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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-01-27
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 THE CONCLUSIONS OF THE EU COUNCIL OF MINISTERS MEETINGBrussels, 27 January 2003 (15:31 UTC+2)
The EU Council of Ministers that met in Brussels today reached the following conclusions:
The Council, deeply concerned about the situation in Iraq, reaffirms that its goal remains the effective and complete disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. The Council fully supports the efforts of the UN to ensure full and immediate compliance by Iraq with all relevant resolutions of the Security Council, in particular with UNSCR 1441 of 8 November 2002. The resolution gives an unambiguous message that the Iraqi Government has a final opportunity to resolve the crisis peacefully.
The Council therefore urges the Iraqi authorities to engage in full and active cooperation with UNMOVIC and IAEA. The Iraqi authorities must, as an imperative, provide the inspectors, without delay, with all additional and complete information on questions raised by the international community. The Council expresses its appreciation for the work accomplished by the inspectors so far and reiterates its confidence and full support for Dr. Blix and Dr. El Baradei to complete their mission in accordance with UNSCR 1441. It welcomes their intention to continue and intensify their operations.
The Council recalls that it stands ready to engage all necessary efforts to answer the needs of UNMOVIC and IAEA in personnel and practical means.
The Council underlines the fundamental importance of preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in accordance with the relevant international instruments. The Security Council has a key role to play in these endeavours.
The Council reaffirms the role of the UNSC in the implementation of UNSCR 1441. The responsibility of the UNSC in maintaining international peace and security must be respected
 NEW TESTIMONIES ON THE BLACKMAIL CASEAthens, 27 January 2003 (10:27 UTC+2)
At least four people, allegedly victims of blackmail, are expected to testify before prosecutor Dimitris Papangelopoulos in the following days. Among those who will be called to testify are Mrs. Yianna Angelopoulou-Daskalakis, Mrs. Marianna Latsis and stockbrokers in an effort to solve the case.
According to a press report on the Athens newspaper Ethnos, the network of blackmailers acted independently putting its victims in a hostage-like situation, extorting huge amounts of money from them. Among those ready to testify on the blackmail case, are two Metropolites.
Based on the investigation so far, it appears that at least two individuals are involved in the blackmail case, while according to the existing evidence, there is no link between the blackmails and terrorist group 17 November.
 PROTOPAPAS: ANYONE WAITING FOR EARLY ELECTIONS WILL BE DISAPPOINTEDAthens, 27 January 2003 (19:14 UTC+2)
Government Spokesperson Christos Protopapas refused to comment on the statements of PASOK MP Theodoros Pagalos, who had disapproved of recent government decisions and the atmosphere within PASOK.
When asked about the possibility of PASOK falling apart from within, the Government Spokesperson stated that whomever is waiting for PASOK to fall apart is in for very unpleasant surprises. PASOK is directly related to society, it is moving forward, it is taking up initiative and it will win the next elections, that is what we hope for, wish for and work towards.
As far as the possibility of early elections was concerned, Mr. Protopapas repeated that all those waiting for early elections to be declared would be disappointed.
 PAPANTONIOU VISIT TO ALGERIAAthens, 27 January 2003 (18:18 UTC+2)
Developments in the Middle Eastern dialogue and the Mediterranean Dimension of European Defense and Security Policy, the Iraq issue and the position of the EU, the Middle Eastern issue and developments on the international terrorism front, will be the main topics of discussion at the formal meeting of Minister of Defense Giannos Papantoniou in Algeria, tomorrow and the day after.
The Minister will have meetings with the Algerian President Abdelaziz Buteflika, his Algerian counterpart Lieutenant General Mohammed Lamari, as well as the leadership of the Algerian Armed Forces.
During Mr. Papantoniou's meetings with Algerian officials, issues concerning defense-technical cooperation between Greece and Algeria as well as defensive military cooperation between the two countries will be raised.
 KAKLAMANIS MET WITH THE PRESIDENT OF KISOSAthens, 27 January 2003 (15:10 UTC+2)
Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis condemned Ankara's strategy on Cyprus in the meeting he had with KISOS Cypriot party President Yiannakis Omirou to discuss the developments in the Cyprus problem and the imminent presidential elections in Cyprus.
Mr. Kaklamanis stated that Turkey is being self-trapped for as long as it does not cooperate for the solution of the Cyprus problem. Mr. Kaklamanis stated that the strategy followed by Ankara so far, aimed at keeping Cyprus hostage, has failed.
 THE COMMON AGRICULTURAL POLICY ON VIABLE DEVELOPMENTThessaloniki, 27 January 2003 (14:38 UTC+2)
The Greek EU Presidency will back the position according to which, the EU should not operate only as a free trade zone, while based on the Greek position, the operation of a common agricultural policy that will support the development of rural areas is necessary. This stance will be presented in the Council of Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries meeting in Brussels today. The Council meets to examine the European Commission proposals on the Interim Revision of the Common Agricultural Policy, CAP.
According to the Greek position, if CAP breaks up into national agricultural policies it would lead to chaos and injustice, while it is pointed out that the EU should have a single voice when it negotiates on agricultural issues with international organizations, like the World Trade Organization.
It is mentioned that the abolition of CAP would destroy millions of small and medium sized farms, while millions of job positions will be lost bringing the end of the European agricultural model with negative ecological consequences.
Furthermore, most of the European population would be supplied with farm products by the international market or a highly intensive and industrialized agriculture with whatever this would mean for production cost and consumer prices.
 IMF DELEGATION IN ATHENSAthens, 27 January 2003 (13:40 UTC+2)
An International Monetary Fund, IMF, delegation will be in Athens on Thursday for a ten-day visit. The IMF officials will ask for clarifications by Finance Ministry and Bank of Greece officials on a total of 10 sectors.
The delegation will examine issues concerning the social security system, the state budget, public debt, the transparency of fiscal indexes, structural changes, labor relations, privatization, inflation, competitiveness of the economy and the deficit in the balance of payments.
Meanwhile, a European Statistics Agency (Eurostat) delegation will be in Greece by the end of February to decide on the fate of five public sector accounts that are still pending.
 THE GREEK EU PRESIDENCY AGENDAThessaloniki, 27 January 2003 (12:08 UTC+2)
The issue of Iraq will dominate in the EU General Affairs Council meeting that will take place in Brussels today. Its agenda will also include the Middle East issue, the EU-Africa relations, Zimbabwe, North Korea, the EU-Uzbekistan Cooperation Council and the EU-ASEAN Summit. Also, the Greek EU Presidency has called a meeting of the European Troika to take place ahead of the Council meeting with the participation of the Foreign Ministers of the four countries in the UN Security Council (France, Britain, Germany, Spain).
The Council of Ministers of Agriculture and Fisheries meets in Brussels today to examine the European Commission proposals on the Interim Revision of the Common Agriculture Policy.
The OISIN II seminar on the Police Monitoring Operations opens in Athens today, while the meeting on the Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol within the framework of the Climate Group of the Council opens in Nafplio today to last until Wednesday.
In Athens, Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Kostas Simitis will meet with the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe, UNICE, leadership.
On January 29, Mr. Simitis will meet in Athens with the Hungarian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou will give a press conference to the foreign press correspondents.
On January 30, Deputy Foreign Minister Tasos Giannitsis will meet in Athens with the Slovak Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs responsible for European issues.
On January 31, Mr. Simitis will meet in Athens with the leadership of the European Syndicates Confederation, CES. In Ankara, the European Troika will meet with Turkey to discuss the European Commission Evaluation Report on the prospect of the Partnership Relation revision. The issues of human rights, the Cyprus issue and Iraq will be discussed within the Political Dialogue framework. On the sidelines of the meeting, Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou will meet with the Turkish Prime Minister and the AKP party leader.
 GERMAN WREATH TO THE HOLOCAUST MONUMENTThessaloniki, 27 January 2003 (11:31 UTC+2)
German Consul General in Thessaloniki Ernst-Joachim Doring laid a wreath at the Holocaust Monument yesterday on the occasion of the Holocaust Memorial Day. Speaking in the ceremony, he reminded that 60 years ago during the German occupation of Greece a total of 50.000 Thessaloniki Jews were deported to the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau where most of them were killed.
This happened in the name of Germany within the framework of the most horrible crime ever committed in the history of mankind. In order to stop this from happening again, humanity must know what happened, stated Mr. Doring adding that ignorance and indifference lead to prejudice, denial, discrimination and ultimately to violence.
He stressed that in Germany and in many other countries extreme-right and anti-Semitism are on the rise, however, the majority of the Germans got their lesson from history. For the past 50 years, Germany is a country with a stable democracy and a home for over 100.000 Jews, said Mr. Doring.
 LALIOTIS DISAGREES WITH PANGALOS' PESSIMISMAthens, 27 January 2003 (10:53 UTC+2)
Greek governing Socialist Party of PASOK Secretary Kostas Laliotis stated that he understands the skepticism expressed by party parliament deputy Theodoros Pangalos but he does not share his pessimism.
The present conjuncture is difficult for PASOK but it is capable of overturning it achieving a new election victory, stated Mr. Laliotis in an interview with the Athens radio station Flash.
On the position he had expressed according to which, PASOK is against the war in Iraq and its members and officials will participate in the anti-war demonstrations that will take place around the world on February 15 organized by the Stop the War Coalition, he said that he will attend the rally himself.
He pointed out that PASOK will have to express its pro-peace sentiments and sensitivities and that on such issues it has to be steps ahead of the government.
 EU FOREIGN MINISTERS ANNOUNCEMENT ON IRAQBrussels, 27 January 2003 (18:18 UTC+2)
The need for the Iraq problem to be solved in the framework of International Law, was underlined in the announcement of the Council of EU Foreign Ministers, shortly before the publication of the report of the Head of UN inspectors in Iraq, Hans Blix.
The announcement underlined the role of the Security Council in the application of UN resolutions on Iraq, while it asked Iraq to provide a peaceful solution to the crisis, cooperating with the UN inspectors peacefully. At the same time, the intention of the inspectors to continue their work on the Iraqi arsenal so as to ascertain whether it holds any weapons of mass destruction is being viewed positively.
Earlier, Greek Foreign Minister and President of the Council, Giorgos Papandreou, called and emergency informal meeting with EU member states which are also members of the Security Council (Germany, England, France, Italy and Spain), in which the Iraq issue was discussed.
 PAPANDREOU-POWELL ON A EUROPEAN INITIATIVE IN DAVOSDavos, 27 January 2003 (10:11 UTC+2)
US Secretary of State Colin Powell met with Greek Foreign Minister and EU Council of Ministers President Giorgos Papandreou, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Mr. Papandreou also had meetings with Turkish political leaders and other personalities.
Mr. Papandreou stressed that Europe can contribute to one more effort for a peaceful solution to the crisis in Iraq under the precondition that Saddam Hussein will cooperate fully with the United Nations.
Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas stressed in Athens that the Greek EU Presidency through the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister will undertake all necessary initiatives for Europe to have its own single voice and be able to intervene decisively in the developments.