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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 04-11-16
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 MEASURES AND NO SANCTIONSBrussels, 16 November 2004 (13:30 UTC+2)
Minister of Finance Giorgos Alogoskoufis characterized as crucial the ECOFIN meeting in Brussels that will be completed today, pointing out that the figures concerning past deficits will be cleared up and the next steps will be discussed namely, the ways in which Greece will bring deficit under 3% given the fact that it was proved that since 1999 the deficit was never under 3%.
According to Ministry of Finance sources, there will be no sanctions or additional tough measures in spite of the pressures expected to be exerted by the European Union.
Greece received a two-year deadline by the Council of the Ministers of Finance of the 12 Euro-zone states, the Eurogroup, to bring fiscal deficit under 3% of the GDP and Greek Minister of Finance Mr. Alogoskoufis expressed satisfaction for the decision.
The Council of Finance Ministers of the 25 EU member states, the ECOFIN, is expected to ratify the Eurogroup proposal, while the new European Commission will decide if sanctions will be imposed on Greece because it violated the deficit criterion.
 KONSTANTOPOULOS DENIES AGREEMENT WITH KARAMANLIS-PAPANDREOUAthens, 16 November 2004 (13:49 UTC+2)
Coalition President Nikos Konstantopoulos clarified that he has reached no agreement with Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis or opposition Socialist Party of PASOK President Giorgos Papandreou to be the only candidate for the office of the Hellenic Republic President.
Mr. Konstantopoulos made the clarification after the reactions caused by his participation in an event organized by the New Democracy youth movement, ONNED, on the occasion of the Athens Polytechnic School Uprising anniversary where the main speaker was Mr. Karamanlis. His presence in the event was translated as a green light by the Prime Minister on the likely candidacy of Mr. Konstantopoulos for the post of the President of the Hellenic Republic.
Mr. Konstantopoulos reiterated his position that the new President should come from the Left.
 DIPLOMATIC MARATHON ON THE ISSUES OF NATIONAL INTERESTAthens, 16 November 2004 (14:18 UTC+2)
Greek Foreign Minister Petros Moliviatis launches a diplomatic marathon today with visits to Sofia, Paris, The Hague and Luxembourg to discuss Turkey's European course and the Cyprus issue as well as the issue of the FYROM name.
Mr. Moliviatis will also visit Berlin next Monday and on the sidelines of the EU Foreign Ministers Council he is also expected to meet with his British counterpart.
Diplomatic sources mention that Athens' goal is to make the Greek positions clear to the EU partners in view of the crucial European Council meeting to take place on December 17.
 THE DEFENSE MINISTER IS VISITING BRITAINAthens, 16 November 2004 (17:38 UTC+2)
Greek Minister of Defense Spilios Spiliotopoulos arrived in Britain today for a visit until November 18.
Mr. Spiliotopoulos will meet with his British counterpart Geoffrey Hoon in a working dinner in London this evening, while tomorrow they will hold a separate meeting.
They will discuss defense policy issues concerning NATO and the European Union, the participation of Greece and Britain in peace missions and issues concerning the organizing of armed forces.
Also tomorrow, Mr. Spiliotopoulos will meet with deputy minister Lord Bach, responsible for armaments issues.
 ANTONAROS ON THE RESIGNATION OF THE FYROM PRIME MINISTERAthens, 16 November 2004 (17:05 UTC+2)
The resignation of FYROM Prime Minister Hari Kostov is an issue of domestic order and Greece is interested in stability, security and peace in the region stated acting government spokesman Vangelis Antonaros when asked to comment on the resignation of the FYROM Prime Minister.
Responding to a relevant question, Mr. Antonaros stated that the Greek government is not worried about stability in the Balkans after the resignation of Mr. Kostov.
 LOSSES IN THE ASEAthens, 16 November 2004 (16:57 UTC+2)
Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.29% at 2611.47 points, while the volume of transactions was satisfactory at 157,3 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 79 had gains and 213 had losses, while the value of 127 stocks remained unchanged.
 MOLIVIATIS-PASI MEETING IN SOFIAAthens, 16 November 2004 (16:28 UTC+2)
The opening of three new crossings at the Greek-Bulgarian borders, the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, and the funding by Athens of the modernization of the port of Lom in the Danube River were the main issues under discussion in the meeting Greek Foreign Minister Petros Moliviatis and his Bulgarian counterpart Solomon Pasi had in Sofia today.
Mr. Moliviatis assured his Bulgarian counterpart that the construction works for the opening of the Dramas-Gotse Delcev border crossing will proceed according to schedule and the project will be ready in the first half of 2005.
Sofia, on its part, proposed the opening of another border crossing specifically, between the Greek village of Kiprinos and the Bulgarian town of Ivajlovgrad.
 THE BULGARIAN PRESIDENT ON A VISIT TO MOUNT ATHOSThessaloniki, 16 November 2004 (15:58 UTC+2)
Weather conditions improved in the region of Mount Athos, in Chalkidiki northern Greece today and the visit of Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov to the monastic community took place with a one-day delay.
The strong winds blowing in the region yesterday forced Mr. Parvanov to stay in the small port town of Ouranoupolis in Chalkidiki because the boats to Mount Athos were not allowed to leave port.
The Bulgarian President was able to depart for Mount Athos this morning. His initial itinerary included visits to the Mount Athos capital of Karies, and to the Holy Monasteries of Zografou and Hilandariou.
 OPTIMISM IN THE GREEK-AMERICAN COMMUNITY AFTER THE MEETINGS IN WASHINGTONThessaloniki, 16 November 2004 (14:46 UTC+2)
Archbishop Dimitrios of America and a delegation of leading figures of the Greek-American community met with high-ranking officials in the US State Department and the White House and conveyed the discontent of the Greek-American community and Greece regarding the recognition of FYROM by the United States under the name Republic of Macedonia.
The Greek-American delegation received the assurance that the United States will back the efforts to reach a solution to the issue of the FYROM name within the UN framework and if Athens and Skopje reach an agreement Washington will recognize FYROM under whatever name results from the negotiations.
In the meeting Archbishop Dimitrios of America had with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, the only meeting Mr. Powell had due to the fact that he has resigned, he conveyed the discontent of the Greek-American community and Greece on the issue of the FYROM recognition by the United States.
The head of the Christian-Orthodox Church of America expressed the disappointment of the Greek-American community for the surprise US decision.
After the meeting, the Archbishop expressed the belief that there will be positive steps and predicted positive prospects for the solution of the FYROM name problem.
 PRESIDENT STEPHANOPOULOS: THE US MOVE DOES NOT FACILITATE THE EFFORTS FOR A SOLUTION TO THE FYROM ISSUESarajevo, 16 November 2004 (18:08 UTC+2)
Hellenic Republic President Kostis Stephanopoulos expressed Greece's will to promote closer relations between the western Balkan countries and the European Union in statements he made from Sarajevo today within the framework of his formal visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Mr. Stephanopoulos, who is accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Panagiotis Skandalakis, met with the three-member Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency and in statements he made referred to the situation in the Balkans and the US decision to recognize FYROM under its constitutional name.
The impression is that the hurried move by the US to recognize FYROM under its constitutional name does not facilitate the efforts for a desirable solution, stated Mr. Stephanopoulos, adding that Greece's sincere intention is for the dialogue to reach a conclusion acceptable by both sides.
On his part, acting Bosnia-Herzegovina President Bosnian-Serb Borislav Paravac pointed out that Greece has played a great role in Bosnia-Herzegovina's way to Europe, particularly when it held the EU rotating presidency. He added that this policy reached its apex with the Thessaloniki Summit meeting.
 ECOFIN WANTS FISCAL DISCIPLINE AND DEFICIT REDUCTIONBrussels, 16 November 2004 (17:21 UTC+2)
The EU Finance Ministers Council, ECOFIN, called on Greece in its meeting in Brussels today to take all necessary measures aimed at observing fiscal discipline as provided by the EU Stability Pact and cut deficit as soon as possible bringing it under 3% of the GDP.
According to the ECOFIN conclusions, the Greek fiscal deficit was over 3% in the years before Greece's accession into the Euro-zone underlining, however, that the decision for the country's accession into the Euro-zone in June 2000 was based on statistical figures that were provided by the Greek authorities and were ratified by the European Statistics Agency, Eurostat, based on the then followed procedure.
The Council called on Greece to take all necessary measures aimed at the speedy reduction of deficit.