|Thursday, 14 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-02-10
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 SIMITIS INITIATIVE ON SUMMIT MEETINGAthens, 10 February 2003 (13:37 UTC+2)
The initiative to call an emergency Summit Meeting of the European Union was taken by the Greek Presidency and its President, Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, in order to discuss developments in Iraq and the Middle East.
Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou made this announcement immediately following his meeting with the Prime Minister at the Maximos Mansion.
The Greek presidency's goal is for an informal meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers to be held early next week, in preparation of the Summit Meeting. The exact date of the informal meeting is still being discussed. Mr. Papandreou explained that the decision for an emergency Summit Meeting was made so that the EU could see its next moves, after the report of the UN inspectors in Iraq.
Regarding a question on whether the Greek Presidency agrees with the French-German proposal to increase the number of inspectors, he answered that he had not spoken with the two countries' Foreign Ministers and observed: There is no French-German proposal. There are discussions in the UN on increasing the number of inspectors, something we will also discuss at the Summit Meeting.
The Minister stated that he would have a telephone communication with the Heads of the inspectors. He expressed his appreciation that Saddam is starting to understand the message sent by the UN, the EU and the Arab states, and he underlined: It is the first light we see in the case. Of course we must wait for the inspectors' report.
Based on this evidence, he said that there is an opportunity for peace, for a peaceful resolving of the crisis.
 PATRIARCHAL CONFIRMATION FOR BLACKMAILSZachynthos, 10 February 2003 (11:23 UTC+2)
The statements of the Zachynthos Metropolite on clergy blackmails, were confirmed by circles of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which made mention of irrational demands that had been submitted in the past. Extortionate moves towards her family were confirmed by the widow of M. Vranopoulos, N17 victim and former Director of the National Bank. The investigation will be completed within the next few days.
 NEW ROUND OF TESTIMONIES ON ELAAthens, 10 February 2003 (14:17 UTC+2)
A new round of testimonies from witnesses who were either victims of the Revolutionary People's Struggle's attacks, or were eye witnesses of the attacks, is expected to begin in the next few days. Special Examiner Leonidas Zervobeakos will call in dozens of people in order to testify, looking for new evidence for the eradication of the terrorist organization.
Meanwhile, police investigations into ELA are fully underway. According to information, the authorities have concentrated evidence on another member and his apprehension in next few days has not been ruled out.
Also, the police authorities have let information leak that they shortly intend to eradicate other terrorist organizations, such as May 1st and Revolutionary Cores.
 PRODI WELCOMES THE INITIATIVE FOR EXTRAORDINARY EUROPEAN COUNCIL MEETINGAthens, 10 February 2003 (19:14 UTC+2)
An initiative by the Greek EU Presidency to call an extraordinary European Council to look into the Iraq crisis, to be held in Brussels next Monday, has been welcomed by European Commission President Romano Prodi. "Any effort that can help toward resolving the Iraq crisis in an ordinary manner is welcome", said Mr. Prodi.
Earlier, EU Commission spokesman Jonathan Faull had said it was important for Europe to have a single voice, adding that "If the specific meeting helps in finding that single voice, then it would be useful".
 INTER-RELIGIOUS MEETING IN MAYThessaloniki, 10 February 2003 (18:09 UTC+2)
The 2nd meeting on Inter-Religious Dialogue as a Precondition for Spiritual Culture, held with the participation of religious leaders and representatives of the three monotheistic religions, will take place in Thessaloniki on May 29-30. The meeting is organized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in cooperation with the Greek Culture Ministry within the framework of the Greek EU Presidency events.
In the meeting will participate 70 representatives of the three monotheistic religions, while a music concert will take place on May 31 and the revenues will be offered to the Ecumenical Patriarchate for the rescue of the monuments in Asia Minor and Ionia.
In a statement issued by the Ecumenical Patriarchate it is pointed out that inter-religious dialogue is the main communication means among peoples with different policies, religious and social traditions. It is also underlined that cooperation, coexistence and the joint study of problems as well as the promotion of cooperation among Christians, Jews and Muslims are more necessary today than ever before.
 SIMITIS ON THE GREEK INITIATIVEAthens, 10 February 2003 (17:48 UTC+2)
Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis referred to the Greek EU Presidency initiative for an EU leaders' meeting on the issue of Iraq and the developments in the Middle East to take place early next week. The statements were made after the meeting he had with Swiss Confederation President Pascal Couchepin to discuss European issues and the issue of Iraq.
Greece suggested that the meeting should take place in Brussels on Monday afternoon after the presentation of the UN weapons inspectors report on Iraq. Also, an EU Foreign Ministers informal meeting is suggested to be held in the morning of that day to prepare the European leaders meeting.
Referring to the subject of the meeting, Mr. Simitis pointed out that the situation should be assessed within the framework of the UN decisions and an earlier General Affairs Council decision reached during the Greek EU Presidency. However, he stressed that the peace efforts in the Middle East should also be discussed. Mr. Simitis stated that the Greek EU Presidency wants a common EU stance to be adopted on the issue of Iraq.
Mr. Simitis pointed out that he discussed with Mr. Couchepin taxation issues such as, the EU citizens' accounts in Swiss banks, the protection of bank confidentially and the implementation of the Schengen rules.
Mr. Couchepin referred to the friendship ties between Greece and Switzerland and expressed the hope that the EU-Switzerland negotiations on a number of issues will have a positive conclusion. He also thanked the Greek EU Presidency for its contribution toward this direction.
Meanwhile, Mr. Simitis had a telephone communication this morning with his Belgian counterpart and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on the Franco-German proposal on the issue of Iraq. The Greek Prime Minister clarified that it is not certain that France and Germany will submit an alternative proposal because the evaluation of the UN weapons inspectors report on Iraq will take time.
 MARGINAL LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 10 February 2003 (17:13 UTC+2)
Marginal losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.10% at 1.672,58 points, while the volume of transactions was at 36.3 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 118 recorded gains and 176 had losses, while the value of 77 stocks remained unchanged.
 TSOCHATZOPOULOS TO MPA ON DEVELOPMENT, WAR AND SMALL-MEDIUM SIZED BUSINESSESThessaloniki, 10 February 2003 (17:01 UTC+2)
A likely war will not have long-term negative results, stated Minister of Development Akis Tsochatzopoulos while presenting his positions to mpa.gr in view of the European small-medium sized businesses forum to take place in Thessaloniki on Thursday. It is the first meeting of a new institution having as a goal the dialogue between the small-medium sized businesses in the EU and the state governments.
The Council of Ministers will meet with the European small-medium sized businesses presiding board in the presence of Prime Minister Kostas Simitis as the European Council President and European Commission President Romano Prodi.
In his interview with mpa.gr, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos stated that on Wednesday he will hold a meeting with the representatives of the small-medium sized businesses in northern Greece to discuss issues concerning the EU priorities, while he also announced the establishment of 15 policy effectiveness indexes for the small-medium sized businesses. The EU green bible on the small-medium sized businesses will be presented for the first time in the Thessaloniki forum after a debate that lasted for years.
Mr. Tsochatzopoulos also announced the signing of an agreement for the establishment of a Business Economy Institute which he regards as very important for productivity increase. He also stressed that there are conflicting demands by different categories of small-medium sized businesses and expressed his firm position in support of incentives for innovation development.
 INFLATION AT 3.1% IN JANUARYAthens, 10 February 2003 (16:46 UTC+2)
Inflation dropped to 3.1% in January 2003 compared to 3.4% in December 2002, according to the Greek National Statistics Agency.
A decisive role in this development was played by the upward course of the single European currency that operated as a counterbalance for the high oil prices which are still in US dollars in the international markets. Also, the stabilization of the fresh fruit and vegetable prices played a major role in the inflation drop recorded in January.
 THE GREEK JUSTICE MINISTER WILL VISIT EUROPEAN CAPITALSAthens, 10 February 2003 (16:43 UTC+2)
Greek Justice Minister Filippos Petsalnikos will be in Paris tomorrow under his identity as the EU Justice Ministers Council President to continue the informative contacts with his counterparts.
Mr. Petsalnikos will meet with his French counterpart to promote the Greek EU Presidency priorities and initiatives on justice issues. Mr. Petsalnikos already had talks with his German counterpart.
On Wednesday, the Greek Justice Minister will attend the Euro-parliament plenary session in Strasbourg to brief the Euro-deputies on the 2002 Council proceedings conclusions on justice issues and respond to their questions.
On Thursday, he will visit Rome to brief the Italian Justice Minister on the priorities of the Greek EU Presidency on justice issues. On February 17, he will be in Stockholm for contacts with his Swedish counterpart and on February 25, he will visit Madrid to meet with the Spanish Justice Minister.
 PAPANDREOU ON THE INITIATIVE ON IRAQAthens, 10 February 2003 (16:35 UTC+2)
Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou announced the Greek initiative for an extraordinary EU Summit meeting on the developments in Iraq and the Middle East after the meeting he had with Prime Minister Kostas Simitis.
He said that the Greek EU Presidency has undertaken initiatives systematically for the peaceful settlement of the crisis in Iraq and added that the message sent is that there is room for a peaceful settlement of the crisis. He stressed that the report by UN chief inspectors Mr. Blix and Mr. Baradei should be submitted before a decision is made.
Mr. Papandreou stated that the Greek EU Presidency decided to undertake an initiative for an extraordinary European Council meeting and consultations are underway to decide on the date of the meeting. He said that the Greek EU Presidency proposal is for an EU Foreign Ministers Council meeting to take place in early next week followed by an informal EU Summit meeting.