|Thursday, 22 April 2021|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 99-11-20
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
Last Update: 23:27 GMT+2
NEWS IN DETAIL
 CLINTON: IF THERE WAS A GOLD MEDAL FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY GREECE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO IT
Web Posted: 18:27 GMT+2Athens, 20/11/1999 (MPA) US president Bill Clinton praised the speedy progress of the Greek economy speaking in a formal dinner given in his honor in the Intercontinental Hotel attended by 1.200 distinguished guests, mostly businessmen.
The US president stressed that the Greek government managed to make miracles in the past few years, while he stated characteristically that if there was a gold medal for economic recovery Greece would have been entitled to it. He said that Greece's accession into the EMU is certain, stressing that Greece is on the right economic path and investors see it with a different eye compared to previous years.
Analyzing the proposals of the United States for the improvement of bilateral economic relations, president Clinton suggested that the trade relations between Greece and the United States be doubled and stressed the significance of cooperation between Greece and the United States at all levels namely, technology, science and exchange of scientists. At this point, he made a special reference to the work of the Fullbright Institute and said that one of its scholarships should be given in honor of Yiannos Kranidiotis, characterizing him as an excellent citizen and a big friend of the United States.
In the political leg of his speech, president Clinton pointed out that a strong effort must be made for the reconciliation of Greece and Turkey, while referring to the Cyprus issue he reiterated his commitment to try as much as he can in order to find a just and viable solution. He also called on Greece to defend peace in the Balkans, stressing that it is a country that can play the role of the leading power in the south-eastern European region. He said that Greece's economic and political situation are the guarantees that allow it to play such a role, adding that the model of democracy followed by Greece can become the means for the democratization of the neighboring countries.
The US president characterized Greece as a power of freedom, democracy, growth and dignity and stressed that it must undertake an initiative on Yugoslavia as well which is a pending issue. He pointed out that there can be no dialogue on peace and cooperation in the region if Yugoslavia is absent and essentially called on Greece to use its influence for the holding of democratic elections in Yugoslavia.
President Clinton also referred to the policy of the United States in the period of the Greek junta pointing out that the United States gave a priority to their interests in the cold war era instead of backing democracy. He said that the United States did not play the role they should have and being involved in the East-West confrontation did not do their duty toward the principles and institutions that were founded in Greece. Referring to the Greek revolution against the Turkish yolk in 1821, he pointed out that the then US president Thomas Jefferson had written to Korais that there is no nation in the world that does not feel the suffering of the Greeks.
Referring to his visit to the Acropolis, president Clinton stressed that he was overwhelmed by the feeling he had. On the Olympic Games that will be held in Greece in 2004 he said that there is still a long way but he is very optimistic.
On the demonstrations of the last few days, the US president stated that he realizes why they were held and pointed out that if all the peoples in the region had the opportunity to express themselves in a peaceful and democratic manner maybe there would have been no war in Bosnia and Kossovo.
The US president completed his visit to Greece in early afternoon and left for Florence, Italy to attend an international conference.
 THE GREEK PRIME MINISTER'S SPEECH IN THE INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL
Web Posted: 17:27 GMT+2Athens, 20/11/1999 (MPA) Prime minister Kostas Simitis, speaking in an event organized in the Intercontinental Hotel in Athens by the Hellenic- American Chamber, the Proppeler Club and the Greek-US Business Council, referred to the ties between Greece and the United States, to the achievements of the Greek economy in the past few years and to the preconditions necessary for the consolidation of peace and cooperation in the Balkans.
He underlined that the two characteristics of the Greek economy is stability and growth and stressed that the basic aspiration of the Greek economic policy is social justice. Mr. Simitis also said that Greece builds strong economic ties with the United States and other countries in order to bridge the gap between the rest European Union countries and Greece. He also added that the policy in the economic sector is combined with the firm aspiration for peace and cooperation in the region. Mr. Simitis said that isolation, introversion and inaction can not be accepted in this new era, stressing that the axes and the rival fronts belong to the past.
Mr. Simitis said that peace and cooperation with Turkey means that the international law and treaties will be implemented. The use of force, the threat for the use of force and the view that everything can be negotiable belong to the times before World War I, said the prime minister, stressing that this was especially emphasized by the United States. Everybody, who want to be a part of the modern world have to use other means, namely, peaceful means in order to promote their demands, like the International Court of Justice in The Hague. He said that peace and cooperation in eastern Mediterranean means that justice must be restored and that the rule of international legality must be implemented wherever there was war, armed attacks and disaster.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, the prime minister underlined the need for the implementation of law and international legality and expressed the hope that the talks that will be held will be substantial. He also pointed out that the presence of Greece in the European developments and the policy of peace and stability it has promoted have made it a factor of peace in the region.
Mr. Simitis stated that Greece cooperates with the United States on that policy as it has cooperated in the past and will continue to do so in the future. He said that this cooperation contributes to the positive bilateral relations and has secured a different quality for Greece's international presence. The Greek prime minister also underlined the strong ties between Greece and the United States and said that the presence of Mr. Clinton confirms the free and creative relations Greece has with the United States.
 CLINTON: GREECE HAS A LEADING ROLE IN THE BALKANS
Web Posted: 17:27 GMT+2Athens, 20/11/1999 (MPA) US president Bill Clinton praised Greece's leading role in the Balkans responding to a question by a reporter in the joint press conference he gave with Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis after the end of their talks in Athens.
Mr. Clinton stated that the Greek people must understand that there is value in bilateral relations and cooperation and that even if there are differences this should not undermine in any case the partnership, cooperation and friendship. He said that he personally, admires the leading role Greece plays both in the issue of Bosnia and generally in the Balkans.
On the violent protests in Athens last night, Mr. Clinton stated that people in Greece have the absolute right to protest as this is the basic principle of democracy, adding that he believes that demonstrations must be peaceful and expressed his sympathy to the people whose businesses were damaged as a result of yesterday's violent incidents. He said that he knows that the American people value the relations with Greece and realize that almost all the Greeks were against the war in Kossovo and Bosnia.
On the same issue, Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis stated that Greece is a democratic country and everybody can express their views in a peaceful manner. He said that the friendship between the two peoples and the cooperation with the United States are not determined by such protests but by the common goals, the common aspirations and the effort to deal jointly with the existing problems. He said that today's meeting showed that common goals and aspirations exist stressing this is the basis of friendship.
President Clinton responding to a question on the Greek-Turkish relations stated that in every opportunity he had in Turkey, both publicly and privately, before the Turkish National Assembly and in all his meetings, had underlined the importance of the pending issues as all of them are interrelated. He also expressed the hope that he created the right atmosphere for the promotion of those specific issues.
The Greek prime minister responding to the same question stated that both in the meeting he had with his Turkish counterpart Bulent Ecevit and in the meeting of foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem, the Greek side underlined the need for certain moves to be made by Turkey, expressing the view that Mr. Clinton's visit to Turkey has contributed toward this direction.
 CLINTON: THE DISPUTE BETWEEN GREECE AND TURKEY IN THE AEGEAN MUST BE BROUGHT TO THE HAGUE
Web Posted: 15:27 GMT+2Athens, 20/11/1999 (MPA) US president Bill Clinton stated, in the joint press conference he gave with prime minister Kostas Simitis after the meeting they had in Athens today, that the dispute in the Aegean between Greece and Turkey must be brought to the International Court of Justice in The Hague or any other institution acceptable by both sides.
Mr. Clinton stated that he supports Turkey's application for EU membership saying that he works for the solution of the Cyprus problem, and at the same time he expressed the belief that the more Turkey becomes a part of Europe more steps will be made toward the solution of the Cyprus problem.
Mr. Clinton stated that the cooperation with Greece is extremely important for the United States due to the values shared by the two countries and the historical changes that have been made in the past decade. He referred to the transformation of south-eastern Europe from a battlefield between East and West to a fertile ground for the consolidation of democracy and tolerance in the post-cold war world, while he also said that Greece has assumed a leading role in the region, stressing that it has a blooming economy and it is a lively democracy underlining that these two factors can help its neighboring countries to enter the 21st century.
The US president stated that he discussed with the Greek prime minister the role of Greece in the Balkans, adding that with its military forces in Bosnia and Kosovo, its support to the economic development and reconstruction and the private sector investments made, Greece essentially has undertaken the heaviest load than any other country in the region. He said that the gain will be enormous, namely a united democratic Europe in which wars like the one in Yugoslavia simply will not exist, and underlined the importance of all that was done by the prime minister and the Greek people.
The US president also stated that he discussed with the Greek prime minister the progress made by Greece and Turkey in the course toward reconciliation and lasting peace in the Aegean and Cyprus. He said that he expressed satisfaction to the prime minister because as a result of the efforts made the two parties in Cyprus have agreed to open proximity talks. He said that the goal is to lay the grounds for essential negotiations toward the direction of a complete settlement under the UN auspices. He said that he expects that the two sides will focus on the basic issues that constitute the essence of the problem.
On the relations between Greece and the United States in the sector of trade and investments, Mr. Clinton stated that they are developing, pointing out that the revitalization of the Greek economy has made Greece one of the most attractive countries for business activities in Europe.
Mr. Clinton expressed his condolences to all those who lost friends and relatives in the recent catastrophic earthquake, adding that the heroism of the Greek and the Turkish rescue teams who pulled out people alive from under the collapsed buildings will never be forgotten. He also said that he is very proud for the fact that the US agency handling natural disasters will cooperate with the respective Greek agency for further readiness.
 SIMITIS: THERE IS CONSIDERABLE ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT IN THE GREEK-US RELATIONS
Web Posted: 14:27 GMT+2Athens, 20/11/1999 (MPA) The visit of the US president in Athens confirms the historical relations of friendship between the Greek and the American people, stated prime minister Kostas Simitis after the meeting he had with the visiting US president Bill Clinton.
Mr. Simitis said that he had a very friendly, open and free discussion on issues concerning the Greek-US relations, the developments in the Balkans, the Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus problem. He said that there is considerable room for the improvement of cooperation between the two countries. Mr. Simitis also said that Greece due to its economic growth in the past few years has created notable opportunities for investments, as well as trade, technological and other economic cooperation.
On the Balkans, Mr. Simitis said that the belief is that today's situation bears dangers and that the region needs stability, the respect of the existing borders and the intensification of the efforts for the implementation of initiatives for the region's reconstruction and mainly the materialization of the Stability Pact.
On the relations with Turkey, Mr. Simitis said that there is a need to respect international law and implement the international treaties. He said that steps of rapprochement have been made but still Turkey has to give a more convincing response to the initiatives of the Greek side, adding that Turkey's EU candidature can not be accepted without preconditions that will help when dealing with the existing problems.
On the Cyprus problem, the Greek prime minister stated that there was agreement that the talks that started now must be essential and lead to the solution of the problem, adding that it is self-evident that the talks with the US political leadership are significant.
 PAPANDREOU-ALBRIGHT MEETING
Web Posted: 13:57 GMT+2Athens, 20/11/1999 (MPA) Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou met with his US counterpart Madeleine Albright. The meeting that lasted over 2 hours was characterized as especially important by diplomatic circles and was held with the participation of undersecretary of foreign affairs Grigoris Niotis and diplomats. The issues under discussion were the Greek- US relations, the Greek-Turkish relations and the Cyprus issue.
The talks were very important both for the course of the national issues and for the course of the Greek-US relations. No statements were made after the meeting.
In an interview with the Greek service of the "Voice of America" the Greek foreign minister stressed the need for the continuation of the efforts for the further improvement of the Greek-Turkish relations aimed at a broader rapprochement.
The goal at this moment, said Mr. Papandreou, is to underline the positive aspects of the Greek-Turkish relations and to prepare the ground for the discussion of more difficult issues. According to Mr. Papandreou, the improvement of the atmosphere between the two sides has encouraged serious talks aimed at the solution of the Cyprus problem and other bilateral differences.
The Greek foreign minister stated that certain serious problems have to be resolved such as the Cyprus problem and the continental shelf which can be easily settled through the International Court of Justice in The Hague. However, said Mr. Papandreou, the Turkish side disagrees and the effort must continue until a solution is found. He also stressed that the improvement of the relations does not mean that the firm Greek positions will change regarding Turkey's accession into the European Union.
 CHRISOCHOIDES: IF THE GREEK POLICE ACTED DIFFERENTLY THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN VICTIMS
Web Posted: 13:57 GMT+2Athens, 20/11/1999 (MPA) Minister of public order Michalis Chrisochoides offered his full backing to the Greek Police regarding the way in which they handled the violent incidents in Athens last night. He said that the police acted with a sense of responsibility and based on the existing plan, adding that they acted as they owed to within the framework of a democratic state like Greece. Mr. Chrisochoides also clarified that if the police forces acted differently there could have been victims.
Mr. Chrisochoides also stated that the police could not isolate the group of anarchists that infiltrated the march and caused the incidents because they were among the peaceful protesters.
 POLITICAL PARTY REACTIONS TO THE VIOLENT INCIDENTS IN ATHENS
Web Posted: 12:57 GMT+2Athens, 20/11/1999 (MPA) The Greek political parties reacted strongly to the serious incidents that erupted in the center of Athens last night causing extensive damages in stores and banks.
Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas attributed the biggest part of the responsibility to the Communist Party, while the communists blame the government. Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy spokesman Aris Spiliotopoulos stressed that all the citizens have self-evident rights and obligations, adding that the issues of national interest can not be protected if we do not protect the image of our country. The Coalition of the Left and the Democratic Social Movement also blame the government for the incidents.
 CLINTON: GREECE IS A MODEL IN THE BALKAN REGION
Web Posted: 12:57 GMT+2Athens, 20/11/1999 (MPA) Greek president Kostis Stephanopoulos referred to the issues of national interest during the formal dinner that was given in honor of the US president last night. Mr. Stephanopoulos stressed that Turkey's claims over islands and islets in the Aegean should not have been expressed not even as a thought and that first Turkey has to remember its obligations, adding that Ankara has quit from every right and title with the Treaty of Lauzanne. He also pointed out that the continental shelf problem would have been settled if Turkey had accepted that the islands have continental shelf as the United States have done.
Referring to the Cyprus problem, Mr. Stephanopoulos stressed that it was provoked by Turkey's military invasion and underlined that it continues to occupy 38% of the island refusing to comply with the UN resolutions. Mr. Stephanopoulos also stated that the Cyprus problem must be resolved in accordance with the principles of law and democracy, adding that Cyprus' accession into the European Union should not depend on the solution of the Cyprus problem.
President Clinton responded by pointing out that Greece is an economic power in south-eastern Europe with the highest GNP in the region and with a strong stock market, stressing that Greece is a model in the region of the Balkans. He also added that in very opportunity he had while he was in Turkey he mentioned the effort for the solution of the differences.
He said that the United States would not have been what they are today without the contribution of the Greek-Americans and referred to the historical ties of friendship that link Greece with the United States. The US president also stressed that the ideals of ancient Greece, the freedom and democracy had inspired the founders of the American state.
 THE SIMITIS-CLINTON MEETING WILL BE HELD AT 11:30AM
Web Posted: 12:57 GMT+2Athens, 20/11/1999 (MPA) The US president visited the Acropolis this morning accompanied by his daughter Chelsea. President Clinton speaking with minister of culture Elisavet Papazoi gave the promise that he will talk to British prime minister Tony Blair tomorrow about the issue of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. Ms. Papazoi offered an olive branch to the US president asking him to contribute to the world peace and at the same time she raised the issue of the return of the Parthenon Marbles. Mr. Clinton also visited the museum of the Acropolis.
President Clinton will meet at 11:30am with prime minister Kostas Simitis, while he will also have contacts with representatives of the Greek state and political leadership.
Immediately after the meeting with prime minister Simitis there will be a press conference and at noon, president Clinton will deliver a speech at the Intercontinental Hotel where he is staying.
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