|Friday, 13 December 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-01-31
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 ORIENTATED TO A SOLUTIONNicosia, 31 January 2003 (11:36 UTC+2)
UN representative in Nicosia Alvaro De Soto refuted information that there would be a change in the procedure of the discussions. In Athens, the Prime Minister appeared pessimistic about reaching a solution within the deadline and he pointed out that it is not certain that the changes in the new Annan proposal will be favorable for the Greek side, the support of which was expressed to the Annan proposal by Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou from Ankara. We cannot enter the 21st century with blood and violence, said Tayyip Erdogan.
 THE CIRCLE CLOSES AS IT STARTEDAthens, 31 January 2003 (11:35 UTC+2)
An additional testimony was given to DA D. Papaggelopoulos by businessman Theodoros Aggelospoulos, who was the one who essentially began the round of testimonies in the blackmail under threat of N17 case. The Prime Minister stressed that the case must be cleared up as soon as possible and pointed out that the issue was raised so quickly because the government itself sent evidence it had received to the DA.
 "ESFIGMENOS" CONVENT BLOCKADE CONTINUESKaryes, 31 January 2003 (13:43 UTC+2)
The Esfigmenos convent is going through its third day of being cut off by the police, as zealot monks refuse to leave Mount Athos, while their dispute with the official Church will be taken outside Athos tomorrow, with the organizing of a rally by secular friends of the convent in the city of Ouranoupoli in Chalkidiki.
Approximately 70 police officers, most of whom were called out to Mount Athos in an emergency blockade operation of the convent, have taken positions around it, while there is information that if any of the 95 monks exit the convent, they are to be arrested and deported. It is also the third consecutive day that the convent has been cut off from the sea, as there are coast guard boats patrolling off the convent's harbor. Also, commercial ships will travel from Ouranoupoli to the convent beginning Wednesday and no secular visitors will receive permits to enter.
 SIMITIS MET WITH THE CES PRESIDENTAthens, 31 January 2003 (19:04 UTC+2)
Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Kostas Simitis met today with Confederation of European Syndicates (CES) President, Mr. Fritz Veerzetnitsch and discussed issues concerning the European workers. Mr. Simitis stated that the economic and social policy of the EU is a major priority for the Greek EU Presidency aimed at a high growth rate and more job positions.
Mr. Veerzetnitsch expressed concern regarding the growth rate of the European economy and the increased unemployment. However, he appeared optimistic regarding the results of the Spring European Council which will deal with those issues.
On the issue of Iraq, Mr. Simitis reiterated that everything possible should be done for peace, while the CES President expressed his support to the Greek EU Presidency position in favor of a common European voice on the issue.
In the meeting they also discussed issues concerning immigration and the new EU constitution.
Referring to the move made by the 8 European countries which back the US on the issue of Iraq, Mr. Simitis stated that there was a lack of consultation among the European leaders. Mr. Simitis stressed that the Greek EU Presidency has a duty and an obligation to organize a dialogue and pointed out that in the case of the move made by the 8 there was no consultation and no information.
He stressed that the Greek EU Presidency will not hold a Summit meeting because of that move, adding that this will happen only if crucial decisions need to be reached to deal with developments.
 THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE DECLARATION OF THE "8"Athens, 31 January 2003 (18:12 UTC+2)
Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas referred to the contacts the Prime Minister's diplomatic office director Theodoros Sotiropoulos had with his counterparts from the rest 14 EU member states. The contacts were made at the orders of Prime Minister Kostas Simitis.
Based on those contacts, the nine EU countries that did not participate in the initiative have stated that they back the position of the Greek EU Presidency. The representatives of the 5 (Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Denmark) stated that they back last Monday's EU General Affairs Council decisions, adding that their initiative was an expression of solidarity toward the United States. The representatives of those countries acknowledged that regardless of their intentions a negative issue was created for the EU image and pointed out that all necessary measures should be taken to avoid creating a major rift in the EU.
Mr. Protopapas stated that the stance of the 8 (the five EU members mentioned above and three EU candidate states: the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland) creates a negative picture for the EU. Mr. Protopapas reiterated the Greek EU Presidency position for a common European stance when dealing with a major crisis, like that in Iraq.
The issue will be examined in the meeting the Prime Minister will have tomorrow with the Foreign Minister. They will assess the situation and they will consider new initiatives to be undertaken by the Greek EU Presidency.
 OTE-ROMTELECOM DEALAthens, 31 January 2003 (17:56 UTC+2)
The Greek Telecommunications Organization, OTE, management and the Romanian government signed a 243 million dollar deal for the increase of OTE's participation share in RomTelecom from 35% to 54%.
The OTE owns the majority of the Romanian company stocks and now it is able to promote the plans for its restructuring.
 GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 31 January 2003 (17:36 UTC+2)
Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.75% at 1.683,59 points and the volume of transactions was at 75.1 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 114 recorded gains and 189 had losses, while the value of 75 stocks remained unchanged.
 SIMITIS' ARTICE IN THE "EUROPEAN AFFAIRS" MAGAZINEAthens, 31 January 2003 (17:09 UTC+2)
Greece's vision is a larger European Union enlarged with the 10 new members, closer to the citizens and with a greater role in the international system. A Europe that will be a huge region of stability, democracy and prosperity and also a factor of international cooperation, justice and viable development.
The above were stressed in an article by Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis under the title A bigger Europe should be more effective and democratic. The article appears in the European Affairs magazine published by the European Institute in Washington.
Mr. Simitis outlines the priorities of the Greek EU Presidency and the debates on the new EU Constitution. The priorities among others are: the role of state Parliaments, the reform of the EU Presidency institution and the strengthening of the European policy for security and defense.
 THE EU AGENDA TODAYAthens, 31 January 2003 (16:50 UTC+2)
The EU General Affairs and External Relations Council Policy and Security Committee meets in Brussels today.
The European conference on Equal Pay launched in Athens yesterday will be completed today.
An EU Troika meeting with Turkey is being held in Ankara at a ministers level within the framework of the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council to examine the European Commission Evaluation Report on the partnership relation revision prospect. Human rights issues, the Cyprus issue and Iraq will be examined within the Political Dialogue framework. On the sidelines of the meeting, Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou will meet with the Turkish Prime Minister.
 KARAMANLIS WILL VISIT BRUSSELSAthens, 31 January 2003 (16:44 UTC+2)
Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis will be in Brussels on February 5 to attend the European People's Party meeting.
Mr. Karamanlis is scheduled to meet with European Commissioner Mr. Solbes and ND Euro-deputies.
 SIMITIS' INTERVIEW WITH "EUROMAGAZINE"Athens, 31 January 2003 (16:42 UTC+2)
The Greek EU Presidency backs the solution of problems through diplomatic procedures within the framework of the UN, stated Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis in an interview published on today's issue of Euromagazine.
Mr. Simitis stressed that the EU backs the total and meaningful implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions on Iraq for a solution to be reached to the problem. Responding to the question on whether the Greek EU Presidency will be in effect cancelled in the case of a military operation in Iraq, the Prime Minister stated that developments cannot overturn the program and goals of the EU Presidency.
On Cyprus, he pointed out that the Greek side should be vigilant to avoid any reefs and underlined that Cyprus' EU accession act is not associated with whether a solution will be reached by February 28 or not. He reiterated that if the issue is not resolved northern Cyprus will have to wait and responsible for this will be Ankara and the Turkish Cypriot leadership.
Commenting on the EU enlargement process, Mr. Simitis stated that the request for the opening of negotiations with Turkey will be reexamined in 2004 according to the decision reached in Copenhagen. On Bulgaria and Romania, he pointed out that the goal of the Greek EU Presidency is to achieve progress in order to become EU members in 2007.
Mr. Simitis referred to the goals of the Greek EU Presidency concerning the reforms for improved competitiveness and more job positions. He also referred to the problem of illegal immigration and the promotion of issues concerning the economic and social future of Europe.
 A PROCEDURAL STRIKE TO THE ESSENCEBrussels, 31 January 2003 (11:37 UTC+2)
A serious strike to the efforts of the EU to form a common foreign policy was made by the joint statement of the 8 leaders of European countries siding with the US. Prime Minister Simitis expressed his dissatisfaction with the procedures followed, while the European Commission distanced itself from the essence of the announcement. His steadfast support to decision of the 15 EU Foreign Ministers, was expressed by Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder. S. Berlusconi was in Washington yesterday, followed by Tony Blair today, to discuss the war that the majority of the European Parliament is against.
 PAPANDREOU CONTACTS IN ANKARAAnkara, 31 January 2003 (13:44 UTC+2)
Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou met with Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, Turkish President Ahmet Necedt Sezer and Turkey's powerful man Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the framework of his visit to the neighboring country, which began yesterday.
As far as the Cyprus issue is concerned, Mr. Gul and Mr. Erdogan repeated that they are willing to contribute to the promotion of a solution in every way possible.
Mr. Papandreou expressed the readiness of the Greek side to begin a dialogue between Turkey and Greece on security issues foreseen in the Annan proposal, however the Turkish side stressed that it is not ready for something like that.
In his meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Yasar Yakis, Mr. Papandreou raised the issue of the continuing Turkish violations of Greek air space but received no answer.
As far as Iraq is concerned, Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer expressed his great concern regarding the consequences an attack on Iraq would have, both for Turkey as well as the broader region.
According to information, Mr. Papandreou probed the Turkish leadership to see where they stood on the Greek initiative to hold a conference, possibly in Athens, with the participation of the 15 EU member-states, the 10 new members, the three candidate countries and the Arab states.