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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 03-12-09
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 NO EXTRADITION TO THE USAthens, 9 December 2003 (11:17 UTC+2)
The completion of the 17N trial was received with satisfaction yesterday, while the DA's proposal for the sentences of the 15 convicted suspects will be announced on Wednesday. Three defendants are facing life sentences and alleviating circumstances are recognized for another four. Minister of Justice Philippos Petsalnikos categorically ruled out the possibility of any defendant or suspect being extradited to the US. His reassurance that the whole operational branch of 17N has been eradicated was given by Government Spokesperson Christos Protopapas. Washington will wait for the sentences to comment, stated US Ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller.
 GREECE-FYROM AGREEMENT FOR CONSULATESThessaloniki, 9 December 2003 (11:21 UTC+2)
The agreement for the creation of a consular office of Greece in Bitola, FYROM, and a corresponding FYROM office in Thessaloniki, will be signed today in Skopje by deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos and his FYROM counterpart, Fuad Hasanovic.
The opening of the consular offices had been announced last week by Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou in Brussels, in the margin of the meeting for NATO member-state Foreign Ministers, where he had met with FYROM Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva.
Today, Mr. Loverdos will be received by the President of FYROM Boris Trajkovski, Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski, Vice President of the government Rudmila Sekerinska and Minister of Finance Stevce Jakimovski.
 RENEWAL IN SAE'S NEW ERAThessaloniki, 9 December 2003 (14:18 UTC+2)
Renewal and Representation in a New Era with a New Breath is the main motto of the 5th World SAE (Council of Hellenism Abroad), which aims at becoming a landmark in the organization's history and marking a new course of high standards in the 21st century for Hellenism everywhere, as was pointed out by deputy Foreign Minister Ioannis Magriotis.
From December 11 to December 14, the capital of Hellenism abroad will once again welcome 800 participants from all over the world.
The convention will contribute to the renewal procedure of SAE and the securing of the greatest representation possible. Thus, for the first time, participants include representatives of Greeks in Albania and Istanbul, as the observers' rule is being abolished, one of the innovations of this year's convention. Also, many new, distinguished organizations will also participate, which had been barred till recently due to the ecclesiastic problem in Australia's Greek abroad organizations, such as the communities of Sidney and Adelaide.
During the three day works there will be a review of the important work of the past two years and the definition of the goals for the following four years, since according to the executive order of the Constitution on SAE, promoted by the Foreign Ministry, SAE World Conventions will be held every 4 years.
Special attention will be paid to the development of the SAE regions, where the main focus will be the meetings every two years. This essential decentralization will contribute to the better promotion of SAE in the basis of Hellenism abroad and the consolidation of Hellenism abroad organizations. Also, the Hellenism Networks are being institutionalized (Youth, Science, Business, Culture and Women); they are considered important in approaching Greeks abroad, which had been left our till this year.
It should be noted that expenses this year have been cut down drastically, so that the funds may be used in other SAE programs and activities. Also, the name of SAE will change, as the term living abroad does not cover all Hellenism abroad. The decision will be made at the Convention.
The major institutional changes in organized Hellenism in 140 countries abroad, will be raised for discussion at the convention. The draft for the organization, functioning rights and responsibilities of SAE, has already been sent to Hellenism organizations abroad, so that they may make their own comments and observations.
A significant point is the securing of SAE's consulting and proposing role. The law will secure full cooperation on the side of public administration and the broader social welfare organizations for the achievement of SAE's goals. For example, SAE itself will be able to form NGOs in various countries around the world, in order to carry out humanitarian activity and programs, as well as to have the flexibility to participate in various European programs.
Major efforts are being made for the financial independence of SAE, as participation in the National Fund of Greeks Abroad (ETO), which was adopted at the 4th SAE World Convention, was made mandatory. President of SAE has often pointed out that the ETO is what will mark the future and character of SAE.
 DEFENSIVE SUBSCRIPTION WITHOUT AUTOMATIONBrussels, 9 December 2003 (11:18 UTC+2)
Objections regarding the automation of the provision for mutual subscription were expressed by 4 EU member-states at the Council for General Affairs and Foreign Relations of the Union, which was looking into the issue of European defense. The 4, as Mr. Papandreou said, asked that mutual subscription not be put into effect automatically, but after the request of the member-state being attacked and the decision of the rest of the member-states.
 THE CURTAIN CALLAthens, 9 December 2003 (12:31 UTC+2)
Justice has spoken, turning a page in the great drama of domestic terrorism, stated Minister of National Defense Giannos Papantoniou commenting on the court ruling in the 17 November case. We are obliged to fully respect the decisions of independent Greek justice, underlined Mr. Papantoniou.
Thus comes the curtain call in the trial of the suspected members of the 17 November terrorist organization, which ended with the ruling of the court yesterday. Tomorrow the DA is expected to propose sentences for those found guilty, while he will appeal against those found innocent.
Of the 19 suspects, four were found not guilty: Giannis Serifis, Anestis Papanastasiou, Aggeliki Sotiropoulou and Theologos Psaradelis, with the last two released from the Corydallos Penitentiary after several months of incarceration.
The court also recognized the sincere remorse of Patroklos Tselentis, Sotiris Condylis, Costas Telios and Thomas Serifis, who will receive shorter sentences. In contrast, serious sentences are expected for the rest, with punishment that will probably reach life imprisonment.
Alexandros Giotopoulos is the only defendant found guilty of instigating the crimes in all homicide cases and all 17N actions.
The USA welcome the conviction of '17 November', stated State Department Spokesperson Richard Boucher. When asked if the US will ask for the extradition of those accused of the murder of US citizens, Mr. Boucher referred the question to the Justice Department.
He also stressed that Washington will have further comments when Greek justice has decided on the sentences. US Ambassador to Athens Thomas Miller made no comment on the issue of extradition.
 RESPONSE TO THE FANARIAthens, 9 December 2003 (12:15 UTC+2)
The Standing Holy Synod of the Church of Greece has been in session since early this morning in the Petrakis Convent in order to decide on what position should be, after it received the response of Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, with which he rejected the proposal on the Metropolises of the so called New Countries, while he asked that the Act of 1928 be fully respected. Archbishop Christodoulos will inform the Hierarchs of the content of the letter he received last week from the Metropolite of Tyroloi, Panteleimon, and will then discuss the next steps to be taken by the Church of Greece.
 4 ARSON ATTACKS IN THESSALONIKI LAST NIGHTAthens, 9 December 2003 (11:34 UTC+2)
Four arson attacks with homemade explosive devices were carried out in the early morning hours in local PASOK organization and OTE offices and super markets. The explosions took place within six minutes causing alarmto the residents, small damages and the mobilization of the police and fire fighting authorities.
As was announced by the Thessaloniki General Police Direction, the first explosion was noted at 03:04 outside the local PASOK offices in Kallithea, where unknown parties placed three small gas canisters and set them alight. Almost at the same time came the second explosion at the local PASOK offices in Faliro, where two small butane canisters were used.
Two minutes later, an explosive device that consisted of 2 gas canisters exploded outside the offices of OTE in Faliro, which is very close to local PASOK organization offices, while at 03:10 the unknown arsonists attacked a supermarket in the same way in East Thessaloniki.
Although the damages from the explosion are limited the police appreciated that the four attacks were carried out based on a carefully organized plan.
 REDISTRIBUTION WITHOUT LOSS FOR 3RD CSFAthens, 9 December 2003 (11:19 UTC+2)
The final form of the progress report for the 3rd Community Support Framework is being decided on by the observation committee in Thessaloniki. The progress of the works was discussed yesterday in a meeting the Prime Minister had with relevant ministers, after which Minister of Development Akis Tsochatzopoulos said that the ministry has secured further funds from the redistribution. There is no fear for any funds of the 3rd CSF being lost, stated Minister of Finanace Nikos Christodoulakis. Greece can offer 2 billion euro for the programs of the 3rd CSF in the countryside, said deputy Minister of Finance Chr. Pachtas.
 LOVERDOS ON GREECE-FYROM CONSUL AGREEMENTSkopje, 9 December 2003 (16:10 UTC+2)
Deputy Foreign Minister Andreas Loverdos and his FYROM counterpart Fuad Hasanovic signed an agreement in Skopje this afternoon for the creation of offices for the consular, financial and trade affairs of Greece in Bitola and FYROM in Thessaloniki.
In statements he made to ET-3 state television after the agreement was signed, Mr. Loverdos said that a joint statement between Greece and FYROM was signed for the founding and functioning of offices for the consular, financial and trade interests in Bitola and Thessaloniki. This answers a request of the business communities of Northern Greece and all people, for faster daily transactions.
The deputy Minister also pointed out that these offices must begin functioning before the 2004 Olympics.