|Saturday, 14 December 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-04-18
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 SIMITIS IN CYPRUSAthens, 18 April 2003 (09:22 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Costas Simitis will be traveling to Cyprus today, opening the round of Presidency visits to the capitals of the new member-states, after the accession treaty. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan did not rule out the possibility of undertaking a new initiative if he makes sure there is political will, according to statements he made after his meeting with the Prime Minister. Mr. Simitis has called the leaders of the Turkish Cypriot parties to a meeting. R. Denktash answered negatively. Ankara expressed a dedication to the solution according to the statements of Prime Minister T. Erdogan and Foreign Minister Am. Gul.
 FINDINGS ON ALIAKMONAS AND TEMBI ACCIDENTSKaterini, 18 April 2003 (11:14 UTC+2)
The bad condition of the KTEL bus tires in combination with the slipperiness of the road, were the causes of the accident on the Aliakmonas river bridge that caused the death of 16 passenger, according to the findings of the specialists.
It was found that the condition of the tires, specifically the way in which they had been placed, with different hardness, due to age, wear and difference in the height of the treads, resulted in dangerous driving and a decrease in the effectiveness of the breaks.
However, Thessaloniki KTEL representatives questioned the point of the report mentioning the tires' condition.
The bus had also been tampered with in order to indicate a lower speed than that it was actually traveling at, the so called thief, which was not functioning at the time of the accident.
According to the findings, there is nothing to indicate that there was a collision with another vehicle.
Meanwhile, the findings of the report on the Tembi accident, in which 21 high school students were killed, will be delivered in 20 days at the latest.
However, according to information, the accident was most probably caused by the metal poles holding the wooden planks the truck was carrying, in place.
The overweight cargo of the truck and the pressure put on protective metal poles on the sides by the planks, made the poles bend.
Initial findings in the truck show that it also had a thief installed, thus not indicating the correct speed, and that its tires were also worn.
 ECONOMY LOOKING UP AFTER THE WARAthens, 18 April 2003 (09:22 UTC+2)
A de-escalation of inflation due to the drop in the price of oil was foreseen within the next month by the Minister of Finance Nikos Christodoulakis, during the briefing of the relevant Parliamentary Committee regarding the course of the economy and the consequences of the war. All those people that you say privatized the stock market for their own interests, are free? Why aren't measures being taken?, asked former Prime Minister Constantinos Mitsotakis.
 GIANNIS LATSIS DEADAthens, 18 April 2003 (11:10 UTC+2)
There was extensive coverage of the death of Greek businessman Giannis Latsis in the international press today, who died yesterday at the age of 93. He was the 14th of 15 children, became one of the most successful Greek businessmen whose activities over the last few years had past into the hands of his son, Spyros. He was a good Greek, he had everything you wanted in a friend. The Minister of the Press characterized him as an important personality. He loved Greece passionately and was interested in it, stated former Prime Minister Constantinos Mitsotakis. Mr. Karamanlis sent a telegram expressing his condolences.
 THE EU JUSTICE TROIKA MEETING WITH THE WESTERN BALKAN COUNTRIESThessaloniki, 18 April 2003 (19:41 UTC+2)
The first ministerial level meeting of the EU Justice and Interior Affairs Troika with the western Balkan countries as well as, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, will take place in Thessaloniki on Tuesday, April 22.
The meeting is held within the framework of the Greek EU Presidency and Greece will be represented by Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos and Minister of Public Order Michalis Chrisochoidis.
In the meeting will be discussed, among others, ways to combat organized crime in the region of southeastern Europe as well as, issues concerning asylum, immigration and the cooperation between the European Union and Balkan countries.
In the meeting will participate the representatives of the EU Troika countries, as well as representatives from Albania, Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, FYROM and representatives of Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.
 ARMENIA'S TASNAK PARTY PRESIDENT VISITS THE GREEK PARLIAMENTAthens, 18 April 2003 (19:20 UTC+2)
Armenia's TASNAK Party President Armen Rustamian, who visited Greek Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis accompanied by members of the National Armenian Committee in Greece, expressed the joy and satisfaction of the Armenian Parliament and the Armenian people for the historic event of Cyprus' EU accession.
Mr. Rustamian congratulated the Parliament President for the successful way the Greek EU Presidency is held and the excellent organizing of the EU enlargement Summit meeting in Athens.
Mr. Kaklamanis underlined the old and strong ties between the Greek and the Armenian people and stressed the importance of Cyprus' accession into the European structures both for the security of the Cyprus Republic and the favorable conclusion of the efforts for the solution of the Cyprus problem. He also referred to the very good relations shared by the two Parliaments, pointing out that there is room for further improvement at a bilateral and international level.
Mr. Kaklamanis expressed Greece's support to Armenia's efforts for the reconstruction of its economy and the development of democratic institutions which will be the basic factors in its successful course to the European Union.
 PROTOPAPAS ON POWELL'S STATEMENTAthens, 18 April 2003 (18:52 UTC+2)
We are happy with the statement made by US Secretary of State Colin Powell that Turkey should meet the Copenhagen criteria, stressed Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas and reiterated that Turkey has nothing to gain by continuing to display intransigence which is an obstacle to its interests.
Mr. Protopapas also stressed that Turkey should get rid of views like those expressed by Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and it should review its stance and contribute to the fair solution of the Cyprus problem within the framework of the United Nations.
 MEASURES TO ATTRACT FOREIGN INVESTORS TO UKRAINEThessaloniki, 18 April 2003 (18:44 UTC+2)
The Greek businessmen appear hesitant toward the Ukrainian market as the high import tariffs and the bureaucratic obstacles continue to put a break to the trade and investment activity, while the absence of a regular sea-line between Thessaloniki and Odessa makes the transport of goods difficult.
However, Ukraine is expected to climb many steps on the list with the preferences of the Greek businessmen in the following years. As it was made known today by Ukrainian Finance Minister Mr. Choroshkovsky, the Kiev government appears determined to lift many of the counter-incentives that discourage investors.
The Ukrainian official stressed that the taxes on investments will be cut by 20% in 2004, while import tariffs will be limited to 15% from 20% they are today. Furthermore, measures will be adopted against bureaucracy, while the Ukrainian Parliament has approved a long-term strategy plan for economic growth. Productivity is expected to be increased by 6-7% in 2003 and by 8% in 2004.
Also, the considerable size of the Ukrainian market -51 million consumers- and the fact that the country gave a European orientation to its policy are expected to gradually change the scene preparing the ground for the development of profitable business plans.
According to figures presented by the President of Thessaloniki's Commerce and Industry Chamber, Mr. Dimitris Bakatselos, who opened the proceedings of the Greek-Ukrainian business forum in Thessaloniki, the Greek exports to Ukraine reached 78 million euros in 2002 compared to the Ukrainian exports that reached 325 million euros. Also, the Greek investments in Ukraine are no more than 60-70 estimated at 140 million euros.
 POSITIVE RESPONSE BY DUISENBERG TO SIMITIS' LETTERAthens, 18 April 2003 (17:32 UTC+2)
The European Central Bank President Wim Duisenberg gave a positive response to the letter by Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Kostas Simitis, who was asking him to remain in his position until the new ECB President takes over his duties after he is elected.
In a letter sent to the President of the Council in February 2002, the president of the European Central Bank Mr. Duisenberg made known his intention of retiring from his position on 9 July 2003, before his term ended. In the same letter, Mr. Duisenberg said that he would be disposed, if he were asked, to prolong his stay in order to facilitate the smooth transition to the next presidency.
In the face of developments from then on and following consultations with the other member-states of the Eurozone, Mr. Simitis send a letter to Mr. Duisenberg asking him to prolong his term till the new president is elected in office.
Mr. Duisenberg replied that he accepts the proposal and thanked Mr. Simitis for the confidence of the European Council.
 THE PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE HONORARY CITIZEN OF THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 18 April 2003 (17:25 UTC+2)
Thessaloniki's City Council declared Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma honorary citizen of Thessaloniki and Mayor Vasilis Papageorgopoulos honored him with the city's Gold Medal in a formal ceremony held in the City Hall at noon today.
During the ceremony, Thessaloniki Mayor Papageorgopoulos and Dnipropetrovsk Mayor Ivan Kulitsienko signed, in the presence of President Kuchma, an agreement for the twinning and cooperation of the two cities.
The Mayor of Thessaloniki pointed out that Greece and Ukraine are linked with century-old ties, cultural, historical and religious. He praised the personality of Mr. Kuchma and pledged to support a close cooperation between Thessaloniki and Dnipropetrovsk.
The Ukrainian President thanked the Mayor of Thessaloniki for the honor made to him and assured that he will personally watch the materialization of the twinning agreement, stressing that Dnipropetrovsk is the city where he grew up.
The Mayor of Dnipropetrovsk stressed that the two cities have a lot in common (population, size, etc.) and expressed the belief that the cooperation with the city of Thessaloniki will be mutually beneficial.
 PASCHALIDIS: GREECE IS ON UKRAINE'S SIDEThessaloniki, 18 April 2003 (17:20 UTC+2)
Greece supports Ukraine's efforts to become part of the European Union structures, stressed Macedonia-Thrace Minister Giorgos Paschalidis, who gave a formal luncheon in honor of Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and the government delegation accompanying him in his visit to Thessaloniki. Mr. Paschalidis reminded that the first EU-Ukraine association agreement was signed in 1994 when the rotating EU Presidency was again held by Greece.
On the occasion of yesterday's European Conference in Athens, he pointed out that the divisions that were left behind by WWII are, in essence, overcome and together we form a society of values. The whole European continent can be a single economic space with respect to the special multi-cultural characteristics of each country, said Mr. Paschalidis.
Mr. Paschalidis said that the draft plan of the new constitutional treaty of Europe will be presented in Thessaloniki in June 2003. He said that we want a strong and effective Europe not only at an economic but at a social and political level. He also referred to the fact that over 200.000 Greeks live in Ukraine, mainly in the region of Mariupolis, and added that there is room for further development of the economic and trade relations between Greece and Ukraine.
 ATHENS OLYMPICS BEGIN IN THESSALONIKIThessaloniki, 18 April 2003 (15:13 UTC+2)
Minister of Culture Evaggelos Venizelos had a meeting with a delegation of directing officials of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games Organizing Committee. The main issue discussed at the meeting was the coordination of their actions and the checking of various programs prior to their completion.
However, Mr. Venizelos revealed that the Olympics will begin in Thessaloniki on August 11, 2004, with the football games. The Olympic Games will begin in Thessaloniki and will offer the image of the Olympics to the whole world. Essentially, it will be the first impression made by the Olympics, stressed Mr. Venizelos, to continue: We want everything to be functioning flawlessly. For Thessaloniki, 2004 will set the groundwork for (the EXPO) 2008. It is the great challenge in which we must succeed. The General Secretariat of the Games has dealt with all bodies and made all necessary contacts. Also, issues such as accommodations, accreditation, the Press Office, volunteerism, doping and other issues. The results of the meetings were satisfactory. In order to succeed we want active participation of all bodies, while all choices on crucial issues have been made.
Regarding volunteerism, Mr. Venizelos stressed: Volunteerism is moving along at a satisfactory rate. It is very important that we have volunteer doctors and nursing staff, which will be very useful. We will try to take advertisements off the streets, pay attention to cleanliness and beautify our kiosks.
Finally, he referred to the greatest problem Thessaloniki has to face. The greatest problem is traffic. We want to solve this problem. With proper policing, good traffic lights and sigh posts, and adequate parking spaces, the problem will be solved to a great degree. And they will have more positive results that a the tube and the underwater tunnel.
 SIMITIS IS ON A VISIT TO CYPRUSLarnaca, 18 April 2003 (20:26 UTC+2)
Greek Prime Minister and European Council President Kostas Simitis arrived in Cyprus today for a 24-hour visit. Mr. Simitis and the Greek delegation were received at Larnaca International Airport by the Cyprus Republic President Tassos Papadopoulos.
The visit of Mr. Simitis to Cyprus is the first he makes to the new EU member states as the President of the European Council.
Later today, Cyprus Republic President Tassos Papadopoulos will give a formal dinner in honor of the Greek Prime Minister.
Tomorrow, Mr. Simitis will have talks with the Cyprus Republic President and then he will have a meeting with all the political party leaders represented in Parliament.
He will visit the Cypriot Parliament to meet with Parliament President Dimitris Christofias and he will address the Parliament plenary session.
Tomorrow afternoon, Mr. Simitis will meet with the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot political party leaders and the hierarchy of the Church of Cyprus.