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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 99-11-10

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 10, 1999

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] PRESIDENT OF GREECE TRAVELS TO SLOVENIA TODAY
  • [02] "ANTI-STATE ACTION" GROUP CLAIMS ATTACK AT SUZUKI DEALERSHIP
  • [03] TORRENTIAL RAINS WRECK HAVOC IN THE PELOPONNESE, S.W. ATTICA
  • [04] PASOK SECRETARY: WE SHOULD HOLD SUBSTANTIVE TALKS WITH U.S.
  • [05] THE SCHEDULE OF THE US PRESIDENT'S VISIT WILL BE ANNOUNCED TODAY
  • [06] SIMITIS - BARNIER MEETING ON FRIDAY
  • [07] THE IPEKCI AWARDS CEREMONY WILL BE HELD ON FRIDAY
  • [08] THE FORMAL ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE CLINTON VISIT TO GREECE WILL BE MADE THIS AFTERNOON
  • [09] BILL CLINTON WILL VISIT GREECE ON NOVEMBER 19
  • [10] "A TRAIN OF FRIENDSHIP" FROM TURKEY TO THESSALONIKI
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [11] US PRESIDENT POSTPONES VISIT TO GREECE BY ONE WEEK
  • [12] PREMIER MEETS WITH FRENCH COUNTERPART IN PARIS
  • [13] SERB PARLIAMENT CONVENES, STUDENTS DEMAND EARLY ELECTIONS
  • [14] US PRESIDENT CONFIDENT OF SECURITY MEASURES TAKEN BY GREECE
  • [15] EX- US PENTAGON OFFICIAL BLASTS GREECE ON TERRORIST ISSUES
  • [16] SOLUTION TO CYPRUS ISSUE IS NOWHERE IN SIGHT, SAYS US OFFICIAL
  • [17] BULGARIAN POPULATION FALLS BY ONE MILLION IN THE PAST DECADE
  • [18] FYROM OFFERS $530,000 FOR INFORMATION ON 95 GLIGOROV ATTACK
  • [19] CYPRIOT PRESIDENT COMMENTS ON ANNAN INITIATIVE
  • [20] GREEK PRESIDENT MEETS WITH SLOVENIAN COUNTERPART
  • [21] EU: GREECE MEETS THE DEFICIT CRITERION
  • [22] STEPHANOPOULOS IS ON A VISIT TO SLOVENIA
  • [23] A BRITISH NEWSPAPER BACKS THE RETURN OF THE PARTHENON MARBLES TO GREECE
  • [24] VENIZELOS: GREECE'S AND FYROM'S VIEWS ON SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE COINCIDE - - - - - - - - - - - - -

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] PRESIDENT OF GREECE TRAVELS TO SLOVENIA TODAY

    The President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos will embark on a three- day, official visit to Slovenia today, at the invitation of Slovenian President Milan Kucan.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos will be accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoris Niotis.

    [02] "ANTI-STATE ACTION" GROUP CLAIMS ATTACK AT SUZUKI DEALERSHIP

    A homemade bomb damaged four vehicles parked in front of a Suzuki showroom in Athens early this morning, with responsibility for the attack claimed by the "Anti-state Action" group.

    No-one was injured in the attack, although material damages have been estimated at eight million drachmas.

    [03] TORRENTIAL RAINS WRECK HAVOC IN THE PELOPONNESE, S.W. ATTICA

    Torrential rains and strong winds have caused extensive damages in the Peloponnese and southwestern Attica during the past 24 hours.

    The Athens-Peloponnese railway route remains closed and passengers are being transported by the Railway Organization's buses.

    [04] PASOK SECRETARY: WE SHOULD HOLD SUBSTANTIVE TALKS WITH U.S.

    The secretary of the ruling PASOK party's central committee Costas Skandalides stated today that Greece should hold substantive talks with the United States over pending issues.

    Speaking to an Athens radio station, Mr. Skandalides stated that perhaps it would be better if US President Bill Clinton first goes to Ankara prior to his visit in Athens where he will hold talks with Greek government leaders.

    [05] THE SCHEDULE OF THE US PRESIDENT'S VISIT WILL BE ANNOUNCED TODAY

    The official schedule of the US president's visit to Greece will be announced by the White House today. The US president will visit Greece on November 19 in the hope that the anti- American sentiment will be defused by then.

    According to information, president Bill Clinton will arrive in Athens from Istanbul to meet with president Kostis Stephanopoulos and prime minister Kostas Simitis.

    The newspaper "Washington Post" referred to the issue today, writing that according to US officials the US president considers seriously the possibility to delay his visit to Greece.

    Minister to the prime minister Kostas Gitonas stated that Mr. Clinton will come to Greece and that his visit will be useful and fruitful and will not be affected by the negative climate.

    [06] SIMITIS - BARNIER MEETING ON FRIDAY

    European Commissioner responsible for issues of regional policy Michel Barnier will meet with prime minister Kostas Simitis in Athens on Friday.

    The EU commissioner will also have contacts with minister of national economy and finance Yiannos Papantoniou and foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou.

    [07] THE IPEKCI AWARDS CEREMONY WILL BE HELD ON FRIDAY

    The Peace and Friendship Abdi Ipekci Awards ceremony will be held on Friday and the prize awarded will go to Greek and Turkish citizens who were distinguished in the period 1998-99 for their activities aimed at the Greek-Turkish rapprochement. The award ceremony will be held in Athens on Friday morning.

    The representatives of the Ipekci Awards stated that their main goal is the rapprochement of the people of Greece and Turkey through actions, statements and efforts that refer to the relations of the two peoples in a constructive way.

    [08] THE FORMAL ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE CLINTON VISIT TO GREECE WILL BE MADE THIS AFTERNOON

    Formal announcements on the Clinton visit to Greece will be issued in Washington and Athens this afternoon, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas who refused to say anything on when the visit will take place and pointed out that there is cooperation between the two governments, while bilateral relations are in a very good level and the government regards the visit as important.

    Responding to the question if the postponement of the visit is a negative development Mr. Reppas stated that if foreign leaders did not visit Greece and the prime minister was not invited to foreign countries it would have been a negative development but this does not happen and the role of Greece is recognized through the visits of foreign leaders. He said that Greece's position is stronger than ever before and the improvement of the Greek-US relations is to the interest of the country.

    Responding to the question on the role the protests have played, he responded that there is a group of citizens that react but they are not the majority and do not affect the visit.

    Commenting on the statements made by US president Bill Clinton on the situation in Greece, he said that he does not regard them as derogatory, while on the "Washington Post" report on terrorism, he commented that the association of leading officials, who took part in the struggle against dictatorship, with terrorist phenomena is unacceptable and is being made in bad faith. He also said that no accusation of government negligence is justifiable as there is a close cooperation between Greece and the United States in the fight against terrorism.

    [09] BILL CLINTON WILL VISIT GREECE ON NOVEMBER 19

    US president Bill Clinton will be in Greece on November 19, according to announcements issued by the governments of Greece and the United States.

    In the Greek announcement is mentioned that after consultations between the two countries and to the interest of the Greek-US relations, the Greek government has suggested to the White House that the US president's visit to Greece take place on November 19 and 20 after the OSCE summit meeting. In the announcement it is also mentioned that initially the visit had been scheduled for November 22 and 24.

    The Greek announcement concludes that the White House accepted the Greek proposal and that the two governments believe that the period before the US president's visit will be used productively for the best possible planning of the visit. In the announcement that was issued by the White House is mentioned that this change was made after a proposal by the Greek government, while the visit of the US president is being characterized as very important for both countries.

    The White House also mentions that Greece is a NATO ally and has very close ties with the United States and that the two countries share many common interests on economic, political and security issues, while it underlines the very strong and old ties linking the American and Greek people.

    [10] "A TRAIN OF FRIENDSHIP" FROM TURKEY TO THESSALONIKI

    The "Train of Friendship" arrived in Thessaloniki this morning from Istanbul at the initiative of the Turkish Railways and the state radio-television, TRT, with the prospect to become a continuation of the effort started by Eleftherios Venizelos and Kemal Ataturk.

    One of its cars is that used by Ataturk to travel in Turkey's interior, while another car has been turned into a museum with an exhibition of photographs of Venizelos and Ataturk reflecting the spirit of their time.

    The 60member Turkish mission, among them 40 journalists, attended an event held in the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki in commemoration of the 61st anniversary of the death of Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey who was born in Thessaloniki at the house where the Turkish consulate is now housed.

    The Turkish mission also visited the archaeological site of Vergina, while this afternoon they will visit the offices of the Association of Daily Newspaper Journalists of Macedonia-Thrace. Later in the evening, the mission will leave for Athens where tomorrow evening it will attend an event that will be held by the Turkish embassy on the occasion of the Ipekci Awards.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [11] US PRESIDENT POSTPONES VISIT TO GREECE BY ONE WEEK

    Propelled by concerns over the mounting protests in Greece, the US State Department announced that President Bill Clinton's visit to Greece will be postponed until Friday, November 19, i.e. five days later than it was originally planned for.

    Mr. Clinton and his entourage of 750 officials are expected to stay in Athens for one day, where he will meet with the President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos and Prime Minister Costas Simitis.

    His official itinerary is expected to be announced today by the White House.

    [12] PREMIER MEETS WITH FRENCH COUNTERPART IN PARIS

    Prime Mister Costas Simitis met with his French counterpart Jacques Chirac in Paris yesterday, where the two men discussed issues pertaining to the expansion of the European Union and the issue of Turkey's candidacy as an EU member.

    Following his talks with Mr. Chirac, which were reportedly held in a friendly climate, Mr. Simitis stated that both countries share the belief that all pending issues need to be resolved at the forthcoming EU Summit at Helsinki.

    [13] SERB PARLIAMENT CONVENES, STUDENTS DEMAND EARLY ELECTIONS

    Serbia's Parliament is in session since yesterday, reviewing 16 items on its agenda, while the leader of the Serb Renewal Movement Vuk Drascovic has asked the legislators o review the matter of early elections as well.

    Meanwhile, 3,000 college students held a rally on the university campus and marched in Belgrade' streets demanding early elections.

    [14] US PRESIDENT CONFIDENT OF SECURITY MEASURES TAKEN BY GREECE

    US President Bill Clinton stated yesterday that he is confident of the security measures taken by Greek officials for his upcoming trip to Athens, which was later in the day postponed by one week, and said he would be untroubled by planned mass protests against his visit.

    "I expect the demonstrations and I'm not troubled by them and I think that the security issues will be fine," Clinton told reporters at the White House a day after the State Department issued a Public Announcement cautioning Americans about the situation in Greece ahead of and during the presidential visit.

    Mr. Clinton noted that many Greeks strongly opposed the war over the Albanian-populated province of Kosovo and that Greece had often been the site of demonstrations.

    "I know that Greece has a long and rich history of Communists, Anarchists and others on the left demonstrating and they all disagreed with my position in Kosovo, as you know," he said.

    But, he added, "we want very badly to see a resolution of the tensions between Greece and Turkey and the Aegean, especially over Cyprus and I think all Greeks share that hope without regard to their political views."

    [15] EX- US PENTAGON OFFICIAL BLASTS GREECE ON TERRORIST ISSUES

    In an article published in the "Washington Post", former State Department and Pentagon official E. Wayne Merry, presently a program director at the US Atlantic Council, blasts Greece for failing to discover the "November 17" terrorist organization.

    Mr. Merry writes that the US President's imminent visit to Greece will be a test, referring to the State Department's hope of signing a protocol on counter-terrorist cooperation.

    "However well-intentioned on the American side, this accord must cope with the fact that Greek authorities do not want to find and prosecute the terrorists," Mr. Merry opines, adding that "the real question is what our own government is prepared to do when a foreign power consistently fails to combat terrorism targeted at U.S. personnel."

    Furthermore, the writer points out that Greece does not have the world's worst terrorism problem; far from it.

    "But Greece does have the world's worst counter-terrorism problem," he states, adding that no member of November 17 has been arrested or even officially identified in a course of 24 years.

    "The terrorists have expanded their tactics from guns to bombs to rockets, but the Greek police and their political masters remain unmoved."

    The former Pentagon official also lambasted the Greek police, whose response he calls "nothing short of deliberate negligence".

    He further adds that "the real problem is one of attitude", stating that officials from Greece's Public Order and Foreign ministries many times told him that "November 17 is not really an important problem, New York is more dangerous than Athens, and the terrorists will eventually stop their killing. U.S. help is not wanted. Patience is the solution. The problem, in their eyes, is the bad image in America that keeps our tourists (and the dollars they might spend) away from Greece.

    "Greek police are often said to be reluctant to pursue November 17 because of its supposed links with figures of the ruling left- wing PASOK party," the writer ads.

    "This is certainly part of the problem. However, several right-wing governments also did nothing. The sad truth is that November 17 enjoys wide popular acceptance in Greece, reflecting deep-seated ethnocentric Balkan prejudices. These terrorists are tolerated not for their veneer of Marxism-Leninism (which nobody takes seriously) but for their rabid anti- U.S., anti-NATO, anti-EU, anti-Turkey, anti- Western nationalism.

    "Greek officials say privately that they have more influence on Capitol Hill than does the State Department, that the Greek lobby will always protect aid for Athens. If so, is our rhetoric about fighting terrorism as empty as the Greeks?"

    [16] SOLUTION TO CYPRUS ISSUE IS NOWHERE IN SIGHT, SAYS US OFFICIAL

    "The solution to the Cyprus problem is very far ahead", stated the leader of the U.S. congressional committee on foreign affairs Richard Murphy who, according to the Turkish daily "Cumhurriyet", included the island issue among the world's four unsolvable ones.

    These insurmountable problems, Mr. Murphy stated, are Cyprus, Palestine, Kashmir and Ireland, while he added that in all these cases the positions of both sides are resolute and unyielding.

    His statements have resulted in a flurry of reaction in Nicosia where both the ruling party and the opposition gave suitable retorts to the US official.

    [17] BULGARIAN POPULATION FALLS BY ONE MILLION IN THE PAST DECADE

    Bulgaria's population has fallen by nearly one million people since 1989, according to the results of a demography conference held in Sofia yesterday.

    Since 1990, dropping birth rates have resulted in a 300,000 reduction in the population and 700,000 people have emigrated, according to Minko Minkov, a demography expert.

    The Bulgarian Institute of Statistics said the current population was around 8.23 million people.

    According to the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences the birth rate has fallen from 12 per thousand population in 1990 to 7.9 per thousand now. An Academy member said the phenomenon was due to "the worsening living conditions during the transition."

    [18] FYROM OFFERS $530,000 FOR INFORMATION ON 95 GLIGOROV ATTACK

    The government of FYROM is offering a $530,000 reward for any information leading to the identification of the car-bomber who attempted to assassinate Kiro Gligorov in 1995.

    FYROM's Minister of the Interior Pavle Trajanov stated yesterday that four years have passed since the attack and the investigation has yet to come up with any concrete results.

    Mr. Gligorov, now 82, was seriously injured when a booby-trapped car exploded near the parliament building in Skopje in October 1995. The president, who was passing in another vehicle, received head injuries and lost his right eye in the blast. His driver was killed.

    Mr. Trajanov also said that the parliament would set up a commission to lead an inquiry into the attack.

    [19] CYPRIOT PRESIDENT COMMENTS ON ANNAN INITIATIVE

    Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides stated that he expects US President Bill Clinton to act on the United Nations resolution and the decision drawn by the "Group of 8", during the latter's imminent visits to Athens and Ankara.

    Shortly before his departure for South Africa yesterday, President Clerides stated that the Cypriot government awaits the promotion of restarting the talks for the Cyprus issue in a substantive manner and sans conditions.

    As to when the talks could start, President Clerides stated that the UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan's position is to assess the developments to ensue from Mr. Clinton's contacts on the sidelines of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Conference to be held in Istanbul later this month.

    [20] GREEK PRESIDENT MEETS WITH SLOVENIAN COUNTERPART

    In the first such official visit conducted to Slovenia, the President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos was received by his Slovenian counterpart Milan Kucan in Ljubljana today, where he was officially greeted at the Presidential Mansion.

    Following the vis-a-vis talks between the two leaders, delegations from both countries signed agreements on scientific and technological cooperation.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos will also meet today with the Prime Minister of Slovenia Ganes Girnosik this afternoon, while in the evening he will address a business forum held in the capital city.

    [21] EU: GREECE MEETS THE DEFICIT CRITERION

    Greece meets the deficit criterion which is necessary in order to join the Euro-zone countries, according to a statement issued today by the European Commission which mentions that the public deficit in Greece is less than 3% of the GDP.

    The European Commission announced that it decided to propose to the next EU finance ministers council on November 29 to cancel the September 1994 decision based on which Greece was listed among the countries with excessive public deficit.

    According to the European Commission statement, Greece's public deficit was cut from 13.8% in 1993 to 4% in 1997 and to 2.5% in 1998, therefore it meets the 3% criterion set in the Maastricht Treaty which is necessary in order for the country to join the Euro-zone.

    [22] STEPHANOPOULOS IS ON A VISIT TO SLOVENIA

    President Kostis Stephanopoulos, who is on a formal visit to Slovenia, met with his counterpart Milan Kutsan. The two presidents signed an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation. Mr. Stephanopoulos also had contacts with prime minister Ganes Girnosik.

    In their meeting the two presidents discussed issues of bilateral relations and the developments in the Balkans.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos responding to a question by MPA, stressed that in the meeting there was a coincidence of views concerning the respect of the existing borders in the region.

    Slovenian president Milan Kutsan referred to the Greek proposals on the Stability Pact and stressed that Greece, due to its geo-political position and influence in the European Union and NATO, has to play a significant role in the Balkans.

    This afternoon, the Greek president will deliver a short speech in the business forum that is being held in Ljubljana with the participation of Greek businessmen who accompany Mr. Stephanopoulos in his visit.

    [23] A BRITISH NEWSPAPER BACKS THE RETURN OF THE PARTHENON MARBLES TO GREECE

    The British newspaper "The Guardian" in an article published today backs the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

    It stresses that the British Museum can not refuse their return to Greece on the grounds that Greece can not protect them when at the same time it organizes expensive symposiums in the hall where the archaeological treasures are being exhibited. The new museum of the Acropolis in Athens is also being mentioned in the newspaper report which is presented as the most suitable place to house the marbles.

    [24] VENIZELOS: GREECE'S AND FYROM'S VIEWS ON SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE COINCIDE

    The Thessaloniki-Skopje oil pipe line was characterized by FYROM prime minister Ljupco Geogievski as a project of major political importance for his country's European integration. Speaking in the foundation laying ceremony of the pipe line, which is part of a wider 180million dollar investment by the Hellenic Petroleum in Skopje, Mr. Geogievski stated that the only thing that is not needed in the Greek-FYROM relations is political prejudice.

    The foundation laying ceremony of the 280kilometer long oil pipe line, was held in the OKTA oil refineries in Skopje in the presence of Greek minister of development Evangelos Venizelos.

    Referring to the project that will be completed a year and a half before the expiration of the 2002 deadline, Mr. Venizelos stated that its construction is placed within the overall framework of the reconstruction of south-eastern Europe. He also stated that it will give a new boost to FYROM's wish to become part of the European Union given the fact that the project is expected to be part of the inter- European energy networks.

    On the issue of bilateral relations, Mr. Venizelos pointed out that Greece's and FYROM's views coincide regarding the future of south- eastern Europe. He also stated that Greece is present in FYROM as a friendly neighboring country which deals with the Balkan states showing respect and on an equal basis.

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