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MPA NEWS IN ENGLISH (11/03/1996)

From: Macedonian Press Agency <mpa@philippos.mpa.gr>

Macedonian Press Agency News in English Directory

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH

Thessaloniki March 11, 1996


TITLES

  • [01] THIRD BALKAN BUSINESS CONFERENCE BEGAN TODAY IN THESSALONIKI

  • [02] THE GREEK PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE TO THE BALKAN BUSINESS CONFERENCE

  • [03] OPPOSITION LEADER ADDRESSES BALKAN BUSINESS CONFERENCE

  • [04] US AMBASSADOR SPEAKS AT BALKAN BUSINESS CONFERENCE

  • [05] FYROM NAME ISSUE IS ONE OF THIS WEEK'S PRIORITIES FOR GOVERNMENT

  • [06] MACEDONIA-THRACE MINISTER: FYROM'S NAME MUST STRENGTHEN GREECE

  • [07] BALKAN BUSINESS CONFERENCE ORGANIZERS SPEAK ON FYROM NAME ISSUE

  • [08] POLITICAL SPRING PARTY INSISTS ON REFERENDUM REGARDING FYROM NAME

  • [09] GREECE DENIES RUMORS OF HOLDING SECRET NEGOTIATIONS WITH FYROM

  • [10] THERE WAS NO SECRET AGREEMENT WITH TURKEY OVER IMIA, SAYS GREECE

  • [11] MAIN OPPOSITION LEADER IN PARIS FOR EUROPEAN DEMOCRATS MEETING

  • [12] PRESIDENT OF CYPRIOT PARLIAMENT IN ATHENS TODAY

  • [13] PASOK LEADER'S RECUPERATION DEVELOPING SLOWLY, BUT NORMALLY

  • [14] EU MEMBERS DISAGREE ON POWERS OF EUROPARLIAMENT

  • [15] BULGARIAN PREMIER IN MOSCOW FOR A FORMAL VISIT

  • [16] THE BURGAS-ALEXANDROUPOLIS OIL PIPE-LINE CONTINUES TO BE A HIGH PRIORITY ISSUE, STATED RUSSIA'S FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER

  • [17] FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATE REPORT


  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [01] THIRD BALKAN BUSINESS CONFERENCE BEGAN TODAY IN THESSALONIKI

    The third Balkan Business Conference, held in Thessaloniki today and tomorrow, will attract more than 200 businessmen from Greece and other Balkan countries and will feature speeches from the Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis and former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev.

    Scheduled to speak today are the Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Philippos Petsalnikos, Minister of Development Vasso Papandreou, Albanian Labor Minister Engjell Dakli, Romania's Industry Ministry's General Director Traian Branzaru and Albanian Ministry of Industry, Transport and Trade General Director Mikel Dushniku, as well as other representatives of Balkan industrial businesses.

    This evening, the leader of the main opposition New Democracy, Miltiades Evert is scheduled to speak.

    At tomorrow's conference, scheduled to speak are the Governor of Greece's National Bank Theodoros Karatzas, the President of Greece's Ionian Bank, the Vice President of the Romanian stock exchange, the Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos and Greece's Premier Kostas Simitis. In his speech, Mr. Simitis is expected to outline the government's targets and strategy for peace in the sensitive region of the Balkans.

    Foreign guest speakers will include ambassadors to Greece from the U.S. Thomas Niles, Russia Valery Nikolayenko, Italy Enrico Pietromarchi and France Bernard Kesseyian. Also, speaking at the business conference will be the Alternate Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Dontso Konakchiev, Romanian Deputy Prime Minister Mircea Cosea, Albanian Labor Minister Etzalk Dagli and Bulgarian Industry Under-Secretary Plamen Dimitrov.

    Organized by the Association of Industries of Northern Greece (SBBE), the Macedonia-Thrace Bank and the Hellenic-American Chamber, the conference will also be attended by high-ranking government officials and diplomats from the Balkans. The president of SBBE Nikos Efthymiades stated that "our aim for the conference is to serve as a catalyst with respect to proposals and policies which will contribute to making the Balkans a single economic market which will attract the interest of investors and products from the West."

    He further added that the purpose of the conference is to create a favorable climate both at a governmental level and at the level of public agencies and individual undertakings, in order to promote new institutions of co-operation either through inter- state agreements and joint councils, or through the practices and modern means of business co-operation.

    [02] THE GREEK PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE TO THE BALKAN BUSINESS CONFERENCE

    As an important event aiming at achieving inter-balkan political backing for business cooperation was characterized the business conference "Greece and Balkans - Business Cooperation" in the message sent by Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos.

    The Conference opened this morning in Thessaloniki with the participation of businessmen and government officials from Balkan countries.

    Mr.Stephanopoulos pointed out the new possibilities created for Greece toward developing its capacity as intermediary center for the effective link-up of western and eastern Europe after the developments that began in 1989, while specifically for northern Greece he mentions that favourable conditions have been formed for the promotion of wider developmental activities on an international level.

    Opening the conference, Industries Association in Northern Greece Chairman mr.Nikos Efthimiadis expressed the association's members and the business world satisfaction for the positive developments, as he characterized them, that took place during 1995 concerning peace in Bosnia and the normalization of Greek- Skopjan relations. He also stressed that the lifting of the embargo and the counter-measures which had been accumulated in Greece's northern borders created a positive climate in the trade transactions and in the business contacts among the Balkan states.

    Mr.Efthimiadis made an assessment of the greek business activities in Bulgaria, Romania and Albania and stressed that the idea of a unified regional market in south-eastern Europe with 60 million consumers in the Balkans and 200 million in the Black Sea region constitutes a shared prospect which will enable the region to participate in the international competition under better terms and will increase its influence on the choices made by any economic super-power, always within the framework of the European Union.

    [03] OPPOSITION LEADER ADDRESSES BALKAN BUSINESS CONFERENCE

    Main opposition party leader Miltiades Evert, speaking today at the third Balkan Business Conference held in Thesslaoniki, commented on the Turkish expansionist tactics and characterized the neighboring country as playing the role of a "bully."

    "We hope that Ankara's unwise men will recognize the Turkish people's true benefits and will respond to Greece's call for honorable co-operation and honest friendship, based on international law and international accords," the New Democracy leader said.

    Referring to interbalkan economic co-operation, Mr. Evert stated that New Democracy is promoting the idea of an "Interbalkan Accord of Stability" and, more specifically, the creation of an interbalkan institution of economic development and co-operation based in Thessaloniki.

    Mr. Evert also said that his party is in support of creating a Balkan Industry and Trade Chamber, a Thessaloniki-based stock market, and wants to see the improvement and multiplication of inter-border connections.

    [04] US AMBASSADOR SPEAKS AT BALKAN BUSINESS CONFERENCE

    The United States Ambassador to Greece Thomas Niles, speaking for the third year in a row at the Balkan Business Conference in Thessaloniki today, stated that there has been a noted improvement, in comparison to last year's situation in the region.

    Mr. Niles pointed out that various enocuraging factors have taken place in the year that passed, part of which are the improvements in Greece's relations with FYROM and Albania.

    However, the US Ambassador said, it would be a mistake if the interested businessmen opted to wait out the region's political problems before proceeding to investments.

    Also, Mr. Niles suggested that the event's organizers change the conference's geographical orientation and opt for a title that would refer to the region as Southeastern Europe.

    [05] FYROM NAME ISSUE IS ONE OF THIS WEEK'S PRIORITIES FOR GOVERNMENT

    A week of intense mobilization regarding the FYROM name issue lies ahead, as the Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis will brief the PASOK Executive Bureau that will convene today to discuss the issue.

    Also, during this week Mr. Simitis is expected to meet with leaders of the opposition, specifically President of the Political Spring party Antonis Samaras, the Greek Communist Party Secretary- General Aleka Paparega and the Coalition of the Left and Progress party Nikos Konstantopoulos.

    [06] MACEDONIA-THRACE MINISTER: FYROM'S NAME MUST STRENGTHEN GREECE

    The Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Philippos Petsalnikos stated today that the name that FYROM will adopt will have to fortify and strengthen Greece and Macedonia.

    Speaking at a press conference, Mr. Petsalnikos stated that Greece is currently in the midst of a dialogue regarding the FYROM name and this dialogue is under the auspices of the intermediate agreement between Greece and Skopjie.

    "Clearly, if there is good will from the other side, Skopjie, I believe that the finalized solution must strengthen our country and Macedonia. It should be the best solution for the country and our Macedonia," stated the Minister.

    Regarding rumors that the name "Nova Macedonia" is a likely outcome, Mr. Petsalnikos characterized these assessments as very "premature."

    [07] BALKAN BUSINESS CONFERENCE ORGANIZERS SPEAK ON FYROM NAME ISSUE

    A solution to the FYROM name issue will result in an increase of business initiatives and opportunities at Greece's northern borders, according to the presidents of the organizations that put together the third Balkan Business Conference held in Thessaloniki today and tomorrow.

    The President of the Association of Industries of Northern Greece (SBBE) Nikos Efthymiades, as well as the President of the Hellenic-American Chamber of Northern Greece Dimitris Petsiavas and the President of Macedonia-Thrace Bank Andreas Boumis, are in favor of adopting a composite name for the neighboring country.

    However, Mr. Boumis, the president of Macedonia-Thrace Bank, noted that "it is of utmost importance which compound name it will be."

    [08] POLITICAL SPRING PARTY INSISTS ON REFERENDUM REGARDING FYROM NAME

    The Political Spring opposition party is insisting on holding a referendum regarding the issue of FYROM's name and considers it imperative that a meeting of the country's political leaders be held, stated today the party's spokesperson Notis Markakis.

    Also stating that his party is in favor of conducting a parliamentary vote, Mr. Markakis stated that this vote must be open so that, before Greece signs an agreement on the name issue, "every parliamentarian will undertake his responsibilities to the utmost."

    The Political Spring spokesperson accused the government of engaging in theatrics, saying that "it pretends in Greece that it is in favor of a dialogue, yet already abroad it promotes a compound name."

    [09] GREECE DENIES RUMORS OF HOLDING SECRET NEGOTIATIONS WITH FYROM

    "There is no secret negotiation between the Greek government and Skopjie regarding any issue or, more so, the name issue," stated categorically today the government spokesperson Dimitris Reppas, referring to recently published reports.

    Mr. Reppas said that Greece and FYROM retain their positions which they presented at the New York negotiations, however, he added, "when the time comes, Greece will weigh the matter and will do what is best for our national benefits."

    [10] THERE WAS NO SECRET AGREEMENT WITH TURKEY OVER IMIA, SAYS GREECE

    "There is no secret agreement between Greece and Turkey," stated the Greek Minister of Press and Media Dimitris Reppas this afternoon.

    He reiterated that the agreement between the two countries that took place during the night of the Imia crisis referred only to the disengagement of military forces from the region and a return to status quo ante.

    Mr. Reppas added that as a result of the Turkish claims on Greek territorial sovereignty, the Greek government proceeds to issue demarches to the United States and other countries so that they will exert pressure on Ankara.

    Within these parameteres, Mr. Reppas explained, the Greek ambassador to Washington Mr. Tsilas has proceeded to issue demarches with which the Turkish expansionist behavior in the region is denounced as a violation of international law.

    When a journalist asked tongue-in-cheek if this means that the Greek satirical singer Dionysios Savopoulos could hold a concert on the rock islet, Mr. Reppas replied "yes."

    [11] MAIN OPPOSITION LEADER IN PARIS FOR EUROPEAN DEMOCRATS MEETING

    Miltiades Evert, the leader of Greece's main opposition party New Democracy, will travel to Paris tomorrow in order to participate at the Meeting of Political Party Leaders of the European Democratic Union and to attend the formal dinner given for the occasion by French Premier Alain Juppet.

    Also, New Democracy's honorary president and former Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis will meet with the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stefanopoulos tomorrow, while on Thursday Mr. Mitsotakis will give a speech at the Patras University regarding the role of mass media.

    [12] PRESIDENT OF CYPRIOT PARLIAMENT IN ATHENS TODAY

    In light of today's visit to Athens conducted by the President of the Cypriot Parliament Alexis Galanos, the Greek government spokesperson Dimitris Reppas stated that the intitiatives undertaken by the government regarding the issue of the missing Cypriots will be productive.

    Mr. Reppas characterized Mr. Galanos' meeting with the Greek Premier Kostas Simitis as a "useful one" as the two men plan to discuss issues of bilateral co-operation.

    [13] PASOK LEADER'S RECUPERATION DEVELOPING SLOWLY, BUT NORMALLY

    The respiratory function of PASOK leader and former Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou is improving steadily but slowly, thereby not allowing his physicians to proceed to the closure of the tracheostomy yet.

    As announced by today's medical bulletin issued by the Onasion Cardiosurgery Center, Mr. Papandreou's overall health conditon is developing normally and he continues to undergo a program of respiratory physiotherapy and kinesiotherapy.

    According to Mr. Papandreou's treating phycisians, although they are reluctant to give an exact date as to their patient's exit from the hospital, Mr. Papandreou may be in a position to be released by the end of next week.

    [14] EU MEMBERS DISAGREE ON POWERS OF EUROPARLIAMENT

    Whether or not the European Parliament can participate at the forthcoming Inter-governmental Conference, has turned into a sensitive issue that has brought at odds EU countries-members.

    During the informal European Union Foreign Ministers Meeting, held over the weekend in Palermo, Britain, Italy and Portugal turned down proposals that call for the europarliament's participation, on the premise that such an act would infringe the privacy of the parliamentary proceedings and would limit the members' ability to conduct negotiations and arrangements.

    Concurrently, supporters of the europarliament's participation rejected a compromising solution that called for the MEPs to be briefed at the beginning of every session on the previous days' results.

    German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, one of the most ardent supporters of the parliament's participation, stated that he would concede to such a compromise if the parliament itself accepts it, while his British counterpart Malcolm Rifkind rejected all possibilities that his country would agree to grant the parliament more power on the burden of the EU Ministerial Council or national parliaments.

    The forthcoming Inter-Governmental Conference, scheduled to begin in Turin, Italy on March 25, is aimed at reforming the EU decision-making in light of its expansion from 15 members to more than 25 over the next decade.

    [15] BULGARIAN PREMIER IN MOSCOW FOR A FORMAL VISIT

    Bulgaria's Prime Minister Zan Videnov will conduct a formal visit to Moscow on March 14-16 following an official invitation issued by Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

    According to the "24 Hours" newspaper, Mr. Videnov, during his two-day stay in Moscow, will co-sign with his Russian counterpart Premier Victor Tchernomirdin seven agreements which have been prepared by the Joint Russian-Bulgarian Commission during its fifth conference that took place last week .

    [16] THE BURGAS-ALEXANDROUPOLIS OIL PIPE-LINE CONTINUES TO BE A HIGH PRIORITY ISSUE, STATED RUSSIA'S FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER

    Former Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyref, commenting to MPA on whether the project of Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipe-line has been frozen, expressed the belief that the issue has not frozen adding that it is a very important project from a political and strategic point of view which will strengthen the good relations between Russia and Greece and between Russia and Bulgaria. He said that politically is a high priority issue but there are certain delays in the technical and economic sectors, stressing that the message of the Balkan Business Conference is that the political will and necessity must be transformed into practical steps.

    Mr.Kozyref is in Thessaloniki in order to participate in the Third International Conference on Inter-Balkan Business Cooperation organized by the Association of Industries in Northern Greece, the Macedonia-Thrace Bank and the Hellenic-American Chamber.

    Regarding the upcoming Presidential elections in Russia mr.Kozyref said that it is too early to say who will be the winner.

    On the Greek-Turkish crisis in the Aegean he expressed the hope that it will be defused through peaceful means and negotiations. He said that Russia wants good relations with Greece but at the same time it has important relations with Turkey too and therefore Moscow hopes that the problem will be resolved in a civilized manner.

    Mr.Kozyref also expressed satisfaction over the start of negotiations between Greece and FYROM on the issue of the name that will be used by Skopje. He said that it is very important that all the economic obstacles have been lifted and cooperation is developing between the two countries.

    Finally, commenting on the dangers for a new conflict in the Balkans, mr.Kozyref stated that all the countries in the region should be very careful in order to avoid such a development.

    [17] FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATE REPORT

    CURRENCY          FIXING      BUY         SELL
    ECU              303.0760   302.1670    303.9850
    U.S. Dollar      242.4600   241.7330    243.1870
    Deutsche Mark    163.3500   162.8600    163.8400
    UK Sterling      370.0100   368.9000    371.1200
    French Franc      47.7390    47.5960      ----
    Swedish Crown     35.5910    35.4840     35.6980
    Danish Kroner     42.3210    42.1940     42.4480
    Norwegian Crown   37.5500    37.4370     37.6630
    Italian Lira      15.5445    15.4980     15.5910
    Swiss Franc      201.2440   200.6400    201.8480
    Spanish Peseta     1.9396     1.9338      1.9454
    Finnish Mark      52.6320    52.4740     52.7900
    Yen              229.8150   229.1260    230.5040
    
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