|Monday, 27 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-04-10
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 GREEK EU-BALKAN BRIDGEBelgrade, 10 April 2003 (09:22 UTC+2)
The EU-Balkan Summit Meeting in Thessaloniki this June, will be a landmark in the European course of Balkan countries, stated Prime Minister Costas Simitis after the completion of the Summit Meeting of SE European countries in Belgrade. Mr. Simitis repeated that Greece will have a leading role in bringing the region's countries closer to the EU.
 DENOUNCING VIOLENCEAthens, 10 April 2003 (13:47 UTC+2)
Alleged leader of the 17N terrorist group Alexandros Giotopoulos, moved to a compete denouncement of violence, when, in response to a DA question, replied that he disagrees with all actions because the use of violence corresponds to the political atmosphere. For me, these people do not exist. I do not care what they say, responded the mother of Thanos Axarlian, who lost his life in the attempted murder of the then Minister of National Economy G. Paleokrassas, when D. Koufontinas and the attorney of the Xeros brothers expressed their sorrow to her on the death of her son. K. Telios confirmed his presence in this action as well.
 THE STUDENTS CAST THEIR VOTEAthens, 10 April 2003 (15:16 UTC+2)
An participation increase of approximately 10% was noted in yesterday's university student elections, in which the ND related student party DAP-NDFK came first for the 17th year running. Student parties agree on the positioning, but not on the percentages and number of votes. The glorious victory of the students shows us the way to tomorrow, stated the Secretary of ND's Central Committee, V. Meimarakis.
 SIMITIS ON CYPRUS AND IRAQAthens, 10 April 2003 (20:23 UTC+2)
Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis referred to the developments in Iraq and the meeting he had yesterday with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Mr. Simitis said in the cabinet meeting today that the war in Iraq is nearing to its end and the central and vital role the UN should play will have to be clarified. He said that the EU believes that the UN must be involved as soon as possible in the political and economic reconstruction of Iraq because in a different case it will not be able to influence the situation.
Regarding Cyprus, on the occasion of the meeting he had in Belgrade yesterday with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mr. Simitis stated that Greece is firm to its position that any discussion on Cyprus will be made within the framework of the UN.
Mr. Simitis stated that Mr. Erdogan suggested a five-party summit for the issue to be discussed by the three guarantor powers and the two communities on the island. The Greek government rejected the proposal stating that talks should be held under the auspices of the UN.
The Greek Prime Minister stated to his Turkish counterpart that no solution is possible if Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, who does not want to recognize a single Cypriot state, does not change his position.
 SIMITIS: THE GOAL IS TO PROTECT THE INTERESTS OF THE FARMERSAthens, 10 April 2003 (18:28 UTC+2)
The government's goal is to protect the interests of the farmers, stated Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis after the cabinet meeting today on the revision of the EU Common Farm Policy.
The Prime Minister stated that the goal is to protect the interests of the overwhelming majority, namely over 90% of the Greek farmers.
The government backs the gradual decrease of subsidies to big producers to secure the continuation of subsidies for small and medium sized producers representing 90% of the Greek farmers.
This position, stated Mr. Simitis, was reflected on the formal proposal of the European Commission for the revision of the Common Farm Policy. He said that the Greek government is ready to give a fight in the negotiations for the specific position to be ratified by the EU and become the core of the new Common Farm Policy.
He said that in the past three years, the real per capita income of the farmers increased by 14%, while in 2002 the farmers received the biggest compensations ever in the history of the country to cover the damages caused by natural disasters.
The Prime Minister pointed out again, that there are secured funds for the support of agriculture to last until 2013. On the problems that will arise in the sector of agriculture as a result of the new EU member states, Mr. Simitis said that the goal is to give less and less subsidies to big producers in all EU member states.
 GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 10 April 2003 (17:26 UTC+2)
The investments made in banking sector stocks and the reversal of the downward tendency recorded in the European markets contributed to the upward course in the Athens Stock Exchange.
The general index rose to +0.26% at 1.583,78 points, while the volume of transactions was satisfactory at 95.2 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 176 recorded gains and 142 had losses, while the value of 57 stocks remained unchanged.
 THE EU CONDEMNS THE VIOLENCE IN GAZAAthens, 10 April 2003 (15:56 UTC+2)
The EU Presidency expressed deep concern over the recent events in Gaza in a statement it has issued and calls on the Israeli government to show self-restraint.
The Presidency of the European Union expresses deep concern on the recent events in Gaza. In such a critical moment for the region and shortly after the recent appointment of a Palestinian Prime Minister, we consider that extra-judicial executions, which also caused severe casualties among innocent civilians, are rather unwise and most counterproductive. We call upon the Israeli government to show ultimate restraint and to avoid such actions, which can derail any effort to reach a peaceful solution to the conflict.
 GIOTOPOULOS DENOUNCES VIOLENCEAthens, 10 April 2003 (15:15 UTC+2)
Alleged leader of the 17N terrorist group Alexandros Giotopoulos denied any implication in the attempted murder of former Minister of National Economy Ioannis Paleokrassas, in July 1992, during which an innocent bystander, Thanos Axarlian, was killed.
The court DA, Christos Lambrou, after the testimony of Axarlian's mother, asked Alexandros Giotopoulos if he was implicated in the specific terrorist organization action.
Alexandros Giotopoulos denied any implication, supporting that he disagrees with all actions because the use of violence corresponds to the political atmosphere.
After the moving testimony of Thanos Axarlian's mother, the defense attorney of the Xeros brothers, Giorgos Agiostratitis, expressed his sorrow to the witness, as did Dimitris Koufontinas, after receiving the permission to speak. However, Mrs. Axarlian responded: These people do not exist for me. I do not care what they say.
The would be victim of the attack, Mr. Paleokrassas, also testified today, stating that the terrorists were intent on killing him, disregarding whether there were any other co-passengers in the car.
Mr. Paleokrassas was obviously emotional and referred to the death of Thanos Axarlian from the explosion of the rocket propelled against his car. He stated he knew that he was being targeted by terrorists and had taken security measures, with the provisions of the police.
On the day of the attack, he was in the driver's seat, his driver was in the seat next to him, while his wife and a friend of their daughter were in the back seat. We were lucky not to be killed. The rocket only just missed the car and exploded on the ground, said Mr. Paleokrassas.
In answering a question of court President Michalis Margaritis on whether his death would serve as a lever for political change, the former minister responded negatively, while regarding the declaration sent by the organization after the attack was made, he supported: What is mentioned in the declaration is something between incoherent gibberish and fantasy.
Meanwhile, Constantinos Telios admitted he was present at the attack against Mr. Paleokrassas, however, after expressing his sorrow for the death of Thanos Axarlian, he stated: I was present in the action, but I do not wish to state anything else in my testimony.
Further charges against ELA
Additional charges have been set against the four suspects awaiting trial in the ELA terrorist organization case, by Special Examiner Leonidas Zervobeakos.
Specifically, the charges against ELA's activities from 1986 onwards, include murder and attempted murder, possession of explosives and grand theft, and were set against Aggelatos Kanas, Christos Tsigaridas, Costas Agapiou and Irene Athanassaki.
The four suspects have until next week to prepare their testimonies before Mr. Zervobeakos, beginning with Mrs. Athanassaki, who is expected to testify next Tuesday.
 SIMITIS FOR UN IN POST-SADDAM ERAAthens, 10 April 2003 (15:14 UTC+2)
The need for the role of the UN to be clarified and underlined in the post Saddam Era in Iraq, was stressed by Prime Minister Costas Simitis, during the Cabinet meeting. According to information, the role of the Greek Presidency of the European Union in Iraq was also explored.
Mr. Simitis underlined that the Greek Presidency's position is that the UN must play the central role in the reconstruction of Iraq, and not only in providing humanitarian aid, as the US propose. For that reason, according to the Prime Minister, discussions must take place in the framework of the EU and the UN.
The role of the UN will be discussed at the general affairs meeting next week. The issue will be raised to the council by Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou.
 SIMITIS ON THE INTERBALKAN MEETINGBelgrade, 10 April 2003 (15:15 UTC+2)
The will of Balkan states that are not members of the European Union to join, and the leading role that Greece will play in the procedure of the EU's cooperation with these countries, was mentioned by Prime Minister Costas Simitis after the end of the works at the annual meeting of Southeastern European countries in Belgrade.
During the press conference, the Prime Minister pointed out that the meeting in Thessaloniki this June will be a landmark for the European course of Balkan countries.
On the Iraq issue, he stressed that there was a convergence of the views of Balkan country leaders as far as the decisive role of the UN in the reconstruction of Iraq is concerned, as well as to the need to preserve Iraq's territorial integrity and making no changes in its boarders.
The Accession Treaty of the 10 new member-states that is to be signed in Athens on April 16 was also mentioned. As he said, the 16th of April is a day of celebration for Greece, because a dream is coming true, Cyprus' accession to the EU, and a step is being made towards consolidating peace in the region.
Mr. Simitis stressed that everyone is free to protest the war on that day, noting that both events can take place calmly and peacefully.
The leaders that participated in the Interbalkan Conference also agreed that there must be closer cooperation in the future, in the sectors of trade, transports, infrastructure construction, as well as in the fight against organized crime.
Mr. Simitis mentioned that Greece will play a leading part in this cooperation procedure between SE European countries and the EU, and that is why these countries look to Greece for cooperation and help.
Regarding his meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the margin of the Summit, he stressed that they discussed issues concerning both countries, the problems of Iraq and of the Cyprus issue.
On the developments in Iraq and the problems of order and security, as well as for the void in authority that has been created in the country, Mr. Simitis stressed that in the latest Council in Brussels, the EU decided that the UN play the main role.
He also stressed that Mr. Erdogan and he agreed on an exchange of views on the Iraq issue, because Turkey supports certain common positions with Greece, that Iraq's territorial integrity must remain intact, that there is a standing principle in there being no change in its boarders, that the UN play a part and that that part secures the right of the Iraqi people to take advantage of their country's wealth and decide on its own fortune.
The Prime Minister was asked if the Iraq issue would be discussed with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in Athens on April 16, on occasion of the signing of the Accession Treaty, and he answered that Mr. Annan's visit is unrelated to the Iraq issue.
He noted that on Wednesday, the EU's 15 will talk with Giscard d' Estaing on the Convention for the Future of Europe. On Wednesday the Accession Treaty will be signed and on Thursday morning the European Convention will meet and discuss about Europe, what the position of Europe is in the world, and what its relations are to its neighboring countries.
 MEETING OF THE EU MINISTERS OF AGRICULTURELuxembourg, 10 April 2003 (17:01 UTC+2)
Issues concerning the sector of fisheries such as, the protection of fishery reserves and fishery terms concerning the different categories of fishing-boats, as well as issues of agricultural interest, were examined in the Council of Ministers of Agriculture meeting held in Luxembourg on April 8.
The meeting was chaired by Greek Agriculture Minister Giorgos Dris, who called on the EU assistance to restore the damages caused by freezing temperatures in Greece.
They discussed a Commission statement on the improvement of scientific and technical advisors for the EU fishery management, while a debate was held on the amendment of the regulation that refers to fishery terms in EU waters covering different EU fishing-boats' categories.
A briefing was made by the Italian delegation on the scheduled Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Agriculture and Fishery that will take place in Italy at the end of the year. The Greek delegation informed the Council that a conference will take place in Athens on May 29-30 on ways to develop mariculture.
European Commissioner Frants Fischler briefed the Council on the developments in the World Trade Organization concerning the negotiation details of a new agricultural agreement. It was made clear that it was impossible to meet the deadline of March 31 set in the Doha Summit. However, efforts will continue until the ministerial meeting in Cancoon next September.
They also discussed issues concerning the dried animal feed and the ministerial conference on the protection of forests in Europe to take place in Vienna on April 28-30. They examined issues concerning public health and the health of animals as well as food and animal feed regulations.