|Friday, 22 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-02-25
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 TIME OF DECISIONS FOR CYPRUS HAS COMEAthens, 25 February 2003 (13:31 UTC+2)
The time for decisions to be made on the Cyprus issue has come, stated UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, upon arriving at the Eleftherios Venizelos airport in Athens.
Coming from Ankara, Mr. Annan said his discussions with Turkish leadership gave him courage and he explained that in Turkey they understood the urgency of the matter, they wanted a united Cyprus and they would help him in his efforts to find a solution.
The UN Secretary General arrived at the airport shortly before 12 noon and was greeted by Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou. Addressing the press, he underlined that it is an urgent need to agree on his reviewed plan. And that is because if we want Cyprus to join the EU as a united country, the reunification must take place by April 16, when the Treaty for the enlargement of the EU will be signed in Athens, with the incorporation of Cyprus and 9 other countries. For Mr. Annan that means that referendums must be held in both communities of the island by March 30.
We may not manage to come to an agreement by February 28, he said, but it must not take much longer, because we will not make the rest of the deadlines. Concerning his insistence on finding a solution now, he explained that if a united Cyprus does not join the EU, he does not know when another chance for the reunification of the island will present itself. There are significant opportunities and we must make every possible effort not to miss those opportunities, he stressed characteristically.
Mr. Annan pointed out that he is looking forward to his discussions in Athens with President of the Greek Republic Costis Stefanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Greece is an important factor, its role increased when it undertook the Presidency of the European Union and we saw it in action, he observed in reference to the extraordinary Summit on Iraq, which he attended after an invitation from Mr. Simitis.
 BUSH CONGRATULATES SIMITIS ON IRAQAthens, 25 February 2003 (15:55 UTC+2)
His congratulations to Costas Simitis on the way he handled the Iraq crisis as President of the European Union at the Summit Meeting of the 15, were given by US President George Bush, during a telephone communication he had with the Greek Prime Minister. On his side, Mr. Simitis repeated the position adopted by the 15 on the need to resolve the issue in the framework of the UN.
 INVESTIGATION OVER, CHARGES FOR BLACKMAILSAthens, 25 February 2003 (12:50 UTC+2)
Criminal charges against the publisher of the Eleftheri Ora newspaper Gr. Michalopoulos for blackmail and fraud will allegedly be proposed by DA Dimitris Papaggelopoulos, who was in charge of the investigation concerning the blackmails in the name of N17. Mr. Papaggelopoulos, who heard the testimonies of well-known businessmen and members of the clergy, turned in his findings today.
 EU DELEGATION TO US TO DISCUSS IRAQBrussels, 25 February 2003 (11:10 UTC+2)
Foreign Minister and President of the EU Minister's Council Giorgos Papandreou, High Representative of Common Foreign and Defense Policy Xavier Solana, and Commissioner on Foreign Relations Chris Patten, will travel to the US on Thursday, where they will have meetings with US Secretary of State Collin Powell and the US President's Security Consultant Condoleezza Rice, regarding the Iraq crisis.
In a press conference following the General Affairs Council meeting in Brussels, Mr. Papandreou underlined that the UN Security Council will decide the next moves. He mentioned that the 15 Foreign Ministers did not discuss a second resolution regarding Iraq, nor did they specify the criteria for the evaluation of Saddam Hussein's cooperation, because all related decisions will be taken into account by the Security Council.
Mr. Papandreou reconfirmed the common position of the 15 on the Iraq issue and stressed that the EU has no hidden agenda, what it is discussing and the only thing it is taking a position on is resolution 1441 concerning Iraq's disarmament, thus distancing himself from British statements, that stress that among their goals is the change of the Saddam Hussein regime.
Thus, he made it clear that the European opinion was surmised during the recent Summit Meeting, and aims at disarmament, not changing the Saddam Hussein regime, considering the use of violence a last resort, after all other means are exhausted and the UN inspectors have completed their work.
We are on a path for common foreign policy and our wish is for this course to continue and develop into a united policy, he stressed. Iraq is neither the beginning nor the end of the EU's history. We want to defend the unity and ideals of Europe. Iraq will be the reason to reinforce the course of deepening what we have begun, he pointed out.
At the Council's Working Lunch, participants also included the Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, and the present League President, Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmud Hammud, with whom there was, according to Mr. Papandreou, constructive dialogues both on Iraq as well as on continuing the peacekeeping procedure in the Middle East.
 EXPENSIVE MEASURES AND NEW WITNESSESAthens, 25 February 2003 (14:22 UTC+2)
The cost of the requirements for a secure trial for "November 17", which is scheduled to begin this Monday, has been estimated at approximately 2 million euro, by Minister of National Defense Ph. Petsalnikos, who inspected the related facilities at the Corydallos Penitentiary. The list of willing witnesses include international terrorist Carlos the Jackal, who is being held in a French prison, and Professor V. Aggelopoulos, who, in an interview, made a complaint of his 5 hour questioning by the FBI in New York.
 FIGHTING DRUGS RESPONSIBILITY FOR ALLAthens, 25 February 2003 (14:49 UTC+2)
A legislature initiative of decreasing the highest sentence for drug use to one year and the removal of the conviction from criminal records, was announced by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, after the meeting on the fight against drugs. The Prime Minister characterized reactions and views against the functioning of drug rehabilitation centers, as happened recently in Thessaloniki, inexcusable and unacceptable, placing the blame on local government.
 THE GREEK AGRICULTURE MINISTER IN PARISAthens, 25 February 2003 (20:19 UTC+2)
Greek Minister of Agriculture Giorgos Dris will be in Paris tomorrow at the invitation of his French counterpart.
Mr. Dris will visit the French capital on the occasion of the annual International Agriculture Exhibition accompanied by Undersecretaries of Agriculture Vangelis Argiris and Fotis Hatzimichalis.
At the initiative of the French Minister of Agriculture, tomorrow will be dedicated to the EU enlargement. Invited to visit the exhibition are the Ministers of Agriculture of the EU and their counterparts from the 10 acceding countries as well as the Ministers of Agriculture of Bulgaria and Romania.
 SIMITIS-ANNAN: DISCUSSION ON THE CYPRUS ISSUEAthens, 25 February 2003 (19:26 UTC+2)
The issue of the guarantee and security system in Cyprus will be discussed in the afternoon meeting of Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis with UN secretary general Kofi Annan in Athens. The statement was made by Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas, who pointed out that Mr. Annan will raise the issue of the procedure for the new memorandum on the Cyprus issue and the continuation of the relevant talks.
Mr. Protopapas reiterated that the negotiations have not moved ahead because of the stance adopted by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots. He pointed out that in spite of the Erdogan statements, referring to a solution of the issue during next month, the Turkish Cypriot side remains intransigent
Regarding the Greek stance, he reiterated the will of Greece and the Cypriot Republic for the continuation of the dialogue. Mr. Protopapas also stressed that the solution of the political problem in Cyprus is not associated with Cyprus' EU accession. The statement was made in response to an earlier statement made by Mr. Annan according to which, it would be good if a united Cyprus became a member of the EU.
 LOVERDOS-SUMARAC TELEPHONE COMMUNICATIONAthens, 25 February 2003 (18:18 UTC+2)
Greek Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Andreas Loverdos, who is in Beirut, had a telephone communication today with Serb Republic Minister of Public Works Dragoslav Sumarac. The two discussed the implementation course of the Greek Plan for the Economic Reconstruction of the Balkans.
Both expressed satisfaction regarding the proposals submitted within the framework of the plan which include eight projects, setting as a priority the reconstruction of Road Axis 10.
 RECONCILING FOR THE FUTUREThessaloniki, 25 February 2003 (18:02 UTC+2)
The launch of the program Reconciling for the Future was announced by the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeastern Europe. The program is under the auspices of the Greek EU Presidency and is co-organized with the Stability Pact on Southeastern Europe with the support of the Foreign Ministries of Greece, Norway and Sweden.
The first stage of the program was launched on January 20 and provided for the creation of an electronic dialogue platform on the Internet at www.reconcilingforthefuture.org to examine issues concerning the prospects and problems in the Balkans.
The dialogue results will be presented in the conference organized by the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeastern Europe to take place in Thessaloniki on April 3-6 with the participation of distinguished figures from the Balkans and the EU. Among the conference participants will be representatives of international organizations, non governmental organizations and youth organizations.
The program also aspires to promote the basic principles of a reconciliation framework based on dialogue as a means to settle differences. Also, it provides for the creation of a data base that will include every organization dealing with southeastern Europe aimed at improving cooperation between them and making their funding easier.
 LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 25 February 2003 (17:50 UTC+2)
Big losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -2.42% at 1.623,34 points, while the volume of transactions was at 94.9 million euros.
The losses were the result of the pressures applied on the banking sector and the plunge recorded in the European stock markers.
Of the stocks trading today, 312 recorded losses and only 21 had gains, while the value of 46 stocks remained unchanged.
 SIMITIS-BUSH TELEPHONE COMMUNICATIONAthens, 25 February 2003 (17:43 UTC+2)
US President George Bush had a telephone communication today with Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Kostas Simitis.
Mr. Bush congratulated Mr. Simitis for the way he handled the issue of Iraq on the occasion of the informal EU Summit meeting convened by Mr. Simitis, who is currently holding the EU rotating presidency. President Bush also pointed out that the US wants good relations with Europe and stressed that he works and will continue to work toward this direction.
On the issue of Iraq, Mr. Simitis reiterated the European position according to which, the issue should be handled by the United Nations, while he called on Mr. Bush to persuade Turkey to work for a solution in Cyprus.
 CONFERENCE ON THE EUROPEAN CONSTITUTIONThessaloniki, 25 February 2003 (16:52 UTC+2)
An international conference on the Prospect of a European Constitution will take place in Thessaloniki's Aristotle University on February 28 and March 1 on the occasion of the Greek EU Presidency, the European Convention on the Future of Europe and the 2004 Inter-governmental Conference.
Distinguished jurists and political scientists from Greece and abroad will discuss issues concerning Europe's institutional future with an emphasis to its constitutional construction.
Democracy and the fundamental rights in the European Union, the voting of the constitutional treaty and the institutional architecture of the future Europe will be among the issues discussed by the conference participants.
The conference will be held under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and it will be opened by Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos.
 CONFERENCE ON CULTURE, COPYRIGHT AND INFORMATION SOCIETYAthens, 25 February 2003 (16:27 UTC+2)
A European Conference on Culture, Copyright and Information Society takes place in Athens on April 7-8, in the context of the events organised by the Greek Ministry of Culture on the occasion of the Greek EU Presidency.
The relation between the information society and culture, the international dimension of copyright in the digital environment, acquis communautaire and the freedom of expression, and the collective management of copyright in the international environment, are just a few of the questions to be examined by the conference participants.
 A SIMPLE HISTORICAL MATTERSkopje, 25 February 2003 (15:52 UTC+2)
The issue is for historians to study, answered the US to a FYROM note in which Scopje expressed dissatisfaction with recent resolutions, sponsored by the US-Canada Panmacedonian Association and adopted by certain American States, which recognize the Hellenic origin of the ancient Macedonians.
"The issue is for historians to study. What is clear according to the Constitution, is that the US foreign policy is dictated by the federal government", read a State Department announcement published in the "Dnevnik" newspaper of Scopje
In the note of protest to the US, the FYROM government had stressed: "The government considers the issue an insult to the Macedonian people, all people of Slavic origin, and all those living in northern Greece who consider themselves Macedonians".
Regarding further FYROM worries as regards to the how the resolutions would affect the stance of the US on the name issue of FYROM, the State Department pointed out that "taking into consideration the present relations between FYROM and Greece, we are satisfied with the excellent level of bilateral cooperation that they have achieved. We will continue to support the negotiations being carried out under the auspices of the United Nations, in order for the differences on the name issue to be solved in a way that is acceptable to both sides".