|Saturday, 24 August 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-01-21
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 PAPANDREOU MET WITH BLIX-BARADEIAthens, 21 January 2003 (12:38 UTC+2)
Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou met with the Head of the UN Inspectors in Iraq Mr. Hans Blix and the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohammed El Baradei in Athens yesterday.
Hans Blix stressed that the Iraqis must convince the world that they are not hiding chemical and biological weapons, and he added that evidence so far is not adequate to close the file. What we are saying is that there is not enough evidence to tell the Council that we can close the file. We are not saying that Iraq does not have weapons of mass destruction, but we are not sure it does, he added.
In fact, on his way to the meeting, Mr. Blix mentioned that there has been some progress in practical matters, but there are still pending issues on the side of the Iraqis. As he mentioned, issues concerning weapons of mass destruction that were raised in the past have not been discussed with the Iraqis. He also stressed that the terms set by the Iraqis concerning the flight of U2 spy planes are unacceptable to the inspectors.
Mr. Baradei underlined that it must be proven that no nuclear weapons were developed in Iraq in the last four years. We still believe that a war can be avoided, if we give reliable evidence to the Council that Iraq has been disarmed, he added.
Mr. Papandreou pointed out that the EU supports the work of the UN inspectors and appeared optimistic, in response to a journalist's question on whether a war can be avoided. The EU has every reason to play a constructive role in the region's crisis. A constructive role in the effort to really apply the decisions of the UN, complete cooperation of Iraq with the UN in applying decisions, and in general the non proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, he noted.
 METROPOLITES VICTIMS OF N17 BLACKMAILERSAthens, 21 January 2003 (13:28 UTC+2)
New evidence concerning the blackmail case in the name of the November 17 terrorist organization has come to light concerning alleged victims. New victims of the blackmailers include four metropolites of the Greek Church who will be called to DA Dimitris Papaggelopoulos to testify within the next few days.
According to information, the blackmailers succeeded in eliciting large amounts of money from the metropolites, threatening them with the publication of clearly personal matters.
The investigation of the blackmail case is proceeding at a rapid pace, and businessman and President of the Medical Center Giorgos Apostopoulos testified yesterday, while in statements to the press he said that he was never a victim of blackmail. Within the next few days Marianna Latsi, daughter of shipowner Giannis Latsis, and Gianna Aggelopoulou, head of the Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee, will also be called to testify. Others to testify include publisher and journalist Gr. Michalopoulos and businessman Argyris Saliarelis, who sparked the investigations in the blackmail case.
 CONFRONTATION ON PUBLIC WORKSPatra, 21 January 2003 (13:11 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Kostas Simitis launched a full frontal attack against New Democracy on the issue of major public works yesterday from Patra.
Reacting to what he called an atmosphere of scandals that ND is trying to create concerning major works, he accused the main opposition party of mudslinging and efforts to mar the truth.
"This mud slinging attack finds no acceptance among Greek citizens", stated the Prime Minister characteristically, during his visit to the Control Center for the broader Patra detour. "Because the citizens now know the works. Because they see that the works that are being used are functional and of good quality. They are in accordance to the European Union's specifications and regulations, and fully secure public interest".
"This is the undisputable reality that ND wants to mar", stressed Mr. Simitis. "Because it knows that in the next few months many major works will be completed and delivered to use, and because it can no longer question their existence, it aims at creating an image of works of supposed bad quality carried out in a way that does not secure the public's best interest." He ended by saying that thanks to everyone's efforts, Greece is one large worksite from one side of the country to the other, and that Greece of 2004 will be very different from Greece of 1994 and Greece of 2000.
The latest events in public life concerning businessman blackmails and developments in football clubs were the causes of ND President Kostas Karamanlis' attack on the government.
Once again, the main points of Mr. Karamanlis' criticisms were shady deals and financial interest in the government and the "regime of impunity" which breeds "corruption" and "irresponsibility" in the state.
The Head of the Opposition spoke at an event of the Women's Secretariat last night, and even launched a personal attack against the Prime Minister, accusing him of "aiming at polarizing the public". He stressed that "ND's confrontation with shady deals, corruption and impunity was and is head on", and he underlined that his party would move to "the reinstitution of the state" through a "programme of change and reform" which is being formed and aims at "a state of increased potential next to, not opposite from, a comrade to note a dynast of, the citizen".
 LOOKING FOR ALLIES FOR THE MARBLESBrussels, 21 January 2003 (12:05 UTC+2)
Minister of Culture Evaggelos Venizelos asked for the support of the European Parliament in the efforts for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to the Athens Acropolis, while presenting the priorities of the Greek Presidency on culture and the candidacy of Patra as the cultural capital of Europe for 2006, in Brussels yesterday. On the Cultural Capital, the Prime Minister, who was in Patra, stated that the dossier still has some blanks.
 ACTING GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE BLACKMAIL ISSUEAthens, 21 January 2003 (18:52 UTC+2)
The blackmail issue is in the hands of the Greek Justice and the government expresses the wish that light will be shed on the case, stated acting government spokesman Tilemachos Hitiris.
He made the statement in response to a relevant question concerning the blackmailing of Greek businessmen, adding that the government does not interfere in the work of justice.
 JOINT FRANCO-GERMAN STATEMENT IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 21 January 2003 (18:28 UTC+2)
Tomorrow's 40th anniversary of the signing of the Elysee Treaty is a new step in the Franco-German cooperation, according to a joint statement issued by the Consul Generals of France and Germany in Thessaloniki.
In the statement it is mentioned that the Franco-German friendship and the Elysee Treaty can become a model for SE Europe where difficulties stemming mainly from WWII and older historical events have not been overcome completely.
German Consul General Ernst-Joachim Doring and French Consul General Roland Blatmann stated that the two consulates, the Goethe Institute and the Institute Francais in Thessaloniki, as well as the Commerce and Industry Chambers will organize joint events and activities during 2003.
The Elysee Treaty was signed in 1963 by France and the Federal Republic of Germany to seal the reconciliation and cooperation between the two peoples.
 SMALL GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 21 January 2003 (17:32 UTC+2)
Small gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.27% at 1.672,14 points, while the volume of transactions was at 75.3 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 129 recorded gains and 155 had losses, while the value of 97 stocks remained unchanged.
 GREEK SUPPORT TO ROMANIA'S EU COURSEAthens, 21 January 2003 (17:24 UTC+2)
Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis assured his Romanian counterpart Adrian Nastaze, in a meeting they had in Athens today, that negotiations between the EU and Romania would accelerate.
The Greek EU Presidency will seek the acceleration of the EU-Romania negotiations, said Mr. Simitis. He stressed that the goal is to move ahead with the discussion of the already scheduled chapters and at the same time, create the necessary conditions for negotiations to end as soon as possible. This way, Romania will have enough time to adjust to the European standards for the final decisions to be made in 2007 as it was agreed.
Mr. Simitis clarified that those moves are placed within the framework of the efforts of the Greek government for Romania and Bulgaria to have an effective support to their EU accession efforts.
In the Simitis-Nastaze meeting were considered bilateral cooperation issues in the sectors of investments, immigration and labor relations, concerning the Romanians living in Greece. Also, a special reference was made to the implementation of the support program for the Balkan states on the occasion of the ratification on January 8 of part of the program concerning Romania.
 NASTAZE: WE COUNT ON GREECEAthens, 21 January 2003 (17:23 UTC+2)
Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastaze stated that his visit to Athens offered an opportunity for talks with members of the Greek cabinet and Prime Minister Kostas Simitis as Romania invests a lot on the support of Greece, which currently holds the EU rotating Presidency.
The Romanian Prime Minister stressed the need for the negotiations to be completed by 2004, as the EU membership of 10 more states will change the scene.
 THE ARCHBISHOP ON THE BLACKMAILS OF HIERARCHSAthens, 21 January 2003 (17:21 UTC+2)
Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All of Greece referred to information according to which, four Metropolites were blackmailed by publishers or journalists either under the threat of terrorist group 17 November or in order to avoid to face revelations concerning their private life.
Archbishop Christodoulos stated that neither the Holy Synod nor himself know anything about the issue. He stressed that the Holy Synod would have known if certain Metropolites have been subpoenaed to testify on the case.
 THE GREEK PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT MET WITH THE ROMANIAN PRIME MINISTERAthens, 21 January 2003 (16:58 UTC+2)
Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis in his meeting with visiting Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastaze expressed his strong concern for the likely war operations in Iraq and the Middle East that will have a negative effect on the SE European countries and the world and European economy.
Mr. Kaklamanis stated that Greece and Romania share stable friendly relations and enjoy creative and productive cooperation at different levels, adding that they can become a model of cooperation for all Balkan states contributing to the security, stability and development of the SE European region.
He expressed satisfaction for the Copenhagen Summit meeting decision concerning Romania's accession into the EU and assured the Romanian Prime Minister of Greece's firm support to Romania's efforts to become part of the Euro-Atlantic structures.
Mr. Kaklamanis raised a number of issues concerning the Greek community in Romania (return of the churches and their real estate), while he also referred to the Greek businesses active in the country. The Romanian Prime Minister's response to those issues was positive.
Mr. Nastaze thanked Mr. Kaklamanis for the assistance of the Greek government and Parliament to the efforts of Romania to become a NATO member and for the assistance offered to the Romanian economy through investments. Mr. Nastaze invited Mr. Kaklamanis to visit Bucharest and he accepted the invitation.
 CEREMONY COMMEMORATING THE HOLOCAUST VICTIMSThessaloniki, 21 January 2003 (16:45 UTC+2)
The German Consul General will honor the memory of about 50.000 Jews from Thessaloniki, who were taken to the Nazi concentration camps in Auschwitz and Birkenau during WWII. Only 1.600 of them survived.
A special ceremony will take place on Sunday on the occasion of the Jewish Holocaust anniversary. The German Consul General will lay a wreath at the monument built in Thessaloniki in memory of the Jews killed in WWII concentration camps.