listing of the bearer's religion on the state-issued identity cards.
Mr. Karamanlis stated that no citizen and politician can be regarded a democrat if they do not respect dialogue. He said that ND has adopted a clear stance and accused the prime minister of following a slippery road of fanaticism and division. He said that political parties should not identify with or show hatred toward the Church, pointing out that the government has created the issue with its arrogance and imprudence.
 THE GOV'T RESPONSE TO STATEMENTS BY MITSOTAKIS-PAPATHEMELIS-THE COMMUNIST PARTYAthens, 29 August 2001 (16:15 UTC+2)
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas responded to the statements made by right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy honorary president Konstantinos Mitsotakis on the identity cards issue. He said that it would have been a constitutional anomaly if the existing framework changed given the decision that has already been issued by the State Council.
Mr. Reppas also commented on the statement made by governing socialist party of PASOK parliament deputy Stelios Papathemelis, who said that PASOK commits suicide. Mr. Reppas said that the government exercises its duties without being a prisoner of who "pulls the trigger first" and wins because it has a clear position and plans for the future, as opposed to ND which is silent and follows a windmill policy.
Finally, responding to the proposal made by the Greek Communist Party for a Church-State separation, he said that there is no such issue and pointed out that the constitution was amended in parliament just a few months ago.
 REPPAS: THE ARCHBISHOP'S STATEMENTS LEAD TO A THEOCRATIC REGIMEAthens, 29 August 2001 (16:13 UTC+2)
Commenting on the phrase by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece, who spoke of Christian Greek politics, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas referred to dangerous paths that can lead to a theocratic regime.
The Church, stated the minister of press, causes misunderstandings at the least when it makes such statements, while he added that the votes-signatures confusion was made on purpose. He stressed that if the Church sees the signatures as an expression of political conviction admits that it claims a political role for itself.
 MITSOTAKIS ON THE IDENTITY CARDS ISSUEAthens, 29 August 2001 (16:12 UTC+2)
Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis is absolutely right to suggest that the identity cards issue should be brought to parliament which has the authority to solve the problem that has been created, stressed New Democracy honorary president and former prime minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis.
On president of the republic Kostis Stephanopoulos, he said that he has an advisory role and has no authority to make an intervention, adding that it was only logical for the president to be briefed on the matter by the Church.
Mr. Mitsotakis accused the prime minister of a serious slip and of badly insulting the Church hierarchy by refusing to even hold a dialogue with them. The government refuses to materialize the Church proposal for a referendum based on Constitution article 44 even though this proposal is backed by a much larger number of citizens necessary in other democratic countries where a referendum can be held after a popular initiative, said Mr. Mitsotakis. He also accused the government that in concert with the so-called "progressive press" has adopted an unacceptable stance of depreciation toward the Greek Orthodox Church.
Regarding the State Council decision, he stated that it is not the only court that can issue a ruling and stressed that the decision can change as it has happened already either on issues of case-law or in the case of a new law passed in parliament.