|Wednesday, 25 November 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 02-03-15
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 SUMMIT MEETING WORKS BEGINBarcelona, 15 March 2002 (14:52 UTC+2)
The works of the Spring Barcelona Council are starting today, on: Employment economic reform and social cohesion for a innovative and knowledgeable Europe
The dinner of the 15, where Prime Minister Simitis will present the Greek positions on the euroarmy issue, despite the fact that the Presidency has kept the text the US, the UK and Turkey decided on in Ankara although it was made outside any institutional framework, is awaited for with great expectancy.
Speaking to journalists on Thursday night, the Prime Minister stressed that the Euroarmy should not be characterized as a Greek-Turkish issue, but as one concerning the relations of European Union member-states to NATO members that are not members of the EU. He also added that on March 22, Ambassador An. Skopelitis will examine the issue with officials of the Spanish Presidency.
In the meanwhile, the works of the first Social Summit Meeting were completed with the recording of the social partners disagreement. Participants included representatives of the Spanish Presidency, the European Committee, the social partners and Prime Ministers of the social troika (Greece, Denmark, Spain).
The points of open dispute between employers and employees concerned the opening of the work market and structural changes in public benefit organizations.
 WORKS FOR GREEK-TURKISH GAS PIPELINEAthens, 15 March 2002 (13:27 UTC+2)
Works for the construction of a Greek-Turkish natural gas pipeline, are moving at a rapid pace, according to the Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister, Zeki Chakan.
In the framework of the pipeline network programme for the connection of Europe to the Caspian Sea through Greece, Italy and Turkey, the Greek Public Gas Company (DEPA) and the Turkish BOTAS are carrying out financial-technological studies in the connection between the two countries, as is mentioned in a written statement published by Mr. Chakan, before departing for Italy, in order to participate in the Southeastern Europe Energy Forum.
Upon completion of the studies, according to today's publication of the Imerisia' newspaper, an agreement is expected to be signed between the two countries, and the first works should begin six months after that, according to the announcement made by the Turkish Minister.
As far as electricity is concerned, according to the publication, Mr. Chakan pointed out that the studies on the connection of Turkey to Union for the Coordination of Electricity Transfer (UCTE) through Greece and the Balkans, had positive results, and he added that works are continuing for the installment of a 400kw electricity transfer line between Greece and Turkey.
Analysts appreciate that the memorandum of cooperation signed between DEPA and the corresponding Iranian company, NIOC, on Thursday, which foresees the exploration of prospects between DEPA and NIOC for the completion of a natural gas transfer pipeline network from Iran to Greece, may give a new boost to connection works between Greece and Turkey.
It should be noted that the pipeline between Turkey and Iran that started functioning last December, going as far as Ankara, could be extended by 650km, all the way to the Greek borders, according to estimations from the same sources.
 MARGINAL LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 15 March 2002 (17:35 UTC+2)
Marginal losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.08% at 2.384,22 points, while the volume of transactions was at 77 million Euro.
Of the stocks trading today, 145 recorded gains and 141 had losses, while 88 stocks remained unchanged.
 CONFERENCE IN ATHENS ON THE EU ENLARGEMENTAthens, 15 March 2002 (17:34 UTC+2)
A conference on the enlargement of the European Union will be held in Athens on May 21 at the initiative of the European Committee, within the framework of the information campaign on the EU enlargement.
The conference proceedings will be opened by deputy Foreign Minister Tasos Yiannitsis, right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy deputy Ms. Dora Bakoyiannis, responsible for Foreign Affairs and Defense issues, and Spain's ambassador Eduardo Junko.
Among the conference participants will be members of the Greek government and Parliament as well as, members of the European Parliament, representatives of social and economic partners, non-governmental organizations, university professors, political personalities and senior officials from EU member-states and EU candidate-states.
 OFFERS FOR THE GREEK POSTAL SERVICEAthens, 15 March 2002 (17:31 UTC+2)
The binding offers of those interested in taking over the position of the strategic ally of the Greek Postal Service will be placed within the day.
For the record, binding offers have been placed by the Postal Services of France and Holland that claim 10% of the Greek Postal Service and 50% of its Courier Service subsidiary.
Press reports mention that the French Postal Service is expected to present new allies for the specific buyout.
 PRESIDENT KHATAMI COMPLETED HIS VISIT TO GREECEAthens, 15 March 2002 (17:28 UTC+2)
Iranian President Khatami completed his visit to Greece with the meetings he had with delegations of Greek political parties and Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece.
This morning, he met with a right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy delegation headed by Tzanis Tzanetakis. He also met with Communist Party general secretary Aleka Papariga and Coalition of the Left President Nikos Konstantopoulos.
Mr. Tzanetakis characterized President Khatami as a wise man, who views the international problems in a temperate manner. Ms. Papariga stated that she stressed to the Iranian President the need for an intervention by peoples and governments to avert any US military campaign against Iraq. The Coalition of the Left President stressed that Greece can be the strategic partner and friend of Iran in its relations with the European Union and Iran can be the country that can contribute in a creative manner in the development of Greek interest investment activities.
The Iranian President also met with Archbishop Christodoulos and referred to the US threats on the use of nuclear weapons. He stated characteristically that the forces threatening other peoples with nuclear weapons apparently are not aware of the fact that they do not threaten only the specific peoples they are targeting but humanity as a whole. He said that in such a case no people will be safe not even the people whose government threatens other peoples with the use of nuclear weapons.
From his side, Archbishop Christodoulos pointed out the significance of dialogue between religions and cultures and stated characteristically that the Israelis should find the power in the Bible and in the words of the prophets to fight for peace in a way prescribed by God.
 KHATAMI COMPLETES VISIT TO ATHENSAthens, 15 March 2002 (12:29 UTC+2)
Iranian President Seyed Mohammad Khatami will have consecutive meetings this morning, the third and final day of his official visit to Athens, with the representative of the Opposition, Dimitris Sioufas, the Secretary General of the Greek Communist Party, Aleka Papariga, and the President of the Coalition of the Left, Nikos Konstantopoulos.
At 22:40, he will meet with the Archbishop of Athens and all of Greece, Mr. Christodoulos, thus completing his visit to Athens.
 AUSTRIA PAYS TO NAZI OCCUPATION VICTIMSAthens, 15 March 2002 (12:26 UTC+2)
The Austrian Reconciliation Fund and Austrian Ambassador Richard Votava paid damages to five Greeks who were forced to work in factories in Austria during the nazi occupation. The money was paid during a special ceremony at the Austrian Embassy in Athens.
Christos Vlassis, Konstantinos Roubakostas, Panagiotis Grivas, Giorgos Charalambidis and Yolanda Terentsio, each received 2,543 euro.
Mr. Polizer underlined that the goal of the event was to prompt Greeks who were forced into labor to submit the relevant applications to the Fund, so that they may compensated.
200 applications have been submitted so far, while it is estimated that there are about 1000 to 2000 more. The deadline to submit applications is November 27 2002, while the compensation can also be received by the heirs of those who died after February 15, 2000.
 THE SOCIAL SECURITY ISSUE AT THE CENTER OF THE TALKS IN BARCELONABarcelona, 15 March 2002 (18:27 UTC+2)
The social security system reforms were at the center of the talks in the Barcelona EU Summit meeting. The 15 stressed that the social security reform is a main precondition for the EU development and social cohesion.
Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis in his intervention called for the adoption of a more temperate policy on the social security issue and expressed optimism that social dialogue in Greece will lead to the right decisions. From his side, Minister of Finance Nikos Christodoulakis pointed out that a country and an economy characterized by pension insecurity and lack of viability for the social security system are not attractive not even for their own citizens, nor the investors, businesses and workers.
The European leaders also made an assessment of the EU course from the Lisbon Summit meeting until today and discussed issues concerning the EU enlargement and the energy market liberalization. The 15 reached the conclusion that the European countries have adjusted well to the Euro but they are unable to deal with international recession as effectively as the United States.
At noon, the 15 held talks with the 13 leaders of the EU candidate-states and afterwards, attended a formal luncheon given in their honor by the King of Spain.
On the sidelines of the Barcelona Summit meeting, Cypriot Republic President Glafkos Clerides had meetings with Prime Minister Kostas Simitis and right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis, while later he had a short meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit.
In the dinner of the 15 this evening, Prime Minister Simitis is expected to present the Greek position on the EU joint foreign policy and the policy on defense and the developments in the Middle East.
In statements already made by the Greek Prime Minister on the issue of the Middle East, it was stressed that hostilities should end immediately and plans must be considered that could lead to the easing of the tension. He stated that if the situation continues unchanged it will not benefit anybody and especially, the Israelis who believe that this is the way to solve the problem. Mr. Simitis stressed that the problem will be led to a complete deadlock if the policies followed are not changed.
 KARAMANLIS AT THE EPP WORKSBarcelona, 15 March 2002 (12:29 UTC+2)
The topics of the informal Summit Meeting, which is to begin its works today, are at the epicenter of the European People's Party leaders' meeting in Barcelona.
On his way to the EPP session, New Democracy President Kostas Karamanlis, noted that his agenda includes the progress of structural changes and, more specifically, the liberation of energy and communications markets, in order to facilitate competitiveness in Europe and confront unemployment.
These issues are of special interest to Greece, pointed out Mr. Karamanlis, "with the highest unemployment rate and far from true convergence, since living standards are at 70% of the community's average". In fact, he added, Europe must take greater steps towards unification, and the formation and functioning of the Meeting will give this Europe in that direction.
 ACCESS TO WOUNDED IN MIDDLE EASTJerusalem, 15 March 2002 (12:30 UTC+2)
The "Doctors without Borders" are asking for access to victims of the conflicts in the Middle East, in order to provide medical assistance. Since the beginning of March , the "Doctors Without Borders" volunteers that are in the Gaza Strip, daily witness escalating violence between the two sides in the Middle East, with hundreds of victims, many of which are women and children.
Attacks on medical personnel - with doctors, hospital staff and volunteers falling victim - in the occupied autonomous Palestinian territories by Israeli forces, hinder or make "Doctors Without Borders" volunteers access to conflict casualties, completely impossible.
"When Gaza is bombed, it is literally broken into 3 or 4 pieces, making it impossible for people to move. And of course these people have no access to medical care", said Maria Skoula, head of the Greek "Doctors Without Borders" mission to the Gaza Strip.
The ambulance operated by Greek volunteers, with the support of local NGO UPMRC, has come under Israeli fire twice, in attempts to reach remote populations in need of immediate medical assistance. The result was the injury of the group's driver, S. Walid.
As a humanitarian group, the Greek "Doctors Without Borders" are asking for this cycle of violence, resulting in more victims and irreparably striking peoples' lives, to end. Based on the principle that the right to health is inalienable, "Doctors Without Borders" ask for free access to victims, as is ensured by international treaties.