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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-10-09

Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and




    Athens, 9 October 2001 (12:56 UTC+2)

    Minister of Public Order, Michalis Chrysochoidis, advised the country to keep its composure and self control, underlining that we are completely safe, in statements he made after the meeting of the Governmental Council on Foreign Affairs and Defense, during which he presented the plan on increased security measures for sensitive targets in Greece.

    Mr. Chrysochoidis stressed that all services are vigilant and ready to deal with any danger, and that civilians should feel secure.

    The plan for increased security includes guarding of embassies, civilian and military airports, harbors, water supplies, power plants, Olympic projects, the subway, stadiums, theaters, cinemas, and ministries and public organizations by police forces.

    Also, increased security measures have been taken in the naval yard at Souda, as well as the Air Force bases in Araxos and Actio.

    A greater role in the emergency guarding plan has been given to the army, since from now on it will guard sea and land borders against the entrance of illegal immigrants into


    Thessaloniki, 9 October 2001 (12:55 UTC+2)

    The opening of the 53rd Frankfurt International Book Fair this afternoon, will take place under extreme security measures, in the presence of the Greek President of the Republic, Kostis Stefanopoulos, and the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schreder.

    Authorities have taken all necessary security measures, so that not even the slightest incident may take place during the fair, especially after the threat of terrorist attacks in Europe and the US.

    87 Greek publishing houses are participating in the Book Fair, which are supported by the Ministry of Culture with 1 million drs, while approximately 850 new Greek books will be presented.


    Thessaloniki, 9 October 2001 (13:01 UTC+2)

    One out of two Greeks fears a possible terrorist strike against Greece, while the majority disapprove of the US attacks on Afghanistan, according to the results of the ALCO company, which were published in the Eleftheros Typos newspaper.

    52,1% of those asked stated that they live in fear of a terrorist attack on our country and 42,6% is not afraid of such a possibility. Younger people, aged 18-24, (61,3%),women (61,2%) and the elderly (59,5%), are most afraid. 40% of men are afraid and 39,1% of people aged 25-34.

    61,2% of the people asked disagree with the way the US reacted and 57,3% considers the attack against Afghanistan unfair. 29% agrees with the attack and 26,4% can see the reason behind it. The vast majority (83,9%) of those asked believe that the retaliation of the US will open a new vicious circle of violence and terrorist strikes, and only 7,4% think that it will have results in the war against terrorism.

    The survey took place on Monday, one day after the bombing in Afghanistan commenced.


    Thessaloniki, 9 October 2001 (13:04 UTC+2)

    We need to cooperate, Greeks and Americans, for the eradication of terrorism, because otherwise we will all suffer, stressed the new Ambassador of the US in Athens, Thomas Miller, in an exclusive interview with the Macedonian Press Agency, placing November17 amongst the terrorist organizations that must be uprooted.

    Speaking to the Director of the Macedonian Press Agency, Spyros Kouzinopoulos, only a few hours prior to the commencing of military operations in Afghanistan, the American Ambassador emphatically noted: If we win you win and if we lose, you're next. And believe me, you are as much as symbol here of the system that bin Laden wants to take down, as we are. He goes after a society. It's the West. It's a democratic society, where people are free to elect their leaders. And if he could hit the WTC he can hit the Eiffel Tower, he could hit the Acropolis, the Olympics.

    Mr. Miller, who is in Greece for the third time (he served in the 1985-1987 period in the political department of the embassy and the 1994-1997 period as charge d' affaires), referred to the shock that Americans felt after the terrorist strike of September 11, he does no exclude the possibility of a similar strike anywhere in the world, even in Greece, while he stressed the need for close cooperation for the safety of the 2004 Olympics, for the success of which he is already certain.

    Referring to American policy in the Balkans, the new US Ambassador noted that the American forces will leave the area as soon as there is success in the goal of peace and security, and in reference to Greek-American relations he said that they are constantly improving, but considers the anti-American sentiment held by the Left wing as a worrying point. He attributes it to wrong information, and stated that he will try to listen to everyone's point of view. I'm going to try and listen, a lot more than lecture, he characteristically said.

    In conclusion, Mr. Miller talked about the achievements of Greece in the last years with great admiration, and applauds the movements of the Greek Prime Minister, Kostas Simitis on the social security issue.

    QUESTION: What are your comments on the international scene which is developing after September 11? What do you think the results are going to be?

    ANSWER: First of all I think that the September 11 events have changed life for all of us. Not just for Americans, but for everybody. It's changed our perspective, our view, of the world in a very fundamental way. To us Americans it said, the impossible, the unthinkable can happen. To the rest of the world it said. If it can happen in America, to the World Trade Towers, it can happen anywhere. It can happen in Greece.

    So I think the message is that we all have to work together, to cooperate. And so I come here with a different vision than I would have come with 6 moths ago. Greece and the US have been long time friends and allies, shared values, shared history, a lot of very prominent Greek Americans.

    Our objectives are generally the same. Sometimes we disagree on the way to reach our goals, but that's to be expected. But I think that since September 11, we have something we all have to work on together, because if we don't work together we're all going to suffer. And this isn't about the clash of civilizations, or the clash of religions, that's not it at all. And it should not be depicted that way. It is a clash of systems and values regardless of religion. There are a lot of Muslims, the majority of which in the world support our efforts. Bur it's the people like bin Laden and November 17, that want to destroy everything, and we just can't allow that to happen.

    QUESTION: Do you believe that due to fear of even a small terrorist attack the 2004 Olympics might not take place in Greece?

    ANSWER: I'm not sure that's the best question. It's not whether they happen or not, they will happen, it's what we do to make sure that they happen in a safe environment and that they're successful. If we're still asking the question are they going to happen or not, I think our focus is wrong. Instead the focus should be, lets accept they will happen in Greece, my assumption is of course that they'll happen in Greece, the question is what can we do to make sure that these are safe games. And that's how it looks, it's difficult. It's not impossible, but it's difficult.

    QUESTION: How will the plague of terrorism be dealt with?

    ANSWER: One word: Cooperation, cooperation, cooperation. You'll hear me say that during my time here. You'll hear me say it again and again because the days when the US and Greece would disagree on issues, terrorism, whatever the issues, Cyprus, those days are over as far as I'm concerned, because there is something much bigger out there, which is a threat I believe to all of us. We have an expression in the US, keep your eye on the ball, keep your focus where it should be, because if we don't, we're all going to lose. There will be no winners in this situation, only losers.

    QUESTION: Will this crisis affect US policy in the Balkans?

    ANSWER: The honest answer is that it is a very uncertain future, and for the American Ambassador or anyone else to say with certainty what is going to happen in the next year, would probably be wrong. But I spent the past two years in Bosnia, and I think that the Bush administration understands the importance of our role in the Balkans. Before the elections last year there was a lot of discussion on our roles in the Balkans, particularly on the military side, but also on the economic side. Now you have the President saying, we went in together, we'll go out together. And then he adds, but lets hasten the day that we are going to go. And that's good. I'm glad. We should hasten the date of our departure, but after our success.

    QUESTION: But on the other hand, shouldn't the US, the EU and the other countries be more active in convincing the Balkan people to leave their nationalism and fanaticism aside, both of which have done so much damage in the past?

    ANSWER: Certainly, 100%. After 2 years in Bosnia, with all the trouble, it is very hard. I agree 100% but it is hard. I know the situation in Bosnia. What I find very interesting after working in a former socialist or communist for the last two years, is how much progress Greece has made. The biggest challenge that I saw in Bosnia, bigger than the hard-line parties, and the mafia, was the average person, who had grown up, particularly anyone over 40, and they have grown up in a system where they were told that if they did everything they were told, if they played by the rules they would get and they did everything that was expected of them, they would have work, housing, health, and education. And these are good people. Unfortunately, after the fall of communism, after the war in Bosnia, the rules changed. For good people. I'm not talking about bad people. And these people played by the rules, and they don't have a job, they don't have houses, they don't have a pension, they don't have health care, and it's because the state doesn't have any money. There is such total destruction in Bosnia, from the war. A lot of Greeks don't notice, you live close by, but not a lot of Greeks go to Bosnia very often. And of course in Croatia in Yugoslavia. These are the people I feel sorry for. Because they played by the rules but then the rules changed, not due to any fault of their own.

    I know Mr. Simitis has had some problems here with the pension, and the social security system, and it's a question of raising the age limit. Which is what we did in the US. From 65 to 67. I'm sure I will be working at 67. He's right. In all of our countries the average person lives longer. That's an argument, an interesting discussion, but in places like Bosnia, they don't even have that discussion, they don't even have any money for a pension plan.

    I come back to Greece with a new appreciation, with a different appreciation, with a much more positive attitude towards this country. You look at it and say noise, pollution, problems. And you're right. But for someone who's been gone for four years, even a place like Thessaloniki has changed. When I first came to Greece in the 80s it was big, it was dirty, I used to bring my kids. They would have a great time switching channels from ERT1 to ERT2. That was all there was to do. There was traffic and pollution. There was no subway, the new airport had not been built. The condition of the economy was a disaster. It was terrible. Inflation was 20%. If someone told me in 1985 that you would be part of the EMU, I would say he was crazy.

    QUESTION: With the way things have improved do you think we can hold good Olympics?

    ANSWER: One thing I'm not going to do in this job, is that I'm not going to try and predict the future. I will work really hard, do all I can to support. If in a year or two you're asking whether the Games are going to be held here, that's going to be a failure. Instead I think the question should be, how can we all work together to make these games successful, because if you win we win, and if you lose, we lose.

    It's the same with the bin Laden situation. If we win you win and if we lose, you're next. And believe me, you are as much as symbol here of the system that bin Laden wants to take down, as we are. He goes after a society. It's the West. It's a democratic society, where people are free to elect their leaders. And if he could hit the WTC he can hit the Eiffel Tower, he could hit the Acropolis, the Olympics.

    QUESTION: How optimistic are you that Greek-American relations can improve further?

    ANSWER: I think generally they are in pretty good shape. Overall, as I compare now with before, Greek-American relationships are in pretty good shape. I think there is one troubling aspect in Greek American relationships, and that is the anti-Americanism you see in some of the left wing press and people here, but I think that it is a very small minority. That is something we all have to work out, because I think it is based on some erroneous information and we'll all have to try and work on it. One of the things I'm going to try to do in my time here - I had dinner last night with Tsohatzopoulos, an old friend, and I saw Paschalidis earlier - I'm going to ask a lot of questions. I'm going to try and listen, a lot more than lecture. That's the style that I would like to bring to this country. People say to me, this is your 3rd time here, you've got a lot of experience, you're the expert. I'm not an expert. Maybe I've spent some time here, but the more time I spend here the more I realize how much I don't know. I remember something that my father told me as a child. He said, Tom, you always learn a lot more by listening, than by talking. And I want to use that and remember that. And I've had some good conversations


    Athens, 9 October 2001 (19:03 UTC+2)

    Small gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.23% at 2.220,41 points, while the volume of transactions was very small at 78.90 million Euro or 26.89 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today, 182 recorded gains and 121 had losses, while the value of 75 remained unchanged.


    Thessaloniki, 9 October 2001 (18:50 UTC+2)

    The advantages of the 1st Hellenic Trade and Culture Exhibition-2001 and the opportunities it offers to the participants to sign deals of strategic importance were presented by its organizers to the business world in northern Greece.

    In an event that took place at the World Council for Hellenes Abroad, SAE, offices in Thessaloniki it was stressed that a total of 300 companies (100 Greek and 200 American) have filed applications to participate, as this is the first business to business Greek exhibition that will be held in America and it is believed that it will boost Greek-US business relations and especially, the business relations between Greece and the American Midwest.

    The first part of the exhibition will concern trade and will take place in Chicago on November 5-6, organized by SAE, the World Trade Center in Chicago (WTCC), the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce, the Greek Center for Investments and the Association of Exporters in Northern Greece. The initiative is backed by the ministries of defense, foreign affairs, development and national economy.

    SAE president Andrew Athens and the WTCC president, speaking through teleconference to those attending the event, gave an emphasis to the special characteristics of the exhibition.

    The exhibition is organized based on the partenariat method and therefore, the Greek companies have prearranged meetings with US companies according to their commercial interests.

    Most of the commercial interest focuses on food and beverages, textile and clothing, building materials, and high technology, while investment interest focuses on computers, telecommunications, tourism, food, chemicals, plastics, mines, and metallurgy.

    A one-day conference on economic and investment issues will take place at the same time with the trade exhibition. In the conference will be invited companies which are interested in the US capital market and the investment opportunities offered by the wider US market.

    Also, the exhibition is expected to strengthen the political relations between the two countries through the already scheduled cultural events.


    Athens, 9 October 2001 (18:08 UTC+2)

    The international developments, the US attack on Afghanistan and the effects it will have on Greece, are being discussed in the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy parliamentary group meeting that is being held today presided over by party leader Kostas Karamanlis.

    In his speech Mr. Karamanlis stressed that the military operations in Afghanistan are placed within the framework of international law and take place after UN decisions, while he expressed satisfaction over the fact that the targets of those military operations are limited to terrorist bases.

    He called on the government to give a decisive battle to stamp out every remnant of terrorist organization and the fear of a terrorist attack.

    Mr. Karamanlis called again for a meeting of the Political Leaders Council, presided over by president Stephanopoulos and suggested the establishment of the Foreign Policy Council with wider authorities.

    On the domestic policy, he said that ND will watch the government closely and will not make any concessions on issues concerning transparency on the management of the tax-payers' money.


    Athens, 9 October 2001 (17:39 UTC+2)

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas characterized as interesting the opinion poll presented today by the Athens newspaper "Eleftheros Tipos" according to which, 57% of those questioned believe that the attack on Afghanistan is unfair.

    Mr. Reppas stated that war is not a popular option as everybody wants a peaceful life. However, he underlined that the terrorist attack on the United States must be seen as a challenge for humanity and western civilization. The response to this challenge must be effective and decisive, said Mr. Reppas and stressed that the world cannot be apathetic to such a terrorist attack. He also said that the Greeks must feel safe, adding that Greece is a safe country and all measures have been taken to deal with every possible threat.

    However, he stressed that there is no evidence showing that Greece could become the target of such an attack.


    Athens, 9 October 2001 (15:55 UTC+2)

    Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy parliament deputy Ms. Dora Bakoyianni called for an understanding of all political parties at a national level and underlined the need for the cooperation of political forces. She also characterized as satisfactory the planning aimed at dealing with the situation that was created after the terrorist attacks on the United States and the reprisals on the Afghanistan.

    Ms. Bakoyianni accompanied by her colleague Spilios Spiliotopoulos, head of New Democracy's national defense department, met with defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos today and was briefed on the current developments.

    She stated that New Democracy believes that there should be a national understanding among all political parties, adding that the cooperation of political forces is necessary.

    On the question concerning the measures taken by the government, she stated that the briefing was complete and the planning appears satisfactory.


    Thessaloniki, 9 October 2001 (15:26 UTC+2)

    Two women, a mother and her daughter, 73 and 54, were killed in their house and other seven people, car drivers and passengers, were injured when a truck veered off course due to break failure and literally flattened a house in a Thessaloniki suburb today, after colliding with passing vehicles.

    The truck was carrying building materials and its 29-year-old driver, who was unable to regain its control, was also injured.


    Athens, 9 October 2001 (15:07 UTC+2)

    The indications on employment are positive for the year 2001, based on figures provided by the Greek labor and social security ministry and the assessments made by independent institutions.

    According to those figures, there is an increase in employment in 2001 that corresponds to 75.000 new job positions, while the increase recorded in 2000, based on second trimester figures, was only 6.500.

    The research was based on a sample of 2.309 businesses and compared to the previous year, the number of employed individuals has increased by 1.92%.


    Athens, 9 October 2001 (14:47 UTC+2)

    The government economic staff is alert to establish what will be the likely effects the attacks on Afghanistan will have on the Greek economy. The assessments already made remain unchanged and according to them, the effects will be limited and short-lived given that there will be no further escalation of the crisis.

    The above were stressed by national economy minister Yiannos Papantoniou after the meeting he had this morning with prime minister Kostas Simitis. He stressed that there will be a more clear picture on the state budget and the course of the macro-economic indexes by the end of October or early November.

    The materialization course of the Community Framework of Support was also discussed in the meeting of Mr. Papantoniou with the prime minister which was held in the presence of undersecretary of national economy Christos Pachtas


    Komotini, 9 October 2001 (14:17 UTC+2)

    The Muslim deputies in the Greek parliament elected in Thrace, northeastern Greece, condemned Osama bin Laden's stance expressing their opposition to his invitation for Jihad or Holy War, stressing that they support the fight against terrorism.

    Speaking to MPA, governing socialist party of PASOK parliament deputy Galip Galip, who is elected in the prefecture of Rodopi, stated that this is a case of terrorism. Mr. Galip said that Bin Laden through his statements and the expressions he used has admitted indirectly that he is the one behind the September 11 attacks. The Muslim MP expressed his personal opposition as well as, the opposition of the Muslim minority in Thrace to terrorism regardless of where it comes from. He said that there is no question of a holy war as this is not a religious issue but an issue of terrorism. As far as the US attack on Afghanistan is concerned, he said that he does not see it as an attack on Muslims, stressing that it is a move targeting terrorism and not Islam.

    The same stance was adopted by another Muslim Greek parliament deputy with the party of PASOK, who also comes from the prefecture of Rodopi, Mr. Mehmet Ahmet. He said that he does not agree with bin Laden's invitation to a holy war, stressing that the Muslim minority's advisory committee has issued a resolution condemning terrorism that has already been forwarded to the United States. He said that bin Laden's invitation to a holy war is condemned, stressing that he is against terrorism regardless of where it comes from and that he backs the fight against terrorism. Referring to the US attack on Afghanistan he said that this is not a crusade or a jihad but a war against terrorism. Speaking about the Muslim-Christian relations, he said that the relations between the Muslims and Christians living in Thrace are a model of peaceful coexistence.


    Athens, 9 October 2001 (13:53 UTC+2)

    Turkish foreign minister Ismail Cem will be on a working visit to Athens on November 7-8.

    Mr. Cem will have talks with his Greek counterpart Giorgos Papandreou.

    Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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