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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 99-11-03

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

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


MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH
Thessaloniki, November 3, 1999

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION CONFERENCE CONCLUDES TODAY
  • [02] GREECE'S BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION PLAN UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED
  • [03] US AMBASSADOR ADDRESSES BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION MEETING
  • [04] US AMBASSADOR SALUTES GREECE AS FORCE OF PEACE, STABILITY
  • [05] STATE TO TABLE BUDGET IN PARLIAMENT TODAY
  • [06] FIRE ABOARD FERRY TO BE INVESTIGATED, KURDS MOURN DEATHS
  • [07] GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN:US-GREEK RELATIONS ARE AT GOOD LEVEL
  • [08] STATE DRAWS STRICT SECURITY MEASURES FOR CLINTON'S VISIT
  • [09] O. A. ADDS DAILY FLIGHTS TO N.Y., BOSTON, SYDNEY, JOHANNESBURG
  • [10] QUAKE OF 3.9 RICHTER RATTLES ATHENS, 4.3 NEAR ZAKYNTHOS
  • [11] PHILOXENIA '99 OPENS TOMORROW AT THESSALONIKI'S FAIR
  • [12] SIMITIS: THE 2000 BUDGET REFLECTS THE SUCCESS OF THE ECONOMIC POLICY
  • [13] THE CONFERENCE ON THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE BALKANS WILL BE COMPLETED THIS EVENING
  • [14] NEW DECLINE IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [15] GENNIMATAS: THE GREEK RECONSTRUCTION PLAN WILL BE INCLUDED IN A WIDER PLANNING
  • [16] NANO: THE IDEA OF A "GREATER ALBANIA" WAS ABANDONED FOR THE CREATION OF THE GREATER BALKANS
  • [17] SOUMAKIS: THE PROBLEM OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS POLITICAL AND SOCIAL
  • [18] THE GREEK MINISTER OF NATIONAL ECONOMY AND FINANCE PRESENTED THE NEW STATE BUDGET
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [19] PREMIER TRAVELS TO BULGARIA TOMORROW, FRANCE ON SUNDAY
  • [20] GREECE TO TAKE PART IN BULGARIAN TELECOMS FORUM
  • [21] VARTHOLOMEOS VISITS TIRANA, MEET WITH PRESIDENT, PREMIER
  • [22] GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER CONCLUDES OFFICIAL VISIT TO CANADA
  • [23] FOREIGN UNDERSECRETARY IN DUBAI AT GULF-EU JOINT COUNCIL
  • [24] FYROM PREMIER ANNOUNCES CABINET RESHUFFLE
  • [25] VASILEV: GREECE IS THE ONLY COUNTRY THAT PROPOSED CONCRETE AID
  • [26] THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH IS ON A VISIT TO ALBANIA - - - - - - - - - - - - -

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION CONFERENCE CONCLUDES TODAY

    A conference on Balkan reconstruction got underway in Thessaloniki yesterday at the Ioannis Vellidis conference center, is to conclude today, with the addresses of the Minister of Development Evangelos Venizelos, Minister of Transport Tasos Mantelis, the President of Albania's Socialist Party Fatos Nano and various businessmen from Greece and other European countries.

    National economy minister Yiannos Papantoniou announced yesterday that Greece's Balkan reconstruction plan was accepted by all of the countries in the region, while he also added that the plan's materialization and the flow of funds are to get underway in 2001. The five-year plan amounts to GRD180 billion.

    The event is jointly organized by the Industries Association of Northern Greece (SVVE), the International Trade Fair of Thessaloniki and the Euromoney publications.

    [02] GREECE'S BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION PLAN UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED

    Greece's 180-billion-drachma reconstruction plan for the Balkans has been unanimously approved by all of the region's countries, stated the National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday.

    On the sidelines of the Thessaloniki-held meeting on Balkan Reconstruction, Mr. Papantoniou met with the President of Albania's Socialist Party Fatos Nano, Bulgaria's Ministers of Economy and Trade-Tourism, Messrs. Muravei Radev and Valedin Vasiliev respectively, FYROM's Ambassador Liuptcko Arsovski and Romania's National Economy Minister Decebal Trian Remes.

    Mr. Papantoniou stated that the monies, to be derived from the state budget and private investments, will be divided into annual installments of 30 billion drachmas over 2000- 2004.

    Concerning private investors, the National Economy Minster stated that they will be given the guarantees of the Organization for Insurance of Exporting Credits for their ventures in Kosovo.

    [03] US AMBASSADOR ADDRESSES BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION MEETING

    United States President Bill Clinton and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis are to discuss US-Greek economic cooperation and joint ventures in the Balkans, during the former's imminent visit to Greece, stated the American Ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns in his address at the Thessaloniki-held Balkan Reconstruction Plan Conference today.

    Outlining the prospects for cooperation between the two countries, Mr. Burns stated that Greece constitutes a fine example for the countries of the southeast European region, which are just now emerging from the economic crises of the recent years.

    Furthermore, Mr. Burns stressed that the United States are encouraging Greece to undertake a leading role in the area, referring to Greece's participation in the peacekeeping missions assigned to the region, such as Bosnia and Kosovo.

    [04] US AMBASSADOR SALUTES GREECE AS FORCE OF PEACE, STABILITY

    Addressing the Thessaloniki-held conference on the Balkan Reconstruction Plan today, United States Ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns saluted Greece as a "force for peace and stability" and highlighted the American role in promoting financial help towards the region.

    According to Mr. Burns, the U.S. private sector will proceed to vast investments in Sofia for the region's development, while $11 million will be allocated for the development of democratic institutions in the Balkans. The US Ambassador also pointed out that Greece has in the recent years allocated $320 million for assisting its neighbors.

    The US diplomat praised the Greek government and Premier Costas Simitis for their roles during the recent crisis and underlined the sense of cooperation enjoyed during the Kosovo upheaval, over which he characteristically stated that "looking back, we see that we were right."

    Mr. Burns launched a fierce attack against Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, stating that "there can be no development and economic prosperity in the Balkan region as long as Mr. Milosevic remains in power."

    Furthermore, Mr. Burns stressed the role to be carried out by Thessaloniki in terms of Balkan reconstruction, while he also added that the trade office at the city's US consulate in to embark on its operation soon, which will aim at coordinating economic initiatives from the US' public and private sectors throughout the Balkans.

    Concerning the monies to be allocated by the United States to the Balkan Reconstruction Plan, Mr. Burns stated that Washington will submit its proportionate share, while he called on the European Union to undertake its long overdue leading role.

    [05] STATE TO TABLE BUDGET IN PARLIAMENT TODAY

    The next year's budget, which will be pivotal for the country's coveted accession to the Economic and Monetary Union, is to be tabled in Parliament today by the Minister of Finance and National Economy Yiannos Papantoniou.

    The budget allows for salary increases of 2.5% as well as pension increases of 4.5%. Mr. Papantoniou, who is confident that the state will meet its inflation curbing target, stated that Greece's bid for accession to the EMU will be submitted in March and is expected to be approved by the European Summit Council on June 19, in Lisbon.

    [06] FIRE ABOARD FERRY TO BE INVESTIGATED, KURDS MOURN DEATHS

    Not eliminating the possibility of a terrorist act, Greek port authorities are to conduct an investigation into the causes of a blaze that occurred Monday evening aboard a ferry where eleven Kurdish stowaways died of smoke inhalation.

    The fire aboard the Super Fast Ferry-3 vessel broke out as it was sailing just off western Greece and after it had set off from Patras towards Ancona, Italy.

    The bodies of the victims were discovered in the ferry's parking levels, where the fire started in a truck carrying paper pulp. Crew members managed to contain and put out the fire, while the ship's passengers were transported on a rescue ship.

    Meanwhile, approximately 300 Kurds are presently conducting a sit-in protest at the Patras port, demanding that a United Nations delegation launch an investigation into the deaths of their compatriots.

    The Patras port harbormaster stated that an investigation will also be conducted to determine how the stowaways managed to board the ferry undetected.

    [07] GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN:US-GREEK RELATIONS ARE AT GOOD LEVEL

    Government spokesperson Dimitris Reppas referred to the upcoming visit by United States President Bill Clinton, by stating that it would be an opportunity to expand the friendly ties between Greece and the United States.

    Mr. Reppas stated that "the relations between Greece and the US are at a good level. The traditional ties of friendship with that country and its people are strengthened by the lengthy presence of a large and prosperous ethnic Greek community in the US.

    "The political, military and economic cooperation with the US is an element which can contribute to securing conditions of peace, stability and security in the Balkans and SE Europe."

    The government spokesperson added that Messrs. Clinton and Simitis are to discuss issues of mutual interest, such as economic, political and defense cooperation between the two countries, as well as regional issues, such as Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue.

    [08] STATE DRAWS STRICT SECURITY MEASURES FOR CLINTON'S VISIT

    The Greek government will enforce draconian security measures as of today at Athens Hellinikon airport, in view American president Bill Clinton's forthcoming visit to Greece.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated yesterday that Greece will receive the US president like a democratic and hospitable country.

    However, protest marches are organized by left-wing parties, pacifists, political youth groups and others, among them the Greek Committee for International Detente and Peace, the Actors Guild, the Greek Writers Society and the Union of National Resistance Fighters.

    A mock trial will be held at Athens's central constitution square on November 8, where Mr. Clinton and U.S. policy in the Balkans will be "tried" in a "people's court".

    A protest march to the American embassy will be held in Athens on November 17, while a rally towards the US consulate will be held in Thessaloniki.

    [09] O. A. ADDS DAILY FLIGHTS TO N.Y., BOSTON, SYDNEY, JOHANNESBURG

    The national air carrier Olympic Airways has announced that new flights will be connecting, on a daily basis, Athens with Sydney, Johannesburg and Boston.

    According to O.A. manager Rod Lynch, the airline will also have two daily flights to New York, while the flight connecting Athens with Montreal will be discontinued.

    [10] QUAKE OF 3.9 RICHTER RATTLES ATHENS, 4.3 NEAR ZAKYNTHOS

    An earthquake measuring 3.9 on the Richter scale rattled Athens at 5:30 this morning, but there were no reports of damage or injuries.

    According to seismologists, the quake is categorized as an aftershock of the Parnitha tremors.

    Another quake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale occurred south of the Ionian island of Zakynthos last night, again with no reported damages.

    [11] PHILOXENIA '99 OPENS TOMORROW AT THESSALONIKI'S FAIR

    The annual tourism exposition Philoxenia '99 is to be inaugurated tomorrow at Thessaloniki's International Trade Fair by the Minister of Development Evangelos Venizelos in the Ioannis Vellidis conference center.

    The Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Yiannis Magriotis, and the tourism undersecretaries of Serbia and Bulgaria are among those who will attend the opening ceremony.

    The event will feature 449 exhibitors and this year's event is anticipated to surpass all previous ones, given that the rate of participation has marked a 30% increase from last year.

    [12] SIMITIS: THE 2000 BUDGET REFLECTS THE SUCCESS OF THE ECONOMIC POLICY

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis characterized the state budget for the year 2000, that was approved by the cabinet, as a proof of the success of the economic policy followed by the government.

    Mr. Simitis said that next year's budget allows for more social solidarity and justice, while he pointed out that the course will remain the same in the following years but its pace will be faster. He also pointed out that the 2000 budget is the last one drawn up in drachmas as the next one will be in EURO marking the start of a new era.

    Minister of national economy and finance Yiannos Papantoniou will submit the state budget to parliament this afternoon.

    [13] THE CONFERENCE ON THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE BALKANS WILL BE COMPLETED THIS EVENING

    The conference for the reconstruction of the Balkans will be completed in Thessaloniki this evening.

    National economy ministry general secretary Stefanos Avgouleas, speaking in the conference today, stressed that Greece is turning into a power of development and issued an invitation to the private sector to play a dynamic role in Greece's national plan for the reconstruction of the Balkans. The funds from the state budget that will be allocated for the implementation of the Greek plan for the Balkan reconstruction are 180 billion drachmas, stated Mr. Avgouleas.

    European Bank of Investment vice-president Panagiotis Gennimatas expressed the view that the Greek plan for the reconstruction of the Balkans must be included in a wider planning in order to have more results.

    [14] NEW DECLINE IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    New decline was recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped 1.80% and closed at 5.548,09.

    The session was characterized today by a lack of purchase interest in the current price levels. The result was for the share prices to drop, while pressures were stronger on the bank shares. More positive course had the shares trading in the parallel market. One hundred and ten shares showed a price increase, 191 dropped and 21 remained stable, while the general index dropped by 102 points.

    [15] GENNIMATAS: THE GREEK RECONSTRUCTION PLAN WILL BE INCLUDED IN A WIDER PLANNING

    European Investment Bank vice-president Panagiotis Gennimatas expressed the view that the Greek plan for the reconstruction of the Balkans, which was accepted yesterday by all the countries in the region, must be placed within the wider planning in order to have more results.

    Mr. Gennimatas said that the distance is long between the plans announced on Kosovo and their materialization. He said that the issue at stake is how manageable the region can be made, stressing that the international community must seek the homogenization of the region. However, he pointed out that a number of negative and conflicting interests exist and used as an example the fact that no agreement has been reached yet between Bulgaria and Romania on the construction of the second bridge over the Danube river even though discussions on the issue continue for the past 7 years.

    In general, he expressed pessimism regarding the state of the countries in the region, stressing that there is still a long way before the materialization of the reconstruction.

    [16] NANO: THE IDEA OF A "GREATER ALBANIA" WAS ABANDONED FOR THE CREATION OF THE GREATER BALKANS

    Albanian socialist party president Fatos Nano, speaking in the conference for the reconstruction of the Balkans organized in Thessaloniki, gave the assurance that the Albanians have turned the idea of Greater Albania into an expectation for the creation of the Greater Balkans which must be incorporated into the European Union as soon as possible.

    Mr. Nano stressed that the stability pact must be in essence a shield offering protection from the Milosevic regime. Mr. Nano pointed out that for the Albanian side the Balkans which were always regarded as a powder-keg, must become the symbol of a new era that will be characterized by the continuous development and peaceful coexistence of the peoples and will be accompanied by the strengthening of the economic structures and the implementation of common plans and strategies.

    [17] SOUMAKIS: THE PROBLEM OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS POLITICAL AND SOCIAL

    Minister of merchant marine Stavros Soumakis gave a press conference on the deadly fire on board the Super Fast Ferry-3 that killed 11 illegal immigrants who had boarded the ship to Italy as stowaways. He characterized the problem of illegal immigration as political and deeply social and said that an investigation is underway in the effort to locate and arrest the driver of the truck inside which a Kurdish illegal immigrant was found dead after being burned alive in the fire that broke out on the passenger ship. It is alleged that the truck driver was Greek and was carrying illegal immigrants to Italy bearing stolen Greek passports.

    Mr. Soumakis stated that illegal immigration is a huge problem for Greece as its sea borders are 17.000 kilometers long. He pointed out that Greece is a transit point for illegal immigrants, who have mainly Italy as their destination. Mr. Soumakis also said that the fact that the Coast Guard was reinforced with 1.600 men in the past two years has not helped toward the improvement of the situation, adding that the problem of illegal immigration is very hard to solve.

    [18] THE GREEK MINISTER OF NATIONAL ECONOMY AND FINANCE PRESENTED THE NEW STATE BUDGET

    Minister of national economy and finance Yiannos Papantoniou presented the state budget for the year 2000.

    It provides for wage increases of 2.5-3% for public employees and a 4.8-5.8% increase in the pensioners income. The public debt will be down to 104% of the GNP, while revenues will be increased to 10.9 trillion drachmas. The revenue increase is estimated to be at 5.8% and will be the result of the rise in the stock market transactions taxation in combination with the profits that will come from the privatization of state companies.

    Mr. Papantoniou stated that the surplus recorded comes from the measures taken against tax evasion, the stock market transactions taxation and the taxation imposed on company profits.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [19] PREMIER TRAVELS TO BULGARIA TOMORROW, FRANCE ON SUNDAY

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will chair a Cabinet meeting today which will focus on the 2000 budget, according to the government spokesman Dimitris Reppas.

    Tomorrow, November 4, Mr. Simitis will leave for Bulgaria, where he is to attend a meeting with the Bulgarian and Romanian prime ministers, while on Sunday, November 8, he will travel to France where he will attend a summit meeting of the Socialist International.

    [20] GREECE TO TAKE PART IN BULGARIAN TELECOMS FORUM

    More than 20 Greek telecommunications companies will participate in a Greek-Bulgarian telecommunications forum which gets underway today in Sadanski, Bulgaria.

    The three-day forum is organized by the American Commerce, Industry and Science Council for Greece and the Balkans, based in Thessaloniki and aims to promote regional cooperation and joint ventures by Greek and Bulgarian companies.

    The forum's main attraction is an evolving alliance between Hellenic Telecommunications Organization with Bulgaria's state telecoms company.

    Telecommunications companies from the two countries will have the opportunity to discuss further cooperation.

    [21] VARTHOLOMEOS VISITS TIRANA, MEET WITH PRESIDENT, PREMIER

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos is presently on an official visit to the Autocephalus Church of Albania, where he met with the Archbishop of Tirana and all of Albania Anastasios with whom he discussed issues of mutual interest and matters concerning all the Orthodox Church.

    Mr. Vartholomeos also met with the President of Albania Reijep Meidani, Premier Ilir Meta and the Speaker of the House Skender Gjinusi, as well as leaders of Christian denominations and other official religions of Albania.

    [22] GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER CONCLUDES OFFICIAL VISIT TO CANADA

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou is concluding today a four-day, official visit to Canada, where he met with Canadian Premier Jean Chretien, as well as with members of the parliamentary committee for foreign affairs and international trade and the Committee for Greek-Canadian friendship.

    Mr. Papandreou briefed the Canadian officials on the Cyprus issue and the latest developments in Greek-Turkish relations, while he will also exchange views on developments in the Balkans, particularly Kosovo and Bosnia, given that Canada has sent military contingents to the UN-led international peace-keeping forces in the region.

    Today, the Foreign Minister will meet with his Canadian counterpart Mr. Lloyd Axworthy with whom he will examine the opportunities for further collaboration on bilateral and international matters.

    In a relevant announcement issued by his office, Mr. Axworthy stated that "with the over 250,000 Canadians of Greek descent living in Canada, the ties binding the two countries grow stronger with the passage of time and from generation to generation."

    Mr. Papandreou will depart for Boston tomorrow where he will address an event organized by Harvard.

    He will leave for Paris from Boston to meet his French counterpart Hubert Vedrine and French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.

    Mr. Papandreou will leave for The Hague on November 9 to meet with his Dutch counterpart Van Archen. He will then return to Athens to be present during the visit by US President Bill Clinton.

    On Nov. 15, Mr. Papandreou will participate in the European Union's Council of General Affairs and then leave for Moscow to meet his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov, as well as Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

    On November 18-19, Mr. Papandreou will accompany Prime Minister Costas Simitis at the OSCE's summit in Istanbul.

    [23] FOREIGN UNDERSECRETARY IN DUBAI AT GULF-EU JOINT COUNCIL

    The European Union's Foreign Ministers Joint Council and the Gulf Cooperation Council convened in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, yesterday where the participants discussed the progress in the negotiations pertaining to the establishment of a free trade zone, the Middles East Peace process, the Balkans, terrorism and human rights.

    Greece was represented by the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Grigoris Niotis who met with the UAE's Minister and Undersecretary of Defense, Messrs. Mohammed Al Maktoum and Saif Saed, respectively.

    The talks confirmed the forthcoming visit to be conducted by Greece's Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos to the UAE on November 16- 18.

    [24] FYROM PREMIER ANNOUNCES CABINET RESHUFFLE

    FYROM's Prime Minister Liuptcko Georgievski will proceed to a cabinet reshuffle, according to press reports.

    The governing VMRO-DPMNE announced that Mr. Georgieski will proceed to an extensive reshuffle as an act of responsibility, given the trust bestowed upon the party during the first round of presidential elections.

    [25] VASILEV: GREECE IS THE ONLY COUNTRY THAT PROPOSED CONCRETE AID

    Bulgarian minister of commerce and tourism Baledin Vasilev stressed that Greece is the only country which has proposed specific funds for the Balkan countries, expressing satisfaction for Greece's decision to offer the sum of 80 million dollars for the materialization of social programs and projects in the Bulgarian infrastructures.

    Both Mr. Vasilev and Bulgaria's minister of finance Muravei Randev participated in the international economic forum for the reconstruction of south-eastern Europe that took place in Thessaloniki.

    It should be noted that a Greek delegation, made up of minister of Macedonia-Thrace Yiannis Magriotis, undersecretary of national economy Rodoula Zisi and representatives of Greek firms active in the sectors of building materials, furniture, textile and food and beverages, will visit Bulgaria next week.

    [26] THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH IS ON A VISIT TO ALBANIA

    Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos, who is on a formal visit to Albania, will visit today the cities of Leza and Skodra and later in the afternoon is scheduled to meet with local religious and political party leaders.

    Yesterday, on the first day of his visit to Albania, the Ecumenical Patriarch had meetings with the country's state and political leadership and reiterated that Albania is a live example of religious tolerance and multi- cultural co-existence.

    In the meeting he had with Albanian president Redzep Meidani, the Ecumenical Patriarch stressed the need for the religious communities to contribute more to the emancipation of societies which are in a transitional state.

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