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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 05-04-19

Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.


CONTENTS

  • [01] THE HARDSHIPS OF THE GREEKS IN TSALKA
  • [02] "YES" TO THE EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION
  • [03] BARROSO ON THE NIMETZ PROPOSAL AND TURKEY
  • [04] THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTRY ON THE ELECTIONS IN THE OCCUPIED PART OF
  • [05] YOUNG PEOPLE FROM EUROPE VISIT KATERINI
  • [06] THE FENER DISCUSSES THE ISSUES OF JERUSALEM AND MOUNT ATHOS
  • [07] THE ISSUE OF THE GREEKS IN TSALKA TO THE EU COUNCIL
  • [08] THE ETHNIC GREEKS IN TSALKA CALL FOR HELP

  • [01] THE HARDSHIPS OF THE GREEKS IN TSALKA

    Tsalka, 19 April 2005 (12:44 UTC+2)

    The wish to come to Greece as they are unable to cope with the difficult conditions created by the attacks against them, expressed the ethnic Greeks in Georgia in the meeting they had with World Council of Hellenes, SAE, President Andrew Athens, the Georgian Refugee and National Minorities Minister, the Greek ambassador to Georgia and the region's deputy governor.

    The region was populated by thousands of ethnic Greeks in the past but today they are estimated at 2,000 people mostly elderly who struggle to cope with a negligible pension of about 12 euros per month.

    PASOK Euro-deputy Panos Beglitis brought the issue to the European Parliament.

    Yesterday, Greeks of Tsalka Union O Pontos President Pavlos Kotanov died from a stroke at the age of 80. Mr. Athens stated that the loss of Pavlos Kotanov is very heavy for the Greeks in the region.

    [02] "YES" TO THE EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION

    Athens, 19 April 2005 (13:12 UTC+2)

    The Greek Parliament ratifies the European Constitutional Treaty in a special session today. An absolute majority of 151 votes is necessary for the European Constitution to be ratified.

    Ruling party of New Democracy and main opposition Socialist Party of PASOK are in favor of the European Constitution while the Communist Party and Coalition are against.

    However, Parliament Deputies from the three opposition parties will submit a joint proposal calling for a referendum to be held for the approval of the European Constitution directly by the Greek people.

    Yesterday, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso underlined the importance of the ratification and pointed out that it reflects Greece's firm support to the European ideas.

    [03] BARROSO ON THE NIMETZ PROPOSAL AND TURKEY

    Athens, 19 April 2005 (13:56 UTC+2)

    Turkey's EU accession negotiations will get underway when Ankara signs the association protocol with Cyprus, stated European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in an interview with the Greek state-run television NET yesterday.

    On the Nimetz proposal concerning the FYROM name, Mr. Barroso stressed that the European Commission will back any proposal that will be accepted by both parties. He pointed out that both parties must show flexibility and this message will be sent to the FYROM authorities as well.

    Mr. Barroso also pointed out that the issue of the main shareholder is not political but purely a legal issue.

    [04] THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTRY ON THE ELECTIONS IN THE OCCUPIED PART OF CYPRUS

    Athens, 19 April 2005 (13:47 UTC+2)

    The Greek Foreign Ministry expressed the hope that the outcome of the elections in the occupied northern part of Cyprus will signal the beginning of a new era with the adoption of a new policy by the Turkish Cypriot leadership.

    The Foreign Ministry expressed the hope that the outcome of the vote will signal the beginning of a policy in favor of a constructive dialogue, in favor of a new effort for the reunification of Cyprus. A reunification that will be the result of a viable and functional solution through negotiations on the basis of the Annan Plan in accordance with the UN resolutions, the European principles and values.

    In the Foreign Ministry statement is also mentioned that every new effort should be well prepared in order to lead to a successful outcome acceptable by the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots alike.

    [05] YOUNG PEOPLE FROM EUROPE VISIT KATERINI

    Katerini, 19 April 2005 (14:13 UTC+2)

    Groups of young people from Spain, Lithuania, Italy and Greece visited Katerini mayor Yiannis Amiridis within the framework of the program Nine Muses inspire the youth that was launched on April 12 and will be completed on April 24.

    The Mayor of Katerini, northern Greece, spoke about issues that concern the younger generation, as well as culture and sports, while he also referred to the city's history.

    [06] THE FENER DISCUSSES THE ISSUES OF JERUSALEM AND MOUNT ATHOS

    Istanbul, 19 April 2005 (12:59 UTC+2)

    The Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate meets today and tomorrow at the Fener, Istanbul.

    The Holy Synod will be called to make decisions on the intervention request, in any way it deems appropriate, expressed to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew by 12 Metropolitan Bishops and 20 hierarchs and monks from the Holy Land on the occasion of the crisis in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

    Also, during the meeting it is expected to discuss the issue of the monks at the Esfigmenos Monastery who refuse to leave Mount Athos.

    [07] THE ISSUE OF THE GREEKS IN TSALKA TO THE EU COUNCIL

    Brussels, 19 April 2005 (16:39 UTC+2)

    Main opposition Socialist Party of PASOK Euro-deputy Panos Beglitis requests to be informed by the European Union Council on the issue concerning the violation of fundamental rights of ethnic Greeks living in the region of Tsalka in Georgia of the former Soviet Union.

    Mr. Beglitis points out that crimes are being committed in Georgia today against the ethnic Greek population while attacks take place in the region of Tsalka, mostly populated by Greeks. Greek families have been massacred and others have been forced out of their villages, according to local ethnic Greek organizations. At the same time, they face problems with their property. Based on official evidence, during the past seven years about 7,000 squatters have occupied houses and land, which they deny to return to their rightful owners.

    Mr. Beglitis wants to be informed if the EU Council is aware of these incidents and what measures it intends to take for the protection of the fundamental rights of the ethnic Greeks in Georgia. Also, if the EU Presidency and EU High Representative for CFSP Mr. Solana intend to make a demarche to Tbilisi on the issue and finally, if Mr. Solana in cooperation with the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the UN Human Rights Committee is ready to prepare a report on the human rights situation of the ethnic Greeks in Georgia.

    [08] THE ETHNIC GREEKS IN TSALKA CALL FOR HELP

    Tsalka, 19 April 2005 (16:18 UTC+2)

    The wish to come to Greece as they are unable to cope with the difficult conditions created by the attacks against them, expressed the ethnic Greeks in Georgia in the meeting they had with World Council of Hellenes, SAE, President Andrew Athens, the Georgian Refugee and National Minorities Minister, the Greek ambassador to Georgia and the region's deputy governor.

    Yesterday, Greeks of Tsalka Union O Pontos President Pavlos Kotanov died from a stroke at the age of 80. Mr. Athens stated that the loss of Pavlos Kotanov is very heavy for the Greeks in the region.

    Tsalka in Georgian means people living in isolation. Maybe the region was named this way by the people themselves who chose this virgin place to make it their home. The ethnic Greeks in Tsalka are Orthodox Christians and descendents of refugees from Pontos in Turkey who inhabited the remote region of Georgia for the first time as far back as 1829.

    In the estimated 25 Greek villages in Tsalka, 100 km southeast of capital Tbilisi and at an altitude of 1,500 m, lived 47,830 Greeks until 1992 making up 70% of the local population.

    When the former Soviet Union broke into pieces the ethnic Greeks were faced with the nightmare of the daily survival and as a result most of them decided to leave their homes and go to Greece, Cyprus and Russia.

    The majority of those still living in the region are elderly and if they are lucky they have the economic support of their relatives, who live and work abroad. In a different case, they struggle to survive with an average monthly pension of 12 euros.

    The medical clinics opened by SAE and the nurses network, have solved the serious problem of medical care.

    However, all those who still live in the region live in a state of terror.

    During the past seven years another plague hit the region. The remote Tsalka with the abandoned houses became attractive for the Svanja, the domestic immigrants from western Georgia, and the Adjarians. Gradually, 7,000 people occupied about 2,000 houses. The squatters committed acts of violence and in eight cases these acts led to murders. Among the victims were small children as well and the goal was to force the ethnic Greeks to abandon their homeland.

    The passive stance of the Georgian government encouraged the violence and every time Greece complained about the situation it received only empty promises that things will improve.

    The Greek ambassador made a strong demarche to the Georgia Foreign Ministry stressing that the situation casts a shadow over bilateral relations pointing out that Georgia has to meet the obligations it has undertaken within the framework of the UN Security Council and protect minorities.

    Finally, in mid March the Georgian Interior Minister visited the region of Tsalka and announced measures for the protection of the local population. The 30-men strong police force (some say they are just 15) is not enough for all the villages in the region and cannot handle the situation effectively.


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