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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 99-09-06

The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PRIME MINISTER'S PRESS CONFERENCE IN THESSALONIKI
  • [02] EU GRANTS LOAN AND AID TO TURKEY
  • [03] GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER'S INTERVIEW WITH FINNISH TELEVISION
  • [04] AMERICAN SPECIAL COORDINATOR VISITS CYPRUS
  • [05] CYPRUS WELCOMES APPOINTMENT OF AMERICAN PRESIDENT'S ENVOY
  • [06] COALITION OF THE LEFT APPROVES CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT
  • [07] AMERICAN SECRETARY OF STATE VISITS TURKEY

  • [01] PRIME MINISTER'S PRESS CONFERENCE IN THESSALONIKI

    Speaking yesterday at the customary press conference in Thessaloniki, where he inaugurated this year's International Trade Fair, the prime minister, Kostas Simitis, said it was essential for the present government to serve its full term in order for Greece to achieve its goal of entry to European economic and monetary union. Mr Simitis said the package of economic measures he announced last week were not a pre-election ploy but had a social aim and reflected the favourable results of the government's economic policy over the last three years. The prime minister said the government was not in favour of elections in March but was not afraid of them if the opposition parties demanded them.

    He said the calling of an early election in order to elect a new president of the republic would not be in keeping with the spirit of the Constitution, but he underlined that PASOK was ready for an election at any time. He added that Greece had an excellent president in Kostis Stefanopoulos and that polls had indicated the majority of the Greek people wanted him to be re-elected. With regard to the stock market, the prime minister predicted that it would remain stable and that the public sector would derive approximately 200 billion drachmas a year from transactions.

    As far as Greek-Turkish relations are concerned, Mr Simitis emphasised that Greece's policy was one of peace and cooperation. As regards the forthcoming visits to Greece and Turkey by the American president, Bill Clinton, he said he did not expect him to bring any new message concerning the Cyprus issue. The prime minister also pointed out that at the informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers' council in Finland yesterday, the issue of the Greek veto on the EU's financing protocol to Turkey was not discussed. With regard to a final name for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Mr Simitis said negotiating procedures should be speeded up.

    The opposition parties were harshly critical of the prime minister's statements, accusing him of panic and desperation, of empty promises, insincerity and an alarmist campaign. The country's foreign policy will be the subject of a meeting today, chaired by the prime minister.

    [02] EU GRANTS LOAN AND AID TO TURKEY

    A substantial improvement in relations between the EU and Turkey was achieved at yesterday's informal session of the 15 EU foreign ministers' council in Finland, and this was sealed by the granting of a new loan to Turkey amounting to 600 million euros for reconstruction of the region destroyed in last month's massive earthquake. The EU ministers also granted 30 million euros in free aid and 150 million euros from a financing protocol for aid to developing countries. The Finnish foreign minister, Tarja Halonen, who was presiding over the council, and many of her EU counterparts said Greece played a leading part in coordinating EU efforts to help Turkey in the wake of the disaster.

    [03] GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER'S INTERVIEW WITH FINNISH TELEVISION

    In the meantime, in an interview with Finnish television, the Greek foreign minister, Giorgos Papandreou, said the climate between Greece and Turkey had improved and that the Cyprus issue was the key to relations between the two countries. Concerning Turkey's candidacy for accession to the European Union, Mr Papandreou said the issue would be discussed during the EU summit meeting in Helsinki. He pointed out, however, that the EU would not proceed to substantial negotiations with Turkey unless Ankara first took steps over matters such as the Cyprus issue, good neighbourly relations with Greece and more democracy at home.

    [04] AMERICAN SPECIAL COORDINATOR VISITS CYPRUS

    The new American special coordinator on the Cyprus issue, Thomas Weston, who arrived in Cyprus on Saturday, has indicated that his goal is to achieve an unconditional resumption of the dialogue between the Greek-Cypriots and the Turkish-Cypriots in the autumn. He expressed the American administration's wish to mediate in attaining a just and viable solution to the Cyprus issue. Mr Weston will have a meeting today with the Cypriot president, Glafkos Kliridis, and will also have contacts with representatives of the Turkish-Cypriots in the occupied part of the island. Later, in New York, he is scheduled to meet with the Turkish-Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktash, who left for the United States yesterday.

    [05] CYPRUS WELCOMES APPOINTMENT OF AMERICAN PRESIDENT'S ENVOY

    In a related development, the Cypriot government spokesman, Michalis Papapetrou, has said the Cypriot government welcomed the appointment of Alfred Moses as the new envoy of the American president, Bill Clinton, in the Cyprus dispute. Speaking on Cypriot Radio, Mr Papapetrou pointed out that the timing and promptness with which Mr Moses had replaced Richard Holbrooke were an indication of US determination not to allow any gap in the effort to find a Cyprus solution.

    [06] COALITION OF THE LEFT APPROVES CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT

    The central political committee of the Coalition of the Left Wing and Progress has approved the candidacy of the veteran leftist figure, Leonidas Kyrkos, for the post of president of the republic in next year's presidential elections. The final decision will be taken at the party congress in December.

    [07] AMERICAN SECRETARY OF STATE VISITS TURKEY

    American secretary of state Madeleine Albright yesterday visited the quake-stricken regions in Turkey and said Washington would seek to increase trade transactions with Turkey and American investments in a bid to help overcome the problems created by the recent devastating quake. Meanwhile the latest official toll released yesterday by the Turkish authorities has reached 15,082 dead.
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