|Saturday, 25 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-02-01
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 POLICE OPERATION FOR THE ARREST OF ELA MEMBERSAthens, 1 February 2003 (11:14 UTC+2)
A gigantic operation is underway by the Greek counter-terrorist agency in the wider region of Athens and at least two more regions in the country since the early morning hours today. The operation has been launched for the arrest of individuals accused of being members of terrorist group Revolutionary Popular Struggle or ELA.
According to information published in the Athens newspaper VIMA and broadcast by state-run television station NET, at total of five individuals accused of being ELA members are expected to be in the hands of the Greek police within the following hours. ELA was the terrorist group with the most members and it was active in Greece in the period after the junta until the mid 90s when it was dissolved after the Stasi archives in former East Germany became public.
Based on the same information, the five individuals who are allegedly ELA members are in Athens, in Thessaly in central Greece and in an Aegean island (Kimilos, Andros or Kalymnos). Their arrest is regarded as a matter of hours. They were traced during the evaluation of the Stasi archives and according to information, the evidence against them is significant.
 WELL-KNOWN JOURNALIST TO TESTIFY IN THE BLACKMAIL CASEAthens, 1 February 2003 (13:42 UTC+2)
A well-known journalist is expected to be called in the following days by the responsible prosecutor to testify in the blackmail case, involving businessmen and journalists. His name was mentioned in the testimonies given by Mrs. Marianna Latsis and Mr. Theodoros Angelopoulos, both leading members of the business community in the country.
The new witness is known to the public by his television appearances and his long presence in journalism.
Apart from the well-known publisher and journalist two more journalists are expected to testify during the weekend. The investigation will be completed with the testimony of publisher and journalist Grigoris Michalopoulos.
 NEXT STEPS ON IRAQ AFTER US REPORTAthens, 1 February 2003 (19:14 UTC+2)
The Greek Presidency will decide on its next steps concerning the Iraq issue after US Secretary of State Collin Powel turns the evidence the US has over to the Security Council, on February 5. This decision was reached after today's four hour meeting between Prime Minister Kostas Simitis and Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou.
I think it is premature to come to decisions without having clear evidence, or even to have a more substantial discussion concerning our next steps. That will happen on February 5, and then we will be able to give you some more specific directions on our next steps, stated Mr. Papandreou after leaving from the meeting.
The Foreign Minister expressed the belief that it is still possible to reach a peaceful solution. If there is full compliance and cooperation from Saddam Hussein's side with the UN, then I think that the international community will be able to say that we will have a diplomatic and peaceful success. This is what we are all hoping for. As a Presidency we will make every effort in that direction. But the message to Saddam Hussein's side, will of course have to be strong, that this is the final opportunity. And he must not ignore this. But it is an opportunity, he stressed.
Mr. Papandreou also stated that it was decided that he will travel to New York on February 5, in order to attend the UN Security Council meeting, and did not rule out the possibility of calling a meeting of his 15 EU counterparts, as well as those in the 10 new members and the candidate countries.
In New York, the Foreign Minister is expected to have in private meetings, exclusively on the Iraq issue, with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, US Secretary of State Collin Powel and his European counterparts of Security Council member-states.
We have not ruled out calling a Summit Meeting or a Meeting of Foreign Ministers, but I think that we will have a clearer image in order to decide on our next steps after my meetings on February 5, he pointed out.
Mr. Papandreou stressed that calling a Summit Meeting is up to the Presidency. It is our choice to make, always in coordination with the other partners as to when it should be held, if such a thing is to happen. If everything goes on smoothly and we have positive developments in Iraq, there will be no need for an emergency General Affairs Council meeting. We will have our regular meeting at the end of February. If of course there is a development which we deem important enough to require a strong message be sent to Iraq as a last effort, an ultimate attempt to reach a peaceful solution, and to prepare for a possible confrontation, then we may have a Summit Meeting or a General Affairs meeting, he explained.
Concerning the decision of the 15 at the General Affairs Council meeting, in contrast to the move of the 8, Mr. Papandreou stressed that the decisions of the EU, of the 15, are in effect from all sides. Everybody agrees with the decisions we made at the General Affairs Council meeting on Monday.
 DRIS: JOINT COMMITTEES WITH THE BALKAN STATESThessaloniki, 1 February 2003 (16:12 UTC+2)
The Greek Ministry of Agriculture will proceed shortly with the establishment of joint committees with the Balkan states to assist the neighboring countries in their effort to accelerate the procedures for their accession into the EU, stated Greek Minister of Agriculture Giorgos Dris. The statement was made during his visit to the AGROTICA 2003 farm exhibition in Thessaloniki.
The committees will deal with issues like water resources or farming and will undertake studies to harmonize the Balkan agriculture with the European standards.
He said that the demands made by his Balkan counterparts are placed in two categories. The first group includes Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey which want Greece's help to accelerate the completion of the necessary changes that will secure their EU accession in 2007.
The second group includes the countries that are already ante portas of the EU and need scientific support.
Romania and Bulgaria believe that their EU accession must take place under the same terms and preconditions that were in effect for the rest 10 countries and this is a fair demand, stated Mr. Dris.
 SIMITIS-PAPANDREOU MEETINGAthens, 1 February 2003 (15:13 UTC+2)
Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou left open the likelihood for an EU Summit meeting or a European Council meeting as a result of the move by the 8 European countries in support of the US stance in the case of an attack on Iraq.
After a long meeting with Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, Mr. Papandreou stressed that the outcome of the UN Security Council meeting in New York on February 5, when US Secretary of State Colin Powell will present information on the Iraqi weapons, will be decisive for the Greek EU Presidency initiatives.
Mr. Papandreou clarified that an extraordinary Summit Meeting will be held if a strong message needs to be sent to Iraq in order to comply or in the case of preparations for an armed attack.
 MAGRIOTIS: THE MOVE OF THE "8" IS A PROBLEM FOR THE EUAthens, 1 February 2003 (14:35 UTC+2)
The move of the 8 European countries, backing the US position in the case of Iraq, is not a problem for the Greek EU Presidency but it is a problem for the EU itself, stated Greek Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Yiannis Magriotis. The EU had reached a common position in the General Affairs Council meeting, stated Mr. Magriotis, stressing that the initiative of the 8 hurts Europe's credibility.
Mr. Magriotis also stated that there is still room for peace in Iraq and that the diplomatic efforts for the solution of the problem have not been exhausted yet. He said that Iraq should comply with UN Security Council resolution 1441 and added that an effort should be made toward this direction.