|Wednesday, 5 August 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-02-17
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 INFORMAL SUMMIT MEETING TODAYBrussels, 17 February 2003 (12:09 UTC+2)
The emergency informal Summit Meeting of the EU on Iraq will be held today, in an effort to find a common position. "We are aiming at no division lines between EU countries. We all want peace and we must look for a practical form of attaining our goal", stressed Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, while he pointed out that the EU will not offer a "complete solution plan on Iraq".
He underlined that the Security Council is responsible for that. "We 15 want to have an open discussion on the issue of Iraq", he observed, "so that there is an understanding". Mr. Simitis received two letters from his counterparts in Spain and the Netherlands.
The Prime Minister will meet with Mr. Prodi and Mr. Patten today, as well as with Mr. Solana. He will also have a meeting with his Turkish counterpart A. Gul, and with the Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, at 16.15. Tomorrow morning Mr. Simitis will meet with the departing President of Cyprus, Glafkos Clerides.
The EU Foreign Ministers will have a preparatory meeting this morning, where the Council President, Giorgos Papandreou, will inform his counterparts on the outcome of his visit to Cairo, at the meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Arab League.
"The emergency European Summit to take place, will not make decisions on the details concerning the Iraqi crisis, as the UN is handling the issue. But, an important framework will be set, I hope, expressing a common European position", stated the Foreign Minister.
 WINTER DISPROOF OF SUMMER SCENARIOSBrussels, 17 February 2003 (11:21 UTC+2)
A poignant statement in which he stressed that he will not do them that favor, was the response of the Prime Minister from Brussels, to the scenarios concerning his resignation, which he called midsummer night's dreams, and attributed them to an attempt to impede his government's work.
 PUBLIC AND TAX FREEAthens, 17 February 2003 (11:33 UTC+2)
Pre-registration for public bonds began today at banks, Postal Savings Banks, and branches of the Bank of Greece. The bonds offer higher, at 3.6%, and tax free interest rates, if they are held for a year. The maximum total can reach 10,000 euro, applications will be checked, and if there are multiple registrations with the same tax registration number, the investor will be disqualified from the public registration. Bonds will be issues two more times in 2003.
 BAD WEATHER AND STRONG WINDSAthens, 17 February 2003 (11:21 UTC+2)
Bad weather all over the country has caused serious problems, as strong winds threaten flights and ship itineraries. Sailing from Piraeus and Rafina has been prohibited, while channel lines in Northern Greece are closed and skid chains are required on the roads. The weather service foresaw further snowfall tomorrow, even at lower altitudes. Extreme weather phenomena will be restricted to the east and south of the country tomorrow.
 GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON ON FORMER KING'S VISITAthens, 17 February 2003 (18:01 UTC+2)
If the former king violates the laws and Constitution, then he will be barred from entering Greece, but if he holds a European passport he will not, stressed deputy Minister of the Press Tilemachos Chytiris, standing in for the Government Spokesperson, when asked if the former king will be allowed to enter Greece for the 2004 Olympics.
Mr. Chytiris also added that the former king can be issued a Greek passport, as long as he chooses to be recorded in the registers and if he chooses a surname, while when asked to comment on his visit, Mr. Chytiris stated: He came, he saw, he left.
 GAINS AT THE ASEAthens, 17 February 2003 (18:01 UTC+2)
The general index at the Athens stock exchange closed with gains of 0.38% at 1,685.76 units. The volume of transactions came to 46.3 million euro, while 212 stocks recorded profits, 87 losses, and 69 remained the same.
 NEW PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS TO VISIT ATHENSAthens, 17 February 2003 (16:52 UTC+2)
The new President of the Cypriot Republic, Tassos Papadopoulos, will visit Athens next Monday, February 24, according to an announcement made by deputy Minister of the Press, Til. Chytiris.
This morning, Prime Minister Kostas Simitis had a telephone communication with the new President, whom he congratulated on his election and a meeting between them was agreed. Mr. Chytiris stressed that the cooperation between Greece and Cyprus has been close and will continue to be so, in the effort to resolve the political problem.
 D' ESTAING IN ATHENSAthens, 17 February 2003 (15:21 UTC+2)
An international conference titled Building the European Conscience Which Europe are we searching for, is being organized on the afternoon of Thursday February 20, at the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, by the Greek Committee for the European Union (national part of the International European Movement).
Former President of French Republic Valerie Giscard D' Estaing has been invited as a speaker, who, as President of the Assembly for the Future of Europe, will present the first findings of the Assembly to the participants representing 25 European countries.
There will also be a presentation of the public dialogue held throughout Europe with the initiative of the European Movement in the Presence of the President of the European Council, Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, the Greek Head of the Opposition Kostas Karamanlis, and the former President of the European Parliament, Hill Robles.
Mr. D' Estaign will be in Athens on Wednesday February 19 and will depart from Greece on Friday February 21.
 BLAIR LETTER TO SIMITISAthens, 17 February 2003 (11:15 UTC+2)
British Prime Minister Tony Blair sent a letter to the President of the European Union and Prime Minister of Greece, Kostas Simitis and publicized it to the rest of the member-states' leaders, in view of the emergency EU Summit Meeting to be held on Monday in Brussels.
Mr. Blair stressed that the possibility of military violence being used against Iraq cannot be ruled out, and noted 6 points on which Monday's discussion must concentrate. Mr. Simitis had a telephone communication with French President Jacques Chirac concerning the emergency Summit.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan will also be present at the meeting on Monday, after accepting an invitation from Mr. Simitis. Mr. Annan will answer questions and will depart before the luncheon of the EU leaders.
 GREEK TEXT GRAFTED ON IRAQBrussels, 17 February 2003 (16:49 UTC+2)
An informal European Union foreign ministers' council meeting began in Brussels late this morning to examine prospects for forging a common European stance on the Iraq crisis.
Meanwhile, political directors of the "15" EU members met in Brussels on Sunday for an ''open discussion'' on Iraq, although nothing was put to writing.
Sources said the Greek Presidency will draft a text ''in light of the discussions'' to be held at the Union's Foreign Ministers meeting and at a working lunch to follow. According to the same sources, the text is expected to be delivered at the informal EU Summit, which will convene later in the afternoon.
Greece, which currently holds the rotating EU Presidency, called an emergency Summit meeting last week on the Iraq crisis and the Middle East problem.
Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, currently European Council President,met with European Commission President Romano Prodi and Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten in Brussels on Monday morning, before a meeting with EU chief diplomat Javier Solana.
Simitis will also meet with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul at 2 p.m. (Athens time).
Moreover, in his statements earlier in the day, Solana stressed that ''war against Iraq might be necessary, but only after all peaceful means are exhausted''.
 A UNION WITH ONE VOICEBrussels, 17 February 2003 (11:22 UTC+2)
It is considered difficult, but not impossible for the emergency Summit Meeting to converge on a common position, to speak with one voice, according to Prime Minister Kostas Simitis stated as President of the European Council, concerning Iraq. The atmosphere at the meeting, despite the objections expressed by some leaders, is being affected by the large peace protests all over the world and the bending of Belgium's will, which has already retracted its veto at NATO, on the military support of Turkey. A meeting between Foreign Ministers will be held before that of the European Council.