|Friday, 24 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 06-03-23
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 GROWTH AND EMPLOYMENTAthens, 23 March 2006 (13:20 UTC+2)
Economic growth and boosting employment in the EU are the priorities of the EU Summit meeting to get underway in Brussels.
Greece will be represented by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis accompanied by Minister of Finance and Economy Giorgos Alogoskoufis, Minister of State Thodoris Rousopoulos and Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Valinakis.
Before the summit, Mr. Karamanlis will attend the scheduled meeting of the European People's Party and tomorrow will meet with FYROM Prime Minister Vlado Buckovski.
The summit will be launched with a "tripartite social meeting" to be held with the participation of the EU Troika (presidency, Finland, Germany), the Commission and the social partners, UNICE and ETUC, to discuss development and employment issues while a discussion will follow on research, development of small-medium sized enterprises and energy.
 BAKOYANNIS TO MEET WITH RICE AND BUSHWashington, 23 March 2006 (14:55 UTC+2)
Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, who is on a formal visit to the United States, will meet with her US counterpart Condoleezza Rice.
Ms. Bakoyannis will have talks with US Senator Sarbanes and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns while she will also attend a formal luncheon given by Greek Ambassador John Negreponte and an event at the White House on the occasion of the Greek National Independence Day to take place in the presence of US President George W. Bush with whom she will have a brief meeting.
On Saturday, March 25, Ms. Bakoyannis will attend a doxology at Aghia Triada Cathedral in New York on the occasion of the Greek national holiday, officiating Archbishop Dimitrios of America. In the afternoon of the same day, a formal reception will be given at the Greek consulate in New York.
On Monday, March 27, Ms. Bakoyannis will attend a UN Security Council discussion on the situation in Haiti.
Ms. Bakoyannis is very likely to meet with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
The level of bilateral relations is excellent, stated Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Daniel Fried in a press briefing in view of the Bakoyannis-Rice meeting.
On the Cyprus issue, Mr. Fried stated that Ms. Rice and Ms. Bakoyannis will discuss ways for the resumption of the solution process while he underlined with an emphasis that the US government will never recognize two states in Cyprus. He stressed that the US is against recognition, against division, against partition adding that Washington supports reunification on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal federation. He pointed out that the United States cooperates with the Turkish Cypriot regime because its leadership wants a solution. We cooperate but we do not recognize them, he said.
During the press briefing, the US side made it clear that the United States will not sign a trade agreement with the Mehmet Ali Talat regime to avoid any move that would recognize a separate state either directly or indirectly.
Mr. Fried stated that the State Department European Office proposed Ms. Bakoyannis' visit to the US capital and that the response of the head of the Greek diplomacy was immediate.
He refused to comment on the mobile phone-tapping affair in Greece while responding to a question on the cancellation of the purchase of 10 more F16s he did not agree that this decision creates problems to bilateral relations. He went on to explain that Greece is an independent country and does whatever it wants to do adding, however, that the specific aircraft are the best in the market.
On the FYROM issue, Mr. Fried stated that the United States has told FYROM that if it wishes to become a NATO and EU member should reach an agreement with Greece on the name issue. He said that the two countries should find a solution within the UN framework, pointing out that Washington supports the initiatives undertaken by mediator Matthew Nimetz and is ready to accept any outcome that will result from the negotiations. He stated that it is in the interest of Greece to have a stable and developed republic at its borders saying characteristically that we do not need a new war. Greece is a major investor in the Balkans and relations between the two countries are very good with the exception of the name issue.
Mr. Fried also stated that Greece is a strategic partner for the United States and its ally in NATO, the Balkans and Afghanistan. He also added that bilateral relations are close at all levels and clarified that the improvement and strengthening of relations began with former Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis with whom, he stressed, relations were excellent.
 HOSTAGE SITUATION ENDS IN ATHENS WITH AN ARRESTAthens, 23 March 2006 (19:30 UTC+2)
The 26yearold man, who had taken hostage three women at gunpoint in the Kastalia psychiatric clinic in Athens at noon today, was arrested by special police force, EKAM, men.
The EKAM raid took place at 17.15 this afternoon and the situation ended without injuries.
According to available police information, the 26yearold was released from the clinic a month-and-a-half ago after being treated for psychological problems and drug abuse.
 DIVORCED MEN PROTEST AT THE THESSALONIKI COURTHOUSEThessaloniki, 23 March 2006 (19:18 UTC+2)
A father of two underage children, divorced for the past seven years tries in vain to reach them. After the divorce his ex-wife took them and left the town of Naousa where they used to live as a family. After an investigation that lasted one month, the father found out with the help of police that his children and former wife had moved to Athens. He abandoned the effort to win custody or the right to visit them after long court battles. He stresses that he has not seen them for more than 6.5 years. When a short while ago he decided to go to their school they said to him: who are you; we don't know you.
The above mentioned case is just one example of what many divorced fathers have to go through. They formed the Association for Male and Paternal Dignity and today many of its members gathered at the Thessaloniki courthouse in a show of support to the association president on the occasion of the court trial for the custody of his children.
They maintain that the most common problem is that they cannot visit their children leading, eventually, to estrangement, while they also protest for the huge sums of money they have to pay as alimony, stressing that in many cases alimony payments do not correspond with their real income and as a result they face big economic problems.
President Nikos Spitalas said that the association has branches all over the country with a total of 1,500 members.
He said that parental care and children custody should be institutionally and legally established for both parents, adding that visitation rights for both parents and alternate residence for the children should also be guaranteed by law.
Referring to the visitation problem for divorced parents, he said that in many cases it results from the fact that court decisions are not being implemented.
According to Mr. Spitalas, Greek internal revenue service figures show that there are an estimated one million divorced couples in the country.
 ATHENS-PELLA BY SEAPLANEEdessa, 23 March 2006 (17:12 UTC+2)
The beauty of Macedonian scenery and weekend getaways at Mt. Voras (Kajmakcalan) will become more accessible with the new seaplane service linking Athens with Lake Vegoritida in the prefecture of Pella, central Macedonia, in north Greece.
It is an initiative undertaken by the municipality of Vegoritida and private sector enterprises and the goal is to promote Lake Vegoritida, the region of Paleos Aghios Athanasios and Arnissa as tourist destinations while, at the same time, create opportunities for the economic development of the wider region.
A test flight will take place next Sunday. The seaplane will take off from the Ionian Sea island of Corfu and alight on Lake Vegoritida. The future goal is a seaplane service linking Athens and the prefecture of Pella.
 REPPAS RE-ELECTED PASOK PARLIAMENTARY GROUP SECRETARYAthens, 23 March 2006 (16:35 UTC+2)
Dimitris Reppas was re-elected main opposition Socialist Party PASOK parliamentary group secretary.
The new presiding board of PASOK's parliamentary group convened today and with a unanimous vote Dimitris Reppas was re-elected secretary, Yiannis Drivelegas alternate secretary, Athanasia Merentiti is the new treasurer and board members are: Petros Katsilieris, Theodoros Koliopanos, Yiannis Paraskevas and Fragiadoulakis Emmanuel.
The new presiding board is scheduled to meet with PASOK President Giorgos Papandreou later today.
PASOK's parliamentary group presiding board will meet every second Wednesday at noon.
 CHRISTOFIAS' SPEECH ON THE CYPRUS ISSUEThessaloniki, 23 March 2006 (15:31 UTC+2)
We have to be pragmatists, stated in Thessaloniki today Cypriot Parliament President and AKEL Party general secretary Dimitris Christofias responding to the question if he is optimistic over recent developments in the Cyprus issue.
In an event at Macedonia University, he stressed that Turkey reconfirms reactionist and aggressive dogmas in relation to Cyprus and Greece and refuses to meet obligations that stem from the opening of its EU accession negotiations in spite of the fact that certain developments are positive.
Turkey, added Mr. Christofias, does not want to discuss issues concerning the essence of the Cyprus problem and called on the EU to uphold its own values and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to do what he agreed with Cyprus Republic President Papadopoulos and involve all five permanent UN Security Council members in the process for the solution of the Cyprus problem.
The event attended Cyprus consul general in Thessaloniki Antonis Theocharous, Macedonia University dean Kostas Velentzas, deputy dean Elias Kouskouvelis, professors and students.