|Monday, 11 November 2019|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-03-09
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
Today's ERA News OnlineTuesday, March 9th, 1999
 Prime minister briefs president of the republicAfter his meeting yesterday with the president of the republic, Kostis Stefanopoulos, the prime minister, Kostas Simitis, said Greece's course towards European economic and monetary union would not be affected by the current political climate, as all the economic factors remained stable and were actually improving. He added that in the next two weeks, the government would strive to achieve progress in the negotiations concerning European Union funding, in view of the forthcoming EU summit in Berlin.
Mr Simitis expressed his optimism on the matter, as the German EU presidency had stopped its insistence over the issue of agricultural policy funding, which would have cost Greece one trillion drachmas for the next six years.
 Foreign minister winds up briefings of political leadersThe foreign minister, Giorgos Papandreou, wound up his series of briefing sessions with the country's political leaders with a meeting yesterday with the general secretary of the Greek Communist Party, Aleka Papariga. After the meeting, Mr Papandreou announced that he would ask all the country's political parties to appoint a representative, as a first step towards promoting inter-party cooperation on crucial foreign policy issues.
Referring to the continuing provocation by Turkey and the possibility of a hostile incident, the foreign minister said Greece would not respond to Turkey's verbal attacks.
A similar stand was also expressed by the alternate foreign minister, Iannos Kranidiotis, who underlined that Turkey would end up being isolated from the European community if it proceeded with such a hostile move.
The government spokesman, Dimitris Reppas, said Ankara's provocative stand was intended for domestic consumption within Turkey, in view of next month's general election in the country.
Meanwhile the Greek foreign ministry late last night lodged a verbal note with the Turkish foreign ministry over the detention for a few hours of the Greek charge d'affaires in Ankara, Michalis Christidis.
 Greek parliament speaker addresses meeting in MallorcaSpeaking at a meeting of parliamentary speakers from European and Mediterranean countries on the Spanish island of Mallorca, the speaker of the Greek parliament, Apostolos Kaklamanis, said every nation's struggle for freedom and independence and every individual's struggle for human rights could not be equated with terrorism, thereby allowing us to believe the problem was resolved.
Mr Kaklamanis was replying to an intervention by the deputy speaker of the Turkish national assembly, who tried to create a climate of tension against Greece by referring to the recent developments in the Ocalan case.
The speaker of the Cypriot house of representatives, Spyros Kyprianou, spoke in similar vein and said it was absurd to talk of "terrorism" when 40% of the island of Cyprus had been forcibly occupied by Turkish troops for the past 25 years.
 Opposition New Democracy party leader in the USAOn the second day of his official visit to the United States, the New Democracy party leader, Kostas Karamanlis, had talks with American officials yesterday at which they discussed recent developments in Greek- Turkish relations, the Ocalan affair, the Cyprus issue and the Greek economy.
During the meetings, which were aimed at briefing the US political leadership as well as the American public, Mr Karamanlis made it clear that a change of stand by Turkey, which he said was behaving like a terrorist, was a pre-requisite for the normalisation of Greek-Turkish relations.
The New Democracy party leader is due to have a meeting today with the American secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, and on Thursday he will have talks with the American vice-president, Al Gore.
 Greece's fiscal deficit down to 2.4% of GDPAccording to figures released yesterday by the EU Statistics Service, Greece's fiscal deficit amounted to 2.4% of Gross Domestic Product in 1998. This means that for the first time, Greece meets the fiscal deficit criteria of 3% set by the Maastricht Treaty for inclusion in the euro. Moreover, Greece has achieved the fastest rate of decrease in fiscal deficit in the European Union in the past three years.
 Greek Bar Associations elect presidentsAntonis Roupakiotis and Giorgos Ignatiadis have been re-elected as presidents of the Bar Associations of Athens and Thessaloniki respectively.
In Athens, Mr Roupakiotis, who was supported by the Coalition of the Left, won 60.45% of the votes, while Dimitris Paxinos, backed by the New Democracy party, received 39.55%.
In Thessaloniki, the PASOK-backed candidate, Giorgos Ignatiadis, won 50.4% of the votes, and the independent candidate Iannis Papadopoulos 49.6%.
 Greece and Cyprus coordinate joint defence doctrineGreece's ambassador in Nicosia, Kyriakos Rodousakis, said yesterday that Greece and Cyprus were working in close coordination, within the framework of the joint defence doctrine, to deal with any Turkish threat.
Meanwhile the Turkish-Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, banned the presence of women in the Turkish-occupied territories at UN bi-communal events marking International Women's Day yesterday. The UN secretary general's special representative, Ann Hercus, expressed her regret at Mr Denktash's decision.
 Foreign minister discusses Kosovo with Balkan ambassadorsThe developments in Kosovo will be discussed at the meeting Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou will have in Athens today with the ambassadors of the Balkan countries.
Meanwhile the leaders of the ethnic Albanian guerrillas in Kosovo have set as a prerequisite for the signing of the peace agreement that Serbian forces cease all military operations in the region.