|Sunday, 17 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-02-24
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 A RAY OF HOPENicosia, 24 February 2003 (09:22 UTC+2)
His optimism that a solution to Cyprus' political problem can be found by February 28, was expressed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan from his first stop in his tour of the region, in Ankara, while newly elected President of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos is in Athens. US and UK Special Envoys in Nicosia appear satisfied, while Mr. Annan will be visiting tomorrow. The inability to find a solution, is due to Mr. Denktash's unwillingness to compromise, according to Mr. Papadopoulos.
 POSSIBLE CAUSES FOR THE BUS ACCIDENTThessaloniki, 24 February 2003 (12:00 UTC+2)
The most possible cause for the lethal car accident of the KTEL bus, which occurred at midnight on Saturday on the Aliakmonas river bridge, leaving 14 dead, 8 injured and on 3-year-old boy missing, is human error, according to the appreciation of traffic police officers and specialists.
The specialist committee to investigate the causes of the accident, will collect evidence from the coronary reports as well as the speedometer, while the testimonies of the 8 injured passengers are considered crucial.
Traffic police officers and members of the committee are now convinced that they will get to the bottom of what caused the accident, after concentrating information about what happened on the bridge when the KTEL bus met with the freight truck.
According to the first version, the bus went of its course, crossed into the opposite lane and then fell into the river at the time the truck was going by, while according to the second scenario there may have been an attempt by the truck driver to improperly overtake another car from the right, resulting in a collision of the two vehicles during this maneuver.
Regardless, police sources mention that the specialists will not take into account the fact that the bus was moving at 101 kph, and the validity of the speedometer's indication will checked.
Searches are still underway to find the three-year-old boy that has been missing since the accident on Saturday, and the rapid response of emergency assistance units dispatched to the accident site, was commended.
 GREEK-TURKISH GAS PIPELINE SIGNEDThessaloniki, 24 February 2003 (11:14 UTC+2)
An inter-state agreement was signed between Greece and Turkey yesterday afternoon, by Minister of Development Akis Tsochatzopoulos and his Turkish counterpart Mehmet Guler, regarding the construction of the natural gas pipeline to connect our two countries.
The agreement was signed during the event for the presentation of the data on the on the project by the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) SA, which has promoted a significant portion of the project's initial phase (research stage) with the corresponding Turkish gas company, BOTAS. Apart from the two Ministers, Thessaloniki MPs, Mayors and Thessaloniki body representatives were also present at the meeting.
We are materializing a very significant political choice for cooperation between our two countries. It is a political choice which deals with the energy needs of our two countries, but both our countries are committed to acting a transit countries, in order to secure the European energy market on natural gas, as well as electricity, since there is a similar Agreement for the electrical connection between the Greek and Turkish state run electricity companies. What we certify today, is the interconnection of the European market, through Greece and Turkey, with natural gas produced in the region of the Caspian Sea, stated Mr. Tsochatzopoulos.
 BULGARIAN WITH 10,000 "E" PILLSIoannina, 24 February 2003 (12:01 UTC+2)
Ten thousand ecstasy pills were found hidden in the oil canister of a 35-year-old Bulgarian citizen's car. Simeon Denkov was arrested in the Kalamaria district of Thessaloniki by men of the Ioannina narcotics division.
The Bulgarian had a Greek accomplice who escaped arrest. The Ioannina Police Chief will give more information on the case in a press conference.
 ATHENS VOWS COMMENTS ON DELAYSAthens, 24 February 2003 (14:04 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Costas Simitis will send a letter to the President of the IOC Jacques Rogge today, as was made known after the meeting of the ministerial committee on the 2004 Olympics. Mr. Rogge's statements after the meeting of the IOC's coordination committee last Friday in Lozanne, was the main topic of discussion at the meeting today. Mr. Rogge had pointed out delays in certain sectors of Greece's preparations.
In his letter to Mr. Rogge, Mr. Simitis is expected to stress that there are no problems justifying dramatic statements and assure him that Greece is not letting its guard down, but continuing with the preparations in order for everything to take place as planned.
Specifically, the ministerial committee looked into the progress of the Olympic projects and the question of the security system. In statements immediately following the meeting, deputy Minister of the Press Tilemachos Chytiris pointed out that the progress of the preparations is visible, and it is good in all projects, including those pointed out in Mr. Rogge's statement. In the cases where there are some difficulties, it is because there have been appeals to the State Council and we are waiting for the decisions. But we will overcome these difficulties.
On his side, Minister of Culture Evaggelos Venizelos characterized the discussion as very interesting, and stressed that there was a full review of the point which Olympic preparations have reached. Calling on the Prime Minister's statements, Mr. Venizelos underlined that there is no special problem, and added: The schedules are under control. There are always issues that must be resolved and they are resolved in the quickest and most effective way in a system where justice, local government, the university community and all of society play a part.
 NEW PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS IN ATHENSAthens, 24 February 2003 (13:31 UTC+2)
President of the Republic Costis Stefanopoulos received the newly elected President of the Cypriot Republic, Tassos Papadopoulos, who is on his first formal visit to Athens after taking office.
Mr. Stefanopoulos congratulated him on his election and Mr. Papadopoulos briefed him on the latest developments in the Cyprus issue, in view of the visits of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to Ankara, Athens, and Nicosia.
The full support of the Greek Parliament to the efforts being made by the new Cypriot leadership for a fair, viable and functional solution, which will reinstate Cyprus' unity, was pointed out the President of the body of representatives, Apostolos Kaklamanis during his meeting with Mr. Papadopoulos.
During his meeting with the President of the Cypriot Republic, Mr. Kaklamanis stressed that the Greek Parliament will remain steadily concentrated on the completion of Cyprus' accession procedures until that goal is achieved.
We want and are certain that procedures will have been completed until then, underlined Mr. Kaklamanis characteristically. But from there on he added there is the problem which the needs for dialogue have characterized as political, but we must not forget that it is about a problem of occupation.
 COUNTDOWN TO N17 TRIALAthens, 24 February 2003 (11:16 UTC+2)
Monday, March 3, will note the beginning of the much talked about trial of the November 17 terrorist organization suspect members, which will call at least 330 witnesses.
According to information, the defendants will take the stand in two groups. Those who have either confessed their participation in the group or deny any implication, and those who have reneged what they had initially confessed.
 NEW DIALOGUE FRAMEWORK ON CYPRUSAthens, 24 February 2003 (11:15 UTC+2)
A new dialogue framework was submitted yesterday by the Special Envoy of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Alvaro De Soto, both to the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot side, as was announced yesterday by Minister of the Press and Government Spokesperson Christos Protopapas.
Mr. Protopapas pointed out that this new framework will also be submitted to Greece and Turkey by Mr. De Soto, while it will be the topic of discussion in today's meeting of Prime Minister Costas Simitis with the President of the Cypriot Republic, Tassos Papadopoulos.
To the question on when the new dialogue will begin, the Minister of the Press stated that that was up to the UN Secretary General.
It should be noted that Mr. Annan was in Ankara in order to have meetings with the country's political leadership on the Cyprus issue.
 T. PAPADOPOULOS' MEETINGS IN ATHENSAthens, 24 February 2003 (11:13 UTC+2)
Newly elected President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos, who arrived in Athens yesterday, will have discussions with Greece's political leadership today. Specifically, he will have meetings with President of the Republic Costis Stafanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
During his stay in Athens, he will also meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs Giorgos Papandreou, President of the Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis and political party leaders.
Prior to his departure for Athens, Mr. Papadopoulos stated that UN have not submitted a new plan to resolve the Cyprus issue. He also mentioned that the UN submitted a memorandum to him that included a summary of his latest discussions with Mr. De Soto.
 DPT. DEFENSE MINISTER IN BELGRADEBelgrade, 24 February 2003 (13:31 UTC+2)
Deputy Minister of National Defense Lucas Apostolidis began a three-day visit to Serbia-Montenegro today, after being formally invited by his Federal counterpart, Svetislav Ristic.
Upon arriving in Belgrade this afternoon, he will speak at the works of the 3rd Summit 2003 of Serbia and Montenegro.
Tomorrow, Mr. Apostolidis will have a discussion with Mr. Ristic, while he will meet with the Federal Minister of Defense of Serbia and Montenegro, Velimir Radojevic, the Patriarch of Serbia Pavlos, and he will visit the VJ Military Academy, where he will inaugurate the Center for Teaching Greek.
Mr. Apostolidis' visit to Belgrade is being held in reciprocation to Mr. Ristic's visit to Athens in December 2001.
 EU FOREIGN MINISTERS MEETBrussels, 24 February 2003 (13:32 UTC+2)
The General Affairs Council is meeting in Brussels today, with developments in Iraq and the Middle East in general, being the main topics on the agenda. There will be an emphasis on the continuation of the peacekeeping procedure and the solving of the Palestinian problem.
The Council's President, Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou, has invited the secretary General of the Arab League, A. Musa, as well as the Lebanese Foreign Minister, M. Hamud, who is the President of the Arab League, to attend a luncheon today.
The Council will also discuss EU-Russian relations, Western Balkan issues, the issue of a wider Europe and its relation to its neighboring regions (Wider Europe for a new neighborhood), while the Vice President of the Convention (for the Future of Europe), Jean Luc Dehaene, will inform the Foreign Ministers of the 15 on the progress of the Convention's works.
Also, a meeting for the Council for EU-Moroccan Association has been programmed in the margin of the Foreign Minister's Council, as well as a meeting on a Ministerial level of the Troika with FYROM and Croatia.
Newly elected President of the Republic of Cyprus Tassos Papadopoulos has meetings scheduled with Prime Minister Costas Simitis.
By Sunday, March 2, Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos will have completed his tour of Middle Eastern countries (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan Qatar, Kuwait), which he began yesterday.
Tomorrow, Secretary General of the UN Kofi Annan, will visit Athens, where he will have meetings with Mr. Simitis and Mr. Papandreou, who will also meet with Cypriot President T. Papadopoulos on the same day.
Also, Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Giannitsis will be in S. Korea on Tuesday, where he will be representing the Prime Minister and President of the European Council at the swearing in of the country's new President.
On Thursday, February 27, Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou will head the troika visiting Washington in preparation for the EU-US Summit Meeting to be held in June.
On the same day, Mr. Giannitsis will receive Bulgarian Foreign Minister, responsible for European issues, M. Kuneva.
On Friday, Prime Minister Simitis will meet with the President of Romania Ion Iliesku in Athens.