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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-11-29
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 EXTRADITION OF PASSARIS DOUBTFULBucharest, 29 November 2001 (13:01 UTC+2)
The infamous Kostas Passaris is accused of committing another two murders in Romania, apart from the ones at the currency exchange booth.
In the meantime, Romanian District Attorneys decided that Passaris should undergo psychiatric evaluation, in order to assess whether he had a clear mind at the time of the robbery. In any case, during his interrogation he did not admit to the murders he is accused of committing. He also asked to see what proof the police had against him.
According to information, the Romanian police discovered another apartment in Bucharest which Passaris rented for three months. Bloodstained clothes were found there, clothes, which are thought to have been worn by the criminal when committing the murders in Bucharest, and a weapon, which is being examined in order to see if it is connected to the crime.
The DA authorities in Romania will continue their investigation concerning Passaris, and according to police authorities, his extradition is possible after the Romanian authorities complete their work.
It should be noted that Minister of Justice Filippos Petsalnikos started the extradition procedures , but according to the agreement signed by the two countries in 1957, Bucharest can deny extradition of a person who has committed a crime on Romanian soil.
 SAMOS IN STATE OF EMERGENCYSamos, 29 November 2001 (12:58 UTC+2)
The island of Samos has been in a state of emergency since the early morning hours, due to the harsh weather conditions and heavy rain.
The Fire Department has received dozens of calls, while more than 25 houses and shops have been flooded. The damage is enormous, caused by overflowing streams, which swept many cars down to sea.
Power and telephones have been disconnected , and after the Prefecture's decision, Samos schools will remain shut.
A C-130 military helicopter left Athens this morning with 50 firemen to offer assistance. An armored-vehicle transport will leave Salamina with 15 fire trucks and men, and will be in Samos late at night. All flights of Olympic Airways to Samos have been cancelled, while EMAK forces (Special Unit for Disaster Confrontation) are already there.
 GREEK SUPPORT TO THE BULGARIAN REQUEST FOR EU AND NATO ACCESSIONAthens, 29 November 2001 (18:29 UTC+2)
Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou in the meeting he had in Athens today with his Bulgarian counterpart Solomon Passy, expressed Greece's support to the efforts made by Bulgaria to promote its interests in the European Union and NATO. Mr. Passy, who is visiting Greece for the first time, had met earlier with President Kostis Stephanopoulos.
In the meeting of Mr. Papandreou with Mr. Passy, it was underlined that bilateral relations are at an excellent level, while an emphasis was given to the settlement of the pending technical issues for the promotion of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline construction, the facilitation offered at the ports of Thessaloniki and Alexandroupolis and the operation of the new border crossings.
Mr. Papandreou stated that Greece's friendship with Bulgaria is honest and traditional and Bulgaria can always count on the fact that Greece has the political will to contribute to the promotion of Bulgaria's interests in the European Union and NATO.
Mr. Passy thanked Greece for the support it offers to his country's efforts aimed at becoming a member of the European Union and NATO.
 GREEK FARMERS DISSATISFIED WITH THE EU DECISIONSAthens, 29 November 2001 (18:16 UTC+2)
The Greek farmers protest against the Greek government proposals on the cotton production volume and its price per kilo, approved by the European Commission in Brussels yesterday.
The representatives of the Greek farm unions, who met today in Karditsa, central Greece decided that starting next Monday they will bring their tractors to the city squares and streets, while they did not rule out the likelihood of blockades.
The farmers believe that their interests are being hurt as the guaranteed cotton price will be lowered.
Meanwhile, the Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas stated that the cotton EU decision is final and will not change, adding that it is a decision that satisfies the Greek positions.
 DISCUSSION IN PARLIAMENT ON THE DEKA CASEAthens, 29 November 2001 (17:49 UTC+2)
The discussion in parliament, on the proposal by right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy for the establishment of an inquiry committee to examine the Athens Stock Exchange activities of the public company DEKA during the pre-election period, was intense.
New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis accused the government of trying to steer the stock market, stating that the Ministry of Finance bears responsibility, while he stated that an inquiry should be held to determine if government ministers are responsible. He called on the Prime Minister to prove that he is not hiding behind a state of impunity.
Minister of Defense and former Minister of Finance Yiannos Papantoniou accused New Democracy of trying to hurt the stock market to earn political profits.
The Communist Party and the Coalition of the Left party called for institutional changes in the operation of the stock exchange and announced that they will vote in favor of the inquiry committee.
 MARGINAL LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 29 November 2001 (17:35 UTC+2)
Marginal losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.02% at 2.698,61 points, while the volume of transactions was at 172.9 million Euro or 58.9 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, 235 had gains and 95 recorded losses, while the value of 35 stocks remained unchanged.
 PASARIS WAS QUESTIONED BY TWO GREEK POLICE OFFICERSThessaloniki, 29 November 2001 (17:28 UTC+2)
Notorious Greek criminal Kostas Pasaris, who was arrested by the Romanian police last Tuesday night, was questioned by two senior Greek police officers, while his interrogation by the Romanian police continues on the robbery and double murder he committed in a currency exchange office in Bucharest.
He told the Greek officers that he likes killing, mainly police officers in uniform, saying that those who have a gun are ready to kill or get killed. He also said that he does not intend to return to Greece and stated that he wants to be jailed in Romanian prisons from where he said that he will escape in one to one and a half year.
On the charges he faces in Greece, he said that he will not reveal his associates and added that he got the gun he used to kill two police officers on his way to the Athens General Hospital where the killing took place.
Regarding the four murders he is accused of in Greece, he said that he will not talk about them nor he will admit that he has committed them, while when he was asked about the robberies he is accused of, he said that he does not remember which ones or how many there were, adding that everything he did was done for fun.
Meanwhile, his Romanian girlfriend, with whom he stayed in Bucharest, was also arrested and in her testimony she said that she met Pasaris at a Bucharest night-club. She also said that on the night of the robbery they had gone out and he forced her to enter the currency exchange office threatening to kill her if she refused to do so.
 THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE WILL ATTEND THE 1ST GREEK-DUTCH CONFERENCEThessaloniki, 29 November 2001 (17:19 UTC+2)
The 1st Greek-Dutch Agriculture Conference, that will be held in Thessaloniki on December 6-7 organized by the Association of Industries in Northern Greece in cooperation with the Royal Dutch Embassy, aims at forming a concrete proposal for the development of the Greek agriculture by the year 2010.
Minister of Agriculture Giorgos Dris is expected to attend the conference and will present the goals of the government for the Greek agriculture until the year 2010.
The conference will contribute to the effort aimed at strengthening the competitiveness of the Greek agriculture and its smooth adjustment to the international developments and challenges of the globalized market.
Distinguished personalities from both countries representing the academic and the public administration sectors, in cooperation with Greek businessmen active in the farm sector, will cover a wide spectrum of issues that will be discussed within the framework of the conference.
 SIMITIS-DIAMANTOPOULOU MEETINGAthens, 29 November 2001 (13:15 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Kostas Simitis will meet EU Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou today at 2pm, at the Maximus Mansion.
This afternoon the Prime Minister will preside over a broad ministerial meeting, mainly occupied with the preparations for the meeting with the Belgian Prime Minister this Saturday, and the Summit Meeting of the European Union.
 G. PAPANDREOU MEETS BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTERAthens, 29 November 2001 (13:07 UTC+2)
Minister of Foreign Affiars Giorgos Papandreou, will meet with his Bulgarian counterpart, Solomon Passy, today. The two Ministers will make statements to the press after their meeting.
 PATRA-"ATHENS 2004" COOPERATION MEMORANDUMPatra, 29 November 2001 (13:07 UTC+2)
A memorandum of cooperation was signed this morning in the renovated Patra City Hall, between the President of the Olympic Organizational Committee Athens 2004, Gianna Aggelopoulou-Daskalaki, District Chief Nikos Belivanis, Achaia Prefect Stathis Seretis, and the Mayor of the Patra, Evaggelos Floratos.
The memorandum concerns the responsibilities of each body on issues related with supporting the 2004 Olympics.
 GREECE LESS EQUAL IN THE EU?Athens, 29 November 2001 (13:06 UTC+2)
The issue of turkey's demands as far as the Euroarmy is concerned was raised to the Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affiars by 20 New Democracy MPs.
The MPs refer to reliable sources, journalistic and others, according to which, an agreement was reached on 26/11/2001 in Istanbul, between the US and British governments on one hand, and the Turkish government on the other, regarding Turkey's participation in the defensive organization of Europe.
According to the same information, this agreement essentially means that:
Firstly, the European Union will not interfere in case of any conflict between the two NATO member countries (Greece-Turkey).
Secondly, Turkey will essentially be able to veto any action of the Euroarmy in the broader region (Aegean-Cyprus) if such an action is supported by NATO means and facilities, they underlined.
The result of this agreement is that Greece, a full and equal member of the European Union, is excepted and not covered by Europe's defensive organization, so that Turkey's demands may be satisfied, while Greece is the only country in the European Union with a high security problem, specifically due to Turkish threats against it.
Greece is excepted from the Defense of Europe, while it has committed approximately 6,000 troops to the European Army.
This agreement will be ratified by the European Council which will convene in Belgium on the 14th of this coming December, they stressed.
The N.D. MPs asked the Minister of foreign Affairs:
Firstly, why did he stand by for 12 months and allow this development to take place, which is in fact in violation of the principles set by the European Council in Nice, and which leads Greece to virtual exclusion from the European Union's defensive organization?
Secondly, did the delegates of the US and British Governments act on behalf of their governments in these negotiations, or as representatives of NATO and the EU correspondingly?
If the former is the case, does this agreement bind NATO and the EU? If the latter is the case had the Greek government agreed to give that kind of authority to those representatives?
Was the Greek Government kept up to date by NATO and the EU on these long lasting negotiations?
Thirdly, what does the Greek government plan to do to revert, even at the last minute, this unfavorable development for the safety of Greece and Cyprus?
If Turkey, a non-full country member of the EU can essentially veto Europe's defense, then why does not Greece, a full and equal member, have that same right?
 THE BRITISH PLANE-SPOTTERS' CASE WAS DISCUSSED IN EURO-PARLIAMENTBrussels, 29 November 2001 (18:00 UTC+2)
The assurance that all juridical provisions will be observed by the Greek justice, was given by Greek governing Socialist Party of PASOK Euro-deputy Yiannis Souladakis to his colleagues in the European Parliament during a discussion on the issue of the 12 British nationals, who are held in the Kalamata Prison waiting to be established if they were watching illegally the activities in Greek military airports.
British Socialist Euro-deputy Richard Howitt called on the European Parliament to make a demarche to the Greek government on the issue, underlining that the British are being held in Greek prisons for the past three weeks without a trial and characterized the situation as an "urgent humanitarian need which make the intervention necessary".
European Parliament President Nicole Fontaine stated that she is aware of the case and that the European Parliament has already asked for more clarifying information, adding that if it is deemed necessary she will be ready to make a personal intervention.
Mr. Souladakis stated that the Greek authorities had warned the British nationals before their arrest, and while they were watching other Greek airports, that such an activity is regarded as suspicious. He also said that according to Greek press reports, in their luggage were found equipment used to monitor the activities of warplanes and military airports.