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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 04-02-05
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 PAPANDREOU'S INTERVIEW WITH NETAthens, 5 February 2004 (18:46 UTC+2)
Determined to proceed with reforms, stated Giorgos Papandreou, Foreign Minister and governing Socialist Party of PASOK future President, in his interview yesterday with the Greek state-run NET television channel.
He announced broad dialogue on all measures sponsored by PASOK if it is the winner in the forthcoming elections, adding that referendums will be held when is necessary.
Mr. Papandreou characterized as his priorities, the state reforms, the reforms in the sectors of education and labor and the creation of a protection network for the socially weaker groups.
He pointed out that the procedure for the election of the new PASOK President by party friends and members is aimed at bringing down the walls separating the political parties from society as well as, the mechanisms operating in party congresses and many times oppress political parties.
Mr. Papandreou expressed the belief that PASOK will be the winner in the March 7 elections and backed the view that a consensus should be reached in the election of the new President of the Republic.
 ATHENS EXPRESSED SATISFACTION FOR THE ANNAN STATEMENTS ON CYPRUSAthens, 5 February 2004 (18:08 UTC+2)
The Greek Foreign Ministry appears satisfied with the statement made by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on the resumption of negotiations aimed at the solution of the political problem in Cyprus.
Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis speaking to the Athens News Agency, ANA, confirmed Greece's firm support to the good services of the UN Secretary General for the resumption of negotiations on the basis on the Annan Plan aimed at an operational and viable solution in Cyprus in accordance with the UN Security Council decisions and the European standards.
According to current information, Greece, as a guarantor power, will be represented in the negotiations that will be held under the auspices of the UN at officials' level.
Referring to the same issue, Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas stated that the Greek government has received a letter by the UN Secretary General. Mr. Protopapas stated that Athens and Nicosia are firm to their positions and are ready for talks, adding that it remains to be seen whether the Turkish side will be sincere.
 KARAMANLIS-GUL MEETINGAthens, 5 February 2004 (17:39 UTC+2)
Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy President Kostas Karamanlis met in Brussels today with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul on the sidelines of the European People's Party 16th Conference.
Mr. Karamanlis stated that his meeting with Mr. Gul was very friendly and useful and had the opportunity to repeat the firm position of New Democracy backing Turkey's European orientation. He also said that they discussed many issues mainly the Cyprus issue and its recent developments.
The New Democracy leader stated that the Greek side backs the holding of negotiations based on the Annan Plan and the efforts for a fair, viable and operational solution in Cyprus. He said that he solution should be in accordance with the UN resolutions and the European standards.
Mr. Karamanlis also expressed the wish that the UN Secretary General initiative this time will bring a solution.
 THE LAST CABINET MEETINGAthens, 5 February 2004 (17:24 UTC+2)
The last cabinet meeting was held in an emotional atmosphere today presided over by Prime Minister Kostas Simitis.
The Prime Minister assessed the work of the government and referred to its successes, while he attacked the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy for the stance it has adopted and thanked the government ministers and deputy ministers for the cooperation he had with them.
The cabinet decided to propose to President Kostis Stephanopoulos the dissolution of Parliament on February 11, the holding of elections on March 7 and the first session of the new Parliament to be held on March 18.
After the dissolution of Parliament, Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou will resign and will be replaced by Alternate Foreign Minister Tasos Giannitsis. Minister of Interior Kostas Skandalidis and Minister of Press Christos Protopapas will also resign and be replaced by caretaker ministers.
On February 10, the Parliament will ratify the Treaty for the Enlargement of the EU in the presence of representatives of political parties from Cyprus. Giorgos Papandreou, who did not attend today's cabinet meeting, will address the Parliament session on February 10.
 BIG GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 5 February 2004 (17:02 UTC+2)
Big gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +1.41% at 2452.98 points, while the volume of transactions was at 170.3 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 211 recorded gains and 87 had losses, while the value of 85 stocks remained unchanged.