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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-11-20
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 EUROARMY READY IN 2003Brussels, 20 November 2001 (11:38 UTC+2)
The Euroarmy and Europolice have taken their final form according to decisions taken by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the Interior, and Public Order of the European Union, who met in Brussels.
The two bodies will guard Europe and will deal with future crises and new threats, such as international terrorism.
The number of soldiers in the Euroarmy will be 60,000, of which 6,500 will be part of the Greek Armed Forces. Greece will also offer a variety of military means, according to statements of the Minister of National Defense, Giannos Papantoniou.
Greece will also contribute additional weapon systems, and specifically air-transferable surveillance systems, remote control weapons for precise targeting, search helicopters rescue and attack helicopters, as mentioned by Mr. Papantoniou to accomplish the general target of the Euroarmy.
From now on Europe will intervene, in which Greece is participating with increased rights than we have in NATO. It is therefore in our best national interest to participate dynamically in it, he stressed.
The Euroarmy will be operationally ready in 2003.
 ZAFIROPOULOS' MEETING WITH THE RUSSIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTERAthens, 20 November 2001 (16:40 UTC+2)
The good climate that exists between Greece and Russia and the prospect to expand cooperation to the political, economic and trade sector were confirmed in the meeting Russian deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matvienko had in Athens this morning with Greek Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, Yiannis Zafiropoulos.
Mr. Zafiropoulos and Ms. Matvienko agreed that before the visit of Russian President Putin to Athens in December the proposals for the signing of four agreements concerning the sea and air transportation, as well as energy issues and the establishment of cultural centers will have to be ready.
Ms. Matvienko reiterated Russia's interest in supplying Greece with natural gas in addition to the Russian interest in the construction of energy and other networks in the Balkans. Responding to a question by a reporter on whether natural gas affects the oil agreement, the Russian official stated that they are two separate procedures. However, she expressed Russia's discontent concerning the progress made in the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project, stressing that it does not move fast enough. She stated that Russia is not satisfied with the progress made in the project, adding that Bulgaria's cooperation should become more constructive.
 THE PRIME MINISTER'S SPEECH BEFORE HIS PARTY'S PARLIAMENT DEPUTIESAthens, 20 November 2001 (19:13 UTC+2)
The course toward the true convergence, the creation of a strong society and a stronger Greece remains firm, stated Prime Minister Kostas Simitis today, addressing the governing Socialist Party of PASOK parliament deputies.
He also referred to the international developments and the effects of the crisis that broke out after the September 11 terrorist attack on the United States and the war in Afghanistan.
On the state budget that will be submitted in parliament tomorrow, he said that it proposes increased public investments reaching 3 trillion drachmas and referred to the goals concerning social policy and the adoption of measures against unemployment with the creation of 300.000 new job positions by 2004.
Mr. Simitis underlined that the upcoming municipal elections is a very important battle and called on the PASOK parliament deputies to play a leading role in the initiatives that will be undertaken.
He attacked the right-wing opposition party of New Democracy by accusing it of populism, lacking an agenda and being unreliable, stressing that it represents the Right that lives in the past.
 GREECE-LEBANON: TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND POSTAL SERVICES AGREEMENTAthens, 20 November 2001 (18:19 UTC+2)
Lebanese Telecommunications Minister Jean-Louis Qordahi met in Athens today with Greek Minister of Telecommunications Christos Verelis and Undersecretary Spiros Vougias.
Their talks focused on the development of bilateral relations and the investment opportunities offered in Lebanon as well as the overall institutional framework regulating business activities.
The two ministers signed a bilateral cooperation agreement on telecommunications and postal services.
 ND CALLS FOR AN INQUIRY COMMITTEE ON THE DEKA ACTIVITIESAthens, 20 November 2001 (17:56 UTC+2)
Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy submitted a proposal to the Greek parliament calling for the establishment of an inquiry committee to investigate the activities of the state company DEKA in the Athens Stock Exchange during the pre-election period.
The party's parliamentary spokesman Prokopis Pavlopoulos pointed out that the move has to do only with evidence in the possession of New Democracy. He warned that those who associate the proposal with the course of the Athens Stock Exchange will make the same mistake they made during the pre-election period when they invested politically in the upward course of the stock market.
 GREECE IS SATISFIED WITH THE EURO-ARMY DECISIONAthens, 20 November 2001 (17:37 UTC+2)
Greece has every reason to feel satisfaction after the informal EU Defense Ministers' Council decision on the Euro-army, stressed Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas responding to a question by a reporter.
He stated that a typical decision is necessary but the political essence is that steps are being made toward the establishment of the Euro-army a fact that is faced positively by Greece. Mr. Protopapas stated that it is to the interest of Greece both in terms of the united Europe prospect and the country's security.
 SMALL LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 20 November 2001 (17:20 UTC+2)
Small losses of 0.72% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index was at 2.776.76 points, while the volume of transactions was at 276 million Euro or 94 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, 209 recorded gains and 122 had losses, while the value of 38 stocks remained unchanged.
 TSOCHATZOPOULOS-MATVIENKO MEETINGAthens, 20 November 2001 (17:15 UTC+2)
There is considerable potential for the development of new initiatives in the wider Balkan region energy sector with the cooperation of Greece and Russia, stated Development Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos after the meeting he had with Russian deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matvienko, who is on a visit to Athens.
In their meeting they discussed a number of issues for the promotion of bilateral cooperation on issues of trade, energy and tourism. A special emphasis was given to the materialization of the existing agreements between the two countries, while they examined in detail issues concerning the wider use of natural gas in Greece and the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.
 PAPANDREOU-MATVIENKO MEETINGAthens, 20 November 2001 (16:06 UTC+2)
The economic cooperation in the Balkans was the main topic in the meeting of Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou with Russian deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matvienko, while they also confirmed the very good and close bilateral cooperation.
Mr. Papandreou and Ms. Matvienko discussed the agreements that are in progress in the political, economic and cultural sector and the latest developments in Afghanistan as well as, ways to combat international terrorism in view of Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Athens.
Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou stressed that the two countries will focus on the efforts to strengthen economic cooperation in the Balkan region, mainly in the energy sector. He characterized bilateral relations as excellent and referred to the regular contacts he has with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov and to the very close cooperation in the political sector, mainly in relation to the developments in the Balkans.
He characterized as very constructive the meeting he had with Ms. Matvienko and expressed the certainty that both her visit to Greece as well as, Russian President Putin's visit to Greece will be successful.
Bilateral relations are excellent and honest and in the past year they reached their best possible level after the visits to Russia by President Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Simitis and the regular contacts between the two Foreign Ministers, stated Ms. Matvienko.
She added that Mr. Putin's visit to Greece will give an important boost to cooperation in every direction especially, in the trade, energy and investment sector. The Russian official also expressed the belief that the good Greek-Russian relations will have a positive effect at a bilateral and an international level. Referring to the Balkans, she underlined that Greece and Russia share the same positions and this way they have the opportunity to exert their influence for the solution of the big problems in the region.
Greece and Russia play an important role in the Balkans and they join efforts to find solutions, stated Ms. Matvienko, adding that bilateral cooperation in the sector of energy can be expanded to the region.
 KARAMANLIS-MILLER MEETINGAthens, 20 November 2001 (15:39 UTC+2)
Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis had a one-hour meeting with US ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller at the party's central offices today.
During the meeting, they discussed the crucial developments in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Mr. Miller said to reporters that New Democracy is a responsible political party with responsible positions. He also stated that the goal of his visits is not just to discuss the US polices but to listen to the views of his interlocutors, while he characterized as interesting the views expressed by the New Democracy leader.
 ETE-ALPHA BANK: AFTER THE MARRIAGE CAME THE CHRISTENINGAthens, 20 November 2001 (15:31 UTC+2)
After the marriage came the christening. The new bank that was created through the merger of the National Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank will be named National Bank of Greece SA and will keep the Alpha Bank emblem, according to an announcement made in Athens today in a joint press conference by National Bank of Greece governor Theodoros Karatzas and Alpha Bank governor Yiannis Kostopoulos.
They also stated that the stock exchange relation between the two banks will be 7 to 9 namely, one National Bank of Greece stock to 1.58 Alpha Bank stocks. In the share capital of the unified bank, the National Bank of Greece will own 61.3% and Alpha Bank the rest 38.7%.
 THE BROADENING AT THE EU GENERAL AFFAIRS' COUNCILBrussels, 20 November 2001 (11:08 UTC+2)
The broadening of Europe, developments in Afghanistan and in the Balkans, were discussed at the council of General Affairs in Brussels, in which, Minister of Foreign Affairs Giorgos Papandreou and his Substitute Tassos Giannitsis, participated on the Greek side.
The Greek delegation was once more assured that Cyprus is ahead of all other candidate countries, and that the resolving of the political problem is not a prerequisite for accession.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Papandreou saw the upcoming Denktash-Kliridis meeting in early September in the auspices of the UN, as positive.
All this will be evaluated in the course of matters according to the results and effectiveness, he stressed.