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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 04-12-08
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 GREEK-RUSSIAN AGREEMENTSMoscow, 8 December 2004 (13:12 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis will sign in Moscow today two important agreements that will strengthen the Greek-Russian relations.
The strong historic ties that unite the two countries are the basis on which current bilateral relations develop and grow in a dynamic way, stated yesterday Mr. Karamanlis upon his arrival in Moscow.
In an interview with news agency Novosti he reiterated that Russia is one of Greece's most important partners in the sector of armaments clarifying that any future case will be handled within the framework of the open market procedures.
Mr. Karamanlis will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian political leadership, the mayor of Moscow, the Patriarch of Russia and representatives of the Greek community, which he characterized as a very active part of the Russian society.
The Prime Minister honored with a medal the son of schoolteacher Yiannis Kanidis, who was one of the victims of the terrorist attack in Beslan.
 THE FIVE POINTS OF TURKEY'S COURSE TO THE EUAthens, 8 December 2004 (13:38 UTC+2)
The Greek moves are placed within a specific policy framework with two interlinked parts: support to Turkey's European course and an emphasis on the fact that this course depends on Turkey itself, stated Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos.
Referring to the draft plan of conclusions by the December 17 European Council presented by the Dutch EU Presidency he said that it is placed within the framework of the negotiation procedure.
Mr. Koumoutsakos stated that Greece's position regarding Turkey's European course is based on five points.
He said that Turkey will have to normalize its relations with all member states; meet the necessary criteria, preconditions, principles and values; implement the reforms necessary to observe the European acquis; monitor the adjustment process and finally, EU accession.
 INTERNATIONAL MEETING IN ATHENS FOR THE POOR COUNTRIESAthens, 8 December 2004 (17:32 UTC+2)
The International Development Association, IDA, will hold a meeting in Athens on December 13-14 aimed at collecting economic assistance for the world's poorest countries.
The Greek Ministry of Finance and the World Bank organize the meeting to be held with the participation of 140 representatives of donor and recipient countries from America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand as well as vice-presidents and other senior executives of the World Bank and other major development banks.
The representatives of the donor countries will discuss the funding of the IDA program, an organization that offers assistance to 81 countries. In the next three years a total of 28,4 billion euros will be offered as economic assistance by the 39 donor countries.
 GAINS IN THE ASEAthens, 8 December 2004 (17:00 UTC+2)
Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.40% at 2699.52 points, while the volume of transactions was at 171,3 million euros.
Of the stocks trading today, 138 had gains and 150 had losses, while the value of 132 stocks remained unchanged.
 THE GREEK FINANCE MINISTER ON THE ECOFIN CONCLUSIONSAthens, 8 December 2004 (16:55 UTC+2)
Greek Minister of Finance Giorgos Alogoskoufis, referring to the conclusions of the ECOFIN Council on Greece's budget data, reiterated the government's commitment to bring deficit under 3% by 2006, while regarding the likelihood for Greece to be under supervision he stated that such a decision will also concern France and Germany, pointing out that Greece will not be treated differently compared to other countries also facing excessive deficit problems.
Mr. Alogoskoufis reiterated the government's intention to follow the road of mild adjustment reflected by the state budget.
He also stated that there is a debate going on at EU level on the revision of the procedures aimed at limiting excessive deficit and the relevant talks will be completed in the first trimester of 2005.
Referring to the ECOFIN conclusions on the revision of the Greek budget data, Mr. Alogoskoufis pointed out that the Council agreed that the Greek statistical authorities did not offer accurate information to the European Statistics Agency for a long period of time. He also added that the authorities in question presented a serious weakness in offering the necessary data, while a share of responsibility belongs to the European Commission and the European Central Bank because they did not warn the Council on likely problems regarding the Greek budget data.
 ALL BANK ACCOUNTS RELATED WITH ARMAMENTS WILL OPENAthens, 8 December 2004 (16:06 UTC+2)
The Greek Parliament Inquiry Committee on armaments decided today that all bank accounts that according to press reports are linked with armaments supplies will open.
The committee decided to extend its proceedings until January 14 when it will issue its findings and submit them to the Parliament plenary session.
However, in case the evidence from the opening of the bank accounts becomes available to the Inquiry Committee after January 14 a new Inquiry Committee or even a Preliminary Inquiry Committee could be formed to continue the investigation.
 PATRIARCH OF RUSSIA-KARAMANLIS MEETINGMoscow, 8 December 2004 (14:46 UTC+2)
Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis met with Patriarch Alexios B' of Moscow and All Russia within the framework of his three-day formal visit to Russia.
Mr. Karamanlis briefed the Patriarch on the Greek government decision to fund the statues of Leihoudis brothers, 17th century monks who played a leading role in the establishment of the first higher education institute in the country and produced significant work as authors.
The Prime Minister said that his meeting with the Russian Patriarch was very useful, underlining the historical ties between the two peoples. He also said that they referred extensively to the social role the Church can play and the need of the people today for values, principles and ideals. He also underlined and praised the great contribution of the Russian Patriarch to the Russian people, Christianity and Orthodoxy.
 KARAMANLIS: MEASURES FOR THE GREEKS IN RUSSIAMoscow, 8 December 2004 (14:07 UTC+2)
Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis announced measures for the support of the Greek community organizations in Russia during the meeting he had with representatives of the Greek community in the residence of the Greek ambassador to Moscow.
Mr. Karamanlis stated that, in cooperation with the Council of Hellenes Abroad, SAE, a medical center will be built in south Russia to serve the Greeks living in the region. Among the priorities of the government are education and culture, the preservation and spread of the Greek language and the further strengthening of ties with the Greek community in Russia. The Greek government will also take measures to deal with the problems of the repatriated Greeks.
The Prime Minister delivered a medal to the son of schoolteacher Yiannis Kanidis, who was one of the victims in the terrorist attack in Beslan, and announced that 2,000 children from Beslan will be hosted in summer camps in Greece.