|Sunday, 8 December 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-02-11
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 WAR CAN BE AVOIDEDAthens, 11 February 2003 (12:33 UTC+2)
His belief that a war in Iraq can be avoided was expressed by Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou, in statements he made following his meeting with Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Walder.
Mr. Papandreou stressed that the war can be avoided if the EU and the Arab states get a message across to Saddam Hussein that he must cooperate with the inspectors or destroy whatever weapons of mass destruction he possesses, or prove that they have been destroyed.
He also stressed that he had the opportunity to meet with the Head of the International Atomic Energy Service Mohammed Elbaradei at the airport, who told him that he has ascertained a change in Iraq's attitude.
As far as the Greek Presidency's initiative on calling an emergency Summit Meeting concerning Iraq on Monday is concerned, Mr. Papandreou pointed out that it would be informal, and that its decisions would concern the next steps to be made. At the same time he appreciated that it is too soon to discuss a new UN Security Council resolution.
Mrs. Ferrero-Walder, who visited Morocco, Tunis and Algeria on behalf of the Greek Presidency, pointed out that the EU must remain united on the Iraq issue.
The two Foreign Ministers underlined that France and Germany have not undertaken a specific initiative on the Iraq issue, but that they have submitted certain ideas.
In other statements, concerning the confrontation between the United States and France and Germany in NATO, due to their disagreement on the activation of article 5 for Turkey, Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou stressed that there is no disagreement on the issue in principle.
NATO, he said, is not involved in any military operation in any way. What is being discussed is the degree, and if there is a threat or problem for the security of any country, due to a possible war. That is being discussed in NATO, namely the case of analyzing possible scenarios and what measures could NATO take. The Greek government has no objection to this discussion, stated Mr. Papandreou. And he specified that France and Belgium Germany had no objection to this last proposal - have stressed that it is not the moment to discuss the specific issue, however those countries have also not expressed an objection in principle.
 THIRD TRAGEDYIkaria, 11 February 2003 (11:29 UTC+2)
Wreckage of an Augusta Bell type helicopter belonging to the National Immediate Assistance Center was found in the sea region 3 miles off the Ikaria island airport, with which contact had been lost at 12:18 last night, while it was preparing to land in Ikaria to transfer a patient. The helicopter had four crew members and had taken off from Mytilini. This was the helicopter that had been sent to replace the one that crashed in Sounio.
 CRUCIAL EFFORTS FOR SOLUTIONAthens, 11 February 2003 (12:56 UTC+2)
Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan will visit Athens on February 25, coming from Ankara, and on his way to Nicosia. Diplomatic circles have not ruled out the possibility of Mr. Annan submitting another revised plan for the solution of the Cyprus issue. Greek and Turkish delegations will meet on February 17, in order to discuss security issues concerning Cyprus, according to the statements of Turkish Foreign Minister Yassar Yakis to the Anadolu Agency on Monday.
Mr. Yakis communicated with his Greek counterpart, Giorgos Papandreou, on Sunday night. He pointed out that the meeting will take place either in Athens or in Ankara, due to the rapid developments in the region, and he added that: Turkey asks that they take place in Ankara, while Greece wants the discussions to be held in Athens because it is busy with the Presidency of the EU. If no solution is found in the meanwhile, the heads of the delegations will meet in order to set a date and place for the meeting. I do not think that this will be a problem.
 THE GREEK PROPOSAL FOR AN INFORMAL MEETING OF THE "15" WAS ACCEPTEDAthens, 11 February 2003 (19:18 UTC+2)
The proposal of the Greek EU Presidency for an informal meeting of the 15 EU leaders in Brussels on Monday was accepted. According to Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas, the Prime Minister will return to Athens on Tuesday because he will have meetings with the leaders of the ten EU candidate states as the President of the European Council.
Responding to questions on the occasion of the Franco-German proposal concerning the extension of the UN weapons inspectors' mission and the increase in the size of the inspectors' team, Mr. Protopapas stated that the war is not a one-way street, pointing out that the problem in Iraq can be settled peacefully.
Mr. Protopapas pointed out the need for a single EU stance in the issue of Iraq.
 THE BULGARIAN FINANCE MINISTER MET WITH YIANNITSISAthens, 11 February 2003 (18:33 UTC+2)
The fiscal and funding aspects of Bulgaria's accession course in view of the European Council meeting in Thessaloniki were discussed yesterday in the meeting Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Tasos Yiannitsis had with Bulgarian Finance Minister Milen Velchev. They also discussed the basic economic problems faced by the country.
Mr. Velchev underlined the efforts made by his country to meet the needs of its European course.
He called for the cooperation of the Greek side requesting the necessary know-how to facilitated the solution of the problems faced by his country and underlined the importance of the Greek EU Presidency and Greece's support in general for Bulgaria's European course.
 GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 11 February 2003 (17:53 UTC+2)
Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.97% at 1.688,76 points, while the volume of transactions was at 46.5 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, the overwhelming majority of 205 recorded gains and 108 had losses, while the value of 56 stocks remained unchanged.
 THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE HELICOPTER CRASHAthens, 11 February 2003 (17:19 UTC+2)
The government's grief over the helicopter accident was expressed by spokesman Christos Protopapas, who stated that based on the available information, all technical checks had been made to the specific helicopter, its pilot was very experienced and the helicopter itself was equipped with floats.
Mr. Protopapas stated that investigations will be held to determine the causes of the accident. He also said that in addition to the investigation conducted by an independent team of experts, the Ministry of Health too has ordered an investigation to determine if the safety rules are being observed.
Referring to the previous accidents involving helicopters used for the transfer of patients, he said that the report on the causes of the first accident has already been issued, while the report on the second accident will be announced soon.
 YIANNITSIS IN STRASBOURGAthens, 11 February 2003 (16:50 UTC+2)
Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Tasos Yiannitsis will be in Strasbourg to attend the European Parliament plenary meeting.
Mr. Yiannitsis will address the Euro-Parliament tomorrow and refer to the EU Presidency statements on Iraq and the EU Spring Summit Meeting, while he will also respond to questions by Euro-deputies.
Mr. Yiannitsis will meet tomorrow with European Commission President Romano Prodi.
 ABOUT 25% OF THE GREEKS ARE OBESEThessaloniki, 11 February 2003 (16:46 UTC+2)
About 25% of the women in Greece and 20% of the men are obese and the numbers mentioned confirm the view of specialists that obesity is the most frequent metabolism disorder which is expected to take up the dimensions of an epidemic in the following decades.
The numbers mentioned are very alarming as it was stressed in the 1st Balkan and the 5th Greek Conference on Obesity held in Athens. The conference participants underlined, that weight loss is always accompanied by an improved quality of life and longevity.
 AIR TRANSPORTATION OF PATIENTS IS SUSPENDEDAthens, 11 February 2003 (16:31 UTC+2)
The Emergency Medical Assistance National Center, EKAV, personnel decided to suspend the air transportation of patients after the new tragic accident involving an Agusta helicopter near the Aegean island of Ikaria. Parts of the helicopter were spotted this morning in the sea region of Nysi, southwest of the airport of Ikaria.
Meanwhile, the EKAV management is skeptical regarding the flying ability of the specific helicopters as last night's accident was the third recorded in Greece in the past three years.
The four people on board the helicopter, two pilots, a doctor and a nurse, are still missing.
The helicopter had taken off from Mitilini, Lesvos and its mission was to transfer a female patient from the Ikaria Hospital to the hospital in Samos.