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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 99-11-04

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 4, 1999

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] GREECE REACTS TO WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE ON TERRORISM
  • [02] BUDGET TABLED IN PARLIAMENT, THE LAST DRAFTED IN DRACHMAS
  • [03] DEFENSE MINISTER TO VISIT UNITED ARAB EMIRATES THIS MONTH
  • [04] SMALL QUAKE, 4.9 RICHTER, RATTLES SOUTHWESTERN GREECE
  • [05] CONFERENCE ON RECONSTRUCTION OF S.E. EUROPE CONCLUDES
  • [06] EX-PUBLIC ORDER MINISTER: ARTICLE ON TERRORISM IS RIDICULOUS
  • [07] PHILOXENIA '99 OPENS TODAY AT THESSALONIKI INTERNATIONAL FAIR
  • [08] PM HOLDS TALKS WITH PARTY LEADERS IN LIGHT OF CLINTON'S VISIT
  • [09] FERRY'S DEATH TOLL RISES TO 14, THREE MORE BODIES DISCOVERED
  • [10] GREECE DRAWS UNPRECEDENTED SECURITY MEASURES FOR CLINTON
  • [11] THE GREEK GOVERNMENT EXPRESSED SATISFACTION AFTER THE STATEMENTS MADE BY RUBIN AND BURNS
  • [12] THE POSITIONS OF NEW DEMOCRACY IN THE SECTOR OF HEALTH
  • [13] REACTIONS TO THE US NEWSPAPER ARTICLE ON TERRORISM IN GREECE
  • [14] NEW DEMOCRACY: THERE IS A PROBLEM OF TERRORISM BUT IT IS HARD TO UNDERSTAND THE ADVISABILITY OF CERTAIN PRESS REPORTS
  • [15] GREEK COMMUNIST PARTY: WASHINGTON IS AWARE OF THE TERRORIST ORGANIZATION "17 NOVEMBER" AND ITS EXISTENCE IS CONVENIENT
  • [16] THE FUNERAL OF A FORMER PRESIDENT OF PANAMA, WHO WAS OF GREEK ORIGIN, WILL BE HELD ON NOVEMBER 8
  • [17] THREE MORE KURDS WERE FOUND DEAD IN THE SUPER FAST FERRY-3
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [18] PRIME MINISTER IN BULGARIA TODAY FOR TRIPARTITE MEETING
  • [19] US TO LIFT EMBARGO AGAINST SERBIA IF FREE ELECTIONS ARE HELD
  • [20] STATE DEPARTMENT: ANONYMOUS CLAIMS DON'T REFLECT OUR VIEW
  • [21] PREMIER SIMITIS EXPRESSES SUPPORT TO ALBANIAN COUNTERPART
  • [22] PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS IS IN BULGARIA
  • [23] AVRAMOPOULOS-ANNAN MEETING IN NEW YORK - - - - - - - - - - - - -

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] GREECE REACTS TO WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE ON TERRORISM

    The recent article published by the U.S. daily "Washington Post", has provoked a flurry of reactions in Greece as its author quotes an anonymous U.S. official who said Washington could not vouch for "people at other levels (of government) who have potential associations" with the group.

    Government spokesperson Dimitris Reppas characterized the article as beyond the realm of reality and said that he hopes it does not reflect the State Department's views. Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Grigoris Niotis and Greece's Ambassador in Washington have submitted protest demarches to the State Department, while a similar protest was given to the US Ambassador in Athens Nicholas Burns.

    As a result, the State Department has issued two consecutive retractions in an effort to alleviate the negative climate that has blanketed bilateral relations, especially in light of the forthcoming visit to Greece by US President Bill Clinton.

    [02] BUDGET TABLED IN PARLIAMENT, THE LAST DRAFTED IN DRACHMAS

    The Minister of National Economy and Finance Yiannos Papantoniou submitted next year's budget in Parliament last night, the last one before Greece's participation in the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

    The 2000 budget allows for a 5.8 percent increase in revenues, a further cut in government deficits, tax cuts worth 470 billion drachmas and a 7.4 percent increase in public spending.

    The budget includes measures to support lower incomes, worth 470 billion drachmas, including higher tax-exempt income ceilings.

    [03] DEFENSE MINISTER TO VISIT UNITED ARAB EMIRATES THIS MONTH

    Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos will conduct an official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on November 16, where he will hold talks with the government aimed at strengthening bilateral defense cooperation.

    Foreign undersecretary Grigoris Niotis was in Dubai yesterday, where he represented Greece yesterday at a one-day joint meeting of European Union (EU) and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign ministers.

    On the sidelines of the meeting, Niotis held talks with the UAE defense minister and foreign undersecretary.

    [04] SMALL QUAKE, 4.9 RICHTER, RATTLES SOUTHWESTERN GREECE

    An earthquake measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale occurred in southwestern Greece early this morning, causing no injuries or damages.

    The epicenter was located 225 kilometers southwest of Athens.

    [05] CONFERENCE ON RECONSTRUCTION OF S.E. EUROPE CONCLUDES

    The two-day "Conference on the Reconstruction of SE Europe" came to a close in Thessaloniki last night with the announcement of the conclusions reached.

    According to the text of conclusions, the programs for the reconstruction of southeastern Europe in the framework of the Stability Pact should move with speedy rates and adequate funds so as to cover the 10-year worsening of the position of countries in the region , compared to countries in central and eastern Europe.

    Particular importance is attributed to the present underdeveloped regional cooperation with the promotion of joint investment programs, both at the level of private initiative and states.

    Promoting regional cooperation and avoiding each country being handled separately is a necessary precondition for the reconstruction program's success.

    Processes for the accession of southeastern European countries to the European Union should be speeded up with customs association being the first step.

    Greece's 180-billion-drachma reconstruction plan for the Balkans has been unanimously approved by all of the region's countries.

    [06] EX-PUBLIC ORDER MINISTER: ARTICLE ON TERRORISM IS RIDICULOUS

    Greece's former minister of Public Order Philippos Petsalnikos stated that the claims made in the "Washington Post" article referring to terrorism links within the Greek government circles are unacceptable, ridiculous and foolish.

    Speaking to the Macedonian Press Agency, Mr. Petsalnikos stated that it is a shame the article was published on the eve of Mr. Clinton's visit to Greece.

    The former minister speculated that the report could actually aim at designing an overall climate that would subject Greece to pressures on matters related to terrorism combat.

    Concerning the bilateral accord of police cooperation pending between the two countries, Mr. Petsalnikos stated that it is ready to be signed. He added that hit is the 21st or 22nd such accord and, in addition to terrorism- related matters, it refers to crime, illegal immigration and other issues.

    [07] PHILOXENIA '99 OPENS TODAY AT THESSALONIKI INTERNATIONAL FAIR

    The annual tourism exposition Philoxenia '99 is to be inaugurated today 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.

    [08] PM HOLDS TALKS WITH PARTY LEADERS IN LIGHT OF CLINTON'S VISIT

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis is to hold a round of meetings with political party leaders in order to discuss the upcoming arrival of United States President Bill Clinton in Athens.

    Specifically, Mr. Simitis will tomorrow with the Secretary -General of the Communist Party of Greece Aleka Paparega, whose party supporters are planing a protest rally, as well as with the President of the Coalition of the Left and Progress Nikos Constantopoulos, the leader of the Democratic and Social Movement Dimitris Tsovolas.

    The Premier will meet with the leader of the main opposition party, New Democracy's Costas Karamanlis, next Thursday.

    [09] FERRY'S DEATH TOLL RISES TO 14, THREE MORE BODIES DISCOVERED

    Three more bodies have been discovered aboard the Super Fast Ferry -3 which caught on fire Monday night, with the overall death toll having now risen to 14, all of the victims being Kurdish nationals who had attempted to smuggle into Greece.

    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 victims, all of whom died of smoke inhalation, were discovered in the ferry's parking levels.

    Seven of the deceased are to be buried today, at the expense of the vessel's owner company Superfast Ferries SA, while the remaining victims have yet to be identified.

    [10] GREECE DRAWS UNPRECEDENTED SECURITY MEASURES FOR CLINTON

    Over 10,000 Greek policemen have been assigned to the Athens "Hellinikon" airport, in light of the visit of United States President Bill Clinton to Greece.

    The airport premises resemble a "fortress", while the same security force will be in effect throughout the American President's stay in Greece.

    [11] THE GREEK GOVERNMENT EXPRESSED SATISFACTION AFTER THE STATEMENTS MADE BY RUBIN AND BURNS

    The Greek government expressed satisfaction after the statements made by US state department spokesman James Rubin and US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns and after the telephone communication Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas had with Mr. Burns regarding the "Washington Post" report about alleged links between Greek government officials and terrorists.

    Acting Greek government spokesman Nikos Athanasakis characterized the report as ridiculous and sordid and stressed that after the clarifications that were made by the US side the whole issue is regarded as closed.

    After the strong reactions of the Greek government, US state department spokesman James Rubin had stated that the views allegedly expressed by US officials to the "Washington Post" do not reflect the positions of the US government, while US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns characterized as unrealistic the insinuations included in the report.

    [12] THE POSITIONS OF NEW DEMOCRACY IN THE SECTOR OF HEALTH

    The upgrading of the rural type health centers, the establishment of the family doctor institution based on the free choice of the citizens and the creation of a common health booklet for all Greeks are among the positions of the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy in the sector of health that were presented today by party leader Kostas Karamanlis.

    Mr. Karamanlis spoke of a complete network of measures for the reform of the public health system which is the product of hard work and discussions, adding that it is still open to dialogue for new proposals.

    [13] REACTIONS TO THE US NEWSPAPER ARTICLE ON TERRORISM IN GREECE

    Commenting on the US newspaper "Washington Post" report which links terrorism with the Greek government, press ministry general secretary Yiannis Nikolaou stated to the Athens radio station "Sky" that the United States is the country that can be accused of terrorism internationally.

    Minister of interior Vaso Papandreou commenting on the US newspaper report on terrorism in Greece, stated to the Athens radio station "Flash" that we will not have the Americans dictate to us what to do, while she characterized the article in question as ridiculous and sordid.

    Undersecretary of foreign affairs Grigoris Niotis characterized the report as despicable and underlined that the Greek government reacted immediately with protests to the US government.

    Former minister of public order Stelios Papathemelis characterized the "Washington Post" report as provocation and speaking to MPA expressed the concern that the US president wants to exert pressures in favor of Turkey. He stated that the report is a provocation and repeats things already said thousands of times in the past which have already been rejected by the US government and its agencies. Mr. Papathemelis said that they are brought back to surface through the "Washington Post" report in an effort to exert pressures not on the issue of terrorism but on other issues that are among president Clinton's priorities who obviously wants to exert pressures in favor of Turkey.

    [14] NEW DEMOCRACY: THERE IS A PROBLEM OF TERRORISM BUT IT IS HARD TO UNDERSTAND THE ADVISABILITY OF CERTAIN PRESS REPORTS

    Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos commenting on the "Washington Post" report regarding the alleged links of Greek government officials with the terrorist organization "17 November", stated that there is a problem of terrorism but this does not mean that we understand the advisability of certain press reports just before the visit of the US president to Greece.

    Mr. Spiliotopoulos stated that such reports should be based on specific evidence.

    [15] GREEK COMMUNIST PARTY: WASHINGTON IS AWARE OF THE TERRORIST ORGANIZATION "17 NOVEMBER" AND ITS EXISTENCE IS CONVENIENT

    The United States are aware of the organization "17 November" and it appears that its existence is convenient, stated the Greek Communist party, KKE.

    The KKE accuses Washington of blackmail aimed at creating a policing mechanism in Greece and calls on the people to participate in mobilizations.

    [16] THE FUNERAL OF A FORMER PRESIDENT OF PANAMA, WHO WAS OF GREEK ORIGIN, WILL BE HELD ON NOVEMBER 8

    Former Panama president Dimitrios Lakkas, who was of Greek origin, died last Monday suffering from heart problems, as a heart attack on October 27 left him in a coma.

    He became Panama's president in 1969 and stayed in office for 9 years. Father Fotios Bithas a priest of the Greek community in Panama stated that Dimitrios Lakkas was a distinguished member of the Greek community. He also said that his father came from Kranidi and his mother from the island of Lesvos.

    His funeral will be held on Monday, November 8 and it will be a day of mourning for the whole country.

    [17] THREE MORE KURDS WERE FOUND DEAD IN THE SUPER FAST FERRY-3

    The death toll from the Super Fast Ferry-3 fire continues to rise as the bodies of three more Kurdish illegal immigrants were found in the ship's third garage raising the number of those killed in the fire to 14.

    According to the statement issued by the ship owners, the fire possibly started in one of the trucks. The ship has sailed into the Skaramanga shipyards where the vehicles that are still on board will be unloaded and the necessary repairs will be made.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [18] PRIME MINISTER IN BULGARIA TODAY FOR TRIPARTITE MEETING

    Prime minister Costas Simitis will travel to Bulgaria today, November 4, where he will attend the two-day tripartite meeting of Greece, Bulgaria and Romania that will be held in the resort of Borovec. Another such meeting had been held in Delphi, central Greece last fall at the initiative of the Greek premier.

    Mr. Simitis and the presidents of Bulgaria and Romania, Petar Stoyanov and Emil Constantinescu respectively, will examine the implementation of the stability pact in south- eastern Europe and the effects the crisis in Kosovo had on the Balkan states.

    [19] US TO LIFT EMBARGO AGAINST SERBIA IF FREE ELECTIONS ARE HELD

    In a shift in its policy towards Serbia, the United States dropped a demand that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic be removed from power before sanctions are lifted.

    Instead, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stated that Washington would move to drop sanctions once a free and fair election was held. Ms. Albright stated that "we will support suspending the flight ban and oil embargo as soon as free elections are held in Serbia."

    She added that "we believe it is vital that the people of Serbia understand that if they have the courage to bring down the walls of repression that separate them from a democratic future, they will not face that future alone."

    In addition to dropping sanctions once a democratic election is held, the U.S. have lifted its objection to a pilot European Union program to send heating oil to opposition- controlled towns in Serbia and increase assistance to anti-Milosevic groups.

    [20] STATE DEPARTMENT: ANONYMOUS CLAIMS DON'T REFLECT OUR VIEW

    US State Department spokesperson James Rubin has scurried to refute the recent article published yesterday in the "Washington Post", which quotes anonymous U.S. officials as having stated that the Greek government has potential association with terrorist groups, by stating today that it does not reflect the Clinton Administration's views.

    US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns stated last night that any suggestions that terrorism suspects are linked to the Greek government are groundless and do not represent US policies and views.

    Yesterday, Greek government spokesperson Dimitris Reppas said that "the particular concern and effort of the Greek government and state services in combating terrorism cannot be questioned in the least bit.

    "The positions of American officials, who are included in the report, are not only far from reality, but offer negative services to Greek-American relations. We hope that they do not reflect the positions of the United States government."

    Greece's envoy to Washington yesterday delivered a demarche at the US State Department over the "Washington Post" article.

    [21] PREMIER SIMITIS EXPRESSES SUPPORT TO ALBANIAN COUNTERPART

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis relayed the Greek government's support to the Albania's new cabinet, during a telephone conversation he held with his Albanian counterpart Ilir Meta yesterday.

    According to Albanian press reports, Mr. Simitis assured Mr. Meta that the two countries will continue to enjoy their course of cooperation, while they will soon meet in Athens.

    [22] PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS IS IN BULGARIA

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis is on a visit to Bulgaria today and tomorrow to take part together with the presidents of Bulgaria and Romania, Petar Stoyanov and Emil Constantinescu, in the tripartite meeting of Greece, Bulgaria and Romania that is being held in the winter resort of Borovec.

    This is the second such meeting and is being held as a follow-up to the first meeting that was held at Greece's initiative in Delphi, central Greece, in October 1998.

    In the meeting were discussed issues of political and economic cooperation as well as issues concerning stability in south-eastern Europe. Also, they examined Romania's and Bulgaria's European prospect and Mr. Simitis expressed Greece's support to the efforts of the two countries toward this end.

    A joint communique will be issued this evening in which Greece's role in the region will be underlined, while ways for cooperation among the three countries aimed at tackling crime and drug trafficking will be outlined.

    Referring to today's meeting, acting Greek government spokesman Nikos Athanasakis stressed that it is to the interest of the wider region.

    [23] AVRAMOPOULOS-ANNAN MEETING IN NEW YORK

    Mayor of Athens Dimitris Avramopoulos in his meeting with UN secretary-general Kofi Annan in New York presented his positions on the new role the cities are being called to play in the international scene at the threshold of the 21st century.

    Mr. Avramopoulos briefed the UN secretary- general on the initiatives undertaken by Athens at an international level for the creation of a climate of cooperation in south-eastern Europe, while he pointed out that the new role of the cities will be decisive for cooperation and understanding among the peoples.

    The UN secretary-general asked Mr. Avramopoulos to submit to the UN a memorandum on the positions he presented regarding the role of the cities in the new millennium, while he expressed the wish for a viable solution in Cyprus as a result of the efforts that are in progress.

    Mr. Annan also accepted an invitation by Mr. Avramopoulos to visit Athens but no specific date was set.

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