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MPA NEWS IN ENGLISH (20/03/1996)

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

Macedonian Press Agency News in English Directory

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH

Thessaloniki 20 March 1996


TITLES

  • [01] EUROPEAN COURT RULED IN FAVOUR OF GREECE AND AGAINST THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION

  • [02] U.S. RELEASES AID FIGURES FOR GREECE AND TURKEY

  • [03] PARLIAMENT SESSION PREPARES FOR INTERGOVERNMENTAL CONFERENCE

  • [04] STATEMENTS ON IMIA BY THE GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN

  • [05] THE GREEK PRESIDENT ARRIVES IN TIRANA TOMORROW

  • [06] GREEK FARMERS UNHAPPY WITH PREMIER'S STATEMENTS, TO MOBILIZE AGAIN

  • [07] RUSSIA AND GREECE WILL HAVE A COMMON COURSE ON THE INTERNATIONAL ISSUES, STATED THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER

  • [08] AUSTRIA HONOURED THE GREEK VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OTHER EU PARLIAMENT PERSONALITIES

  • [09] THE PROSPECTS FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF RELATIONS BETWEEN GREECE AND BELORUSSIA WERE DISCUSSED IN ATHENS

  • [10] FOREIGN TELEVISION CHANNELS SHOWED GREAT INTEREST IN COVERING THE CEREMONY FOR THE LIGHTING OF THE OLYMPIC FLAME

  • [11] PASOK'S PRESIDENT ANDREAS PAPANDREOU LEAVES HOSPITAL TOMORROW

  • [12] GREEK BUSINESS DELEGATION TO FYROM CONSIDERED A SUCCESS

  • [13] NORTHERN GREEK BUSINESSMEN IN FYROM FOR TRADE TALKS

  • [14] AUSTRIA AND LUXEMBURG ARE SUPPORTIVE OF CYPRUS' EU ACCESSION

  • [15] RUSSIA AND CYPRUS WILL SIGN A MILITARY AGREEMENT

  • [16] CYPRUS A COMPLEX AND SENSITIVE ISSUE, SAYS ITALIAN CO-ORDINATOR

  • [17] FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATE REPORT


  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [01] EUROPEAN COURT RULED IN FAVOUR OF GREECE AND AGAINST THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION

    The decision issued by the European Court constitutes full justification of the greek positions regarding the economic countermeasures against Skopje which had been imposed by Greece on February 16th, 1994.

    The European Court accepted the greek proposal by ruling that the European Commission will have to pay all legal expenses. The European Commission demanded that the court costs should be equally divided with Greece maintaining that it had declared it was withdrawing its appeal to the European Court against Greece after the signing of the interim agrement between Greece and FYROM last September.

    The greek side maintained that a court ruling on the case had to be issued, hoping that this way the greek positions would be fully justified regarding the essence of the legal problem.

    Yesterday's ruling vindicates Greece as it mentions that the greek side would have been asked to pay part or the total of the legal expenses only if the appeal made by the European Commission was regarded as valid.

    [02] U.S. RELEASES AID FIGURES FOR GREECE AND TURKEY

    The Clinton Administration submitted its 1997 budget yesterday, including a proposal for a 7:10 ratio in military loan aid to Greece and Turkey and a $15 million aid package to Cyprus.

    In addition, the Clinton budget includes $15 million in Economic Support Funds (ESF) for Cyprus and $60 million in ESF for Turkey. These figures maintain the traditional amount for Cyprus, while cutting 40% from last year's $100 million request for Turkey.

    This year's budget reflects a trend of dramatically scaling down aid to Greece and Turkey, now at a fraction of levels from a decade ago, both from drops in dollar amount and from conversion from grant to aid.

    This year's aid requests amount to a 65% drop in requests and a 45% drop from last year's allocated funds for Greece and Turkey. The 1996 budget called for $315 million in allocated funds for Greece and $450 for Turkey, of which $224 million and $320 million were allocated respectively.

    The reduction in aid to Greece and Turkey is partly attributed to U.S. budget cuts tabled by Republicans, as well as to pressure exerted to the U.S. by international organizations to reduce military aid granted to both countries, following the Imia crisis.

    [03] PARLIAMENT SESSION PREPARES FOR INTERGOVERNMENTAL CONFERENCE

    During the second-day of the greek parliamentary session on the forthcoming Intergovernmental Conference, the discussion centered around the protection of the European Union's external borders and on the issue of Greece's veto to Turkey's economic funding from the EU.

    During yesterday's discussion, the Greek Premier Kostas Simitis stated that during the March 29 Conference in Turin, aimed at revising the Maastricht Treaty, Greece will pressure the EU to forge a common foreign and security policy.

    Regarding the Imia issue with Turkey, Mr. Simitis noted that 13 EU member-states have adopted Greece's position, however, Britain's refusal to agree has blocked the taking of a relevant decison.

    [04] STATEMENTS ON IMIA BY THE GREEK GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN

    The handling of the issue of Imia needs great attention because of the crisis recently created in the greek-turkish relations, stated greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas responding to questions by reporters on yesterday's visit to the south-eastern Aegean islet by a greek private television crew.

    The issue of sovereignty over the region can not be resolved this way, stressed the greek government spokesman including in his statements and the moves made by shepherds in the region. He also said that the government neither adopts nor forbids such methods following the same policy in every part of the greek territory.

    Regarding yesterday's visit to Imia by a greek television crew, mr.Reppas said that a small concentration of turkish forces was observed in the region adding that they remained in turkish territorial waters.

    Mr.Reppas said that based on the fact that in the EU programmes is included Imia and other islets, is proved that the region in its entirety is under national and community protection.

    Responding to questions according to which the turkish Foreign Ministry budget provides for the purchasing and the transport of food for the animals living in Imia, mr.Reppas stated that Turkey will do anything in order to support its claims as it lacks arguments which are based on International Law, while it does not follow the advise of different countries calling it to bring the case before the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

    Mr.Reppas commenting on a report published in a turkish newspaper according to which there is an agreement on a local level providing for the transport of food for the goats living in Imia, he said that the islet's regime is indisputable and added that the greek government is protecting the national interests, as well as, the interests of the greek citizens living in the region.

    [05] THE GREEK PRESIDENT ARRIVES IN TIRANA TOMORROW

    The greek-albanian relations are entering a new and more improved phase which will be marked by the signing of a friendship and cooperation accord between the two countries during Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos' two-day visit to Tirana which begins tomorrow.

    The greek President will be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Theodoros Pangalos, Finance Minister Alekos Papadopoulos and Education Minister Giorgos Papandreou and also by greek businessmen.

    During the visit will be discussed economic and trade issues while the greek side will give greater emphasis to the issue of the education of the greek minority. It is expected that soon will be established a greek private school either in Tirana or in Koritsa after Greece's intense efforts.

    Also, will be examined the issue of the employment of tens of thousands of Albanians who are in Greece. The Foreign Ministry by April 15th is expected to table a draft law in Parliament which will concern among others and the albanian immigrants.

    Also, during the greek President's visit will be discussed the prospects for the construction of large projects in Albania with the participation of Greece mainly in the sectors of communication, road networks and railways.

    [06] GREEK FARMERS UNHAPPY WITH PREMIER'S STATEMENTS, TO MOBILIZE AGAIN

    The Panhellenic Confederation of Agricultural Cooperatives (PASEGES) has announced a new wave of mobilization by farmers, in light of the Greek Premier's refusal to commit to their demands during yesterday's PASEGES General Convention.

    Addressing the Confederation yesterday, the Premier Kostas Simitis said that "I am not and do not want to be the goose that lays the golden eggs" and stated that the dialogue between the government and agriculture sector representatives will begin next week.

    Yesterday, more than 2,000 farmers converged in front of the Ministry of Agriculture building in Athens to protest against the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the low farm prices. The farmers are mainly opposed to the EU's proposed prices for tobacco, cotton and milk. They are demanding government production bonuses, measures to help them settle their debts, social measures and tax breaks.

    [07] RUSSIA AND GREECE WILL HAVE A COMMON COURSE ON THE INTERNATIONAL ISSUES, STATED THE GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER

    Russia and Greece will have a common course on international issues concerning the european integration, the continent's defense, issues of disarmament and security and more specific issues such as, peace and economic cooperation in the Balkans, the situation in the Caucuses etc.

    The above were stated by greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos in an interview to ANA after the talks he had today with Russian Prime Minister Victor Tsernomirdin.

    Mr.Tsernomirdin received the greek minister in the Kremlin and stressed the traditionally good relations and the friendship between the two countries.

    In his statements mr.Pangalos referred to the talks he had with the russian Prime Minister regarding the plans for the Greek- Russian cooperation in the energy sector. He said that mr.Tsernomirdin is a devout supporter of the Burgas-Alexndroupolis oil pipe-line construction. Mr.Pangalos also said that he and the Russian Prime Minister examined different aspects of the issue such as, financing and technical details, adding that the cooperation will continue with a meeting of specialists from Russia, Bulgaria and Greece which will be held in Athens.

    Responding to the question if the russian side has guaranteed the quantities of oil needed for the operation of the pipe-line, mr.Pangalos said that the russian Prime Minister gave assurances for the necessary oil supply under the condition that it will be carried with good economic terms, adding that the three sides will agree on the form of financing, which is a problem that needs to be resolved.

    Finally, mr.Pangalos mentioned that he conveyed to the russian Prime Minister the invitation by greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis to visit Greece and the russian Prime Minister invited mr.Simitis to visit Russia.

    [08] AUSTRIA HONOURED THE GREEK VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OTHER EU PARLIAMENT PERSONALITIES

    The Austrian President honoured yesterday distinguished personalities of the European Parliament, among them and its greek vice-President mr.Paraskevas Avgerinos.

    In a special ceremony the austrian President praised the institution of the European Parliament as representative of the european peoples and expressed the hope that it will have an active presence in the Inter-Governmental Conference which begins next week in Torino, Italy.

    He also pointed out the importance of the European Parliament elections for Austria and its European course, which will be held on October 13th.

    The importance of the Inter-Governmental Conference was underlined and by Euro-Parliament President Claus Haench and by the austrian Parliament President who stressed that it is a landmark in the development of Europe.

    [09] THE PROSPECTS FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF RELATIONS BETWEEN GREECE AND BELORUSSIA WERE DISCUSSED IN ATHENS

    The prospects for the development of the relations between Greece and Belorussia were discussed today in the National Economy Ministry building in Athens by Undersecretary of National Economy Manolis Beteniotis and belorussian Undersecretary of International Relations Nikolai Leftsenko.

    In the meeting was agreed that bilateral contacts should intensify aiming at the signing of a trade-economic agreement between the two countries before the end of the year.

    Mr.Leftsenko invited mr.Beteniotis to visit formally Belorussia in the next few months.

    [10] FOREIGN TELEVISION CHANNELS SHOWED GREAT INTEREST IN COVERING THE CEREMONY FOR THE LIGHTING OF THE OLYMPIC FLAME

    Foreign television channels have shown great interest in covering live both the ceremony for the lighting of the Olympic Flame for the Olympic Games in Atlanta and the festivities that will be held in the Panathinean Stadium in Athens for the 100th anniversary of the revival of the Olympic Games.

    It is estimated that the ceremony in ancient Olympia for the lighting of the Olympic Flame that will be held on Saturday, March 30th will be covered by 26 television channels from 19 countries, while the event in Panathinean Stadium which will be held on April 6th will be covered by 19 TV channels from 15 countries.

    Among those television channels will be some of the largest in the world, such as the american NBC, the australian ABC, the german ARD, the NTV from Japan and the british EUROSPORT.

    [11] PASOK'S PRESIDENT ANDREAS PAPANDREOU LEAVES HOSPITAL TOMORROW

    PASOK's President Andreas Papandreou leaves the Onasion Cardiology Center tomorrow after a hospitalization that lasted 4 months. Mr.Papandreou's attendant doctors characterized his condition as satisfactory, while it was made known that he will have to undergo dialysis treatment every two days in his home.

    Tomorrow morning, the former Prime Minister will undergo the last medical examinations on the functioning of his respiratory system in order to be allowed to leave the hospital.

    According to information, mr.Papandreou will make a short statement tomorrow thanking everyone who was close to him during his hospitalization but it was not made known if he will make the statement to the television channels or if it will be a written statement to reporters.

    [12] GREEK BUSINESS DELEGATION TO FYROM CONSIDERED A SUCCESS

    A new era in economic co-operation between Greece and FYROM has been opened by the recent mission to Skopje organized by the Federation of Exporters of Northern Greece (SEVE), according to the President of Thessaloniki's Economic Chamber Themistocles Nikolaides, who also participated iin the delegation.

    Speaking to the Macedonian Press Agency, SEVE's President and Piraeus Port Authority President Apostolos Yenitsaris and the President of the Professional Chamber expressed their satisfaction stemming from their FYROM business contacts, as well as their optimism that greek business will soon regain the neighboring state's market.

    Talks held between SEVE's President and FYROM's Minister of State and Finance Bekir Zuta, along with the President of FYROM's Economic Chamber Dusan Petreski, as well as business contacts held between greek and skopjan businessmen, were amidst a warm and friendly climate which, according to SEVE's administrative officials, "is indicative of both countries' intention to extend not only bilateral economic and business trade, but to jointly undertake similar action towards other countries."

    Mr. Nikolaides characterized the mission as a precursor to a good greek-skopjian co-operation. According to the President of Thessaloniki's chamber, the Skopjan market is especially promising as " they have strict and sound laws and motivations," he noted, "something that constitutes the FYROM market the most suitable among the other Balkan countries."

    Especially satisfying were the contacts made among businessmen from both countries in the sectors of bread production, electrical materials and soft drinks.

    FYROM is expected to reciprocate the greek business mission with a delegation of its own visiting Greece, although the exact date of the visit has not yet been determined.

    Mr. Petreski also announced the FYROM Economic Chamber's interest in creating a Representative Office in Thessaloniki, securing first the agreement by the greek state.

    The 60-member delegation of northern-greek businessmen comprised members of enterprises and co-operative unions, as well as representatives from the federation of agricultural organizations of Greece, PASEGES and the Ionian Bank.

    [13] NORTHERN GREEK BUSINESSMEN IN FYROM FOR TRADE TALKS

    A delegation of businessmen, organized by the Federation of Exporters of Northern Greece (SEVE) is currently in Skopje for a two-day visit during which they are examining investment opportunities and aiming to promote bilateral trade and co- operation.

    The 60-member delegation, headed by SEVE and Piraeus Port Authority President Apostolos Yenitsaris, comprises members of enterprises and co-operative unions, as well as representatives from the federation of agricultural organizations of Greece, PASEGES and the Ionian Bank.

    [14] AUSTRIA AND LUXEMBURG ARE SUPPORTIVE OF CYPRUS' EU ACCESSION

    Austria and Luxemburg have expressed their support of Cyprus' efforts for accession to the European Union and have saluted the appointment of the EU's Italian Presidency Co-ordinator of the cypriot issue, Federico di Roberto.

    These favorable positions were expressed by the Austrian and Luxemburg ambassadors during their separate accrediting ceremonies, held at the Presidential Mansion. Specifically, the Austrian Ambassador to Nicosia Hans Sabatic expressed his conviction that Cyprus' accession to the Community "will constitute a valuable part of Europe's structure, will strengthen the EU's economic power and will extend the political stability into the eastern Mediterranean."

    Referring to the cypriot economy, the Austrian diplomat stated that based on "very favorable macro-economic indicators and a rapidly developing economy, the Cypriot Republic can be considered a strong candidate for accession to the European Union."

    In turn, Luxemburg's Ambassador Yves Spouch, the first to be accredited to Cyprus, emphasized that his country views with satisfaction the European Union's increased intervention in the process of solving the Cyprus issue, and added that the two countries are already collaborating closely in promoting the candidacy of Cyprus' EU inclusion.

    Cypriot President Glafkos Klerides expressed his deep appreciation for the support of both countries.

    [15] RUSSIA AND CYPRUS WILL SIGN A MILITARY AGREEMENT

    Cypriot delegation headed by Defense Minister Kostas Iliadis and National Guard General Staff Chief, Nikolaos Vorvolakos will make an official visit to Moscow.

    The delegation will have high level contacts with the russian Ministry of Defense, while a military cooperation agreement will be signed between Cyprus and Russia. The agreement will be signed by the Defense Ministers of the two countries.

    According to press information, Nicosia and Moscow have reached a framework of an agreement providing for the cooperation of the two countries in the sector of military armaments and for the training of the cypriot National Guard in Russia.

    The negotiations for the sale of russian armoured tanks to Cyprus were concluded recently, but an agreement has not been signed yet while the National Guard is also interested in purchasing an air-defense missile system.

    [16] CYPRUS A COMPLEX AND SENSITIVE ISSUE, SAYS ITALIAN CO- ORDINATOR

    Following his New York contacts with UN officials, the Italian-held European Union Presidency's Co-ordinator for Cyprus Federico di Roberto stated that there must be close co-ordination and common positions found between the United Nations, the United States and the EU on the Cypriot issue which he characterized as a sensitive and complex problem.

    Wrapping up a two-day meeting with U.S. and U.N. officials, Mr. di Roberto, accompanied by the official responsible for the EU's Meditteranean Affairs Serge Abu, also stated that the contacts reaffirmed the feeling of contained optimism gained from his contacts in Nicosia.

    The Italian official stated that the issue of Cyprus' accession to the EU was not brought up during the meetings since, as he stated, it is a matter that concerns Cyprus and Europe, not the U.N. and the U.S.

    Mr. di Roberto will submit a report to the Italian Presidency on March 25 regarding the outcome of his contacts.

    [17] FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATE REPORT

    CURRENCY          FIXING      BUY         SELL
    ECU              302.6000   301.6920    303.5080
    U.S. Dollar      240.3200   239.9780    241.4220
    Deutsche Mark    163.3200   162.8300    163.8100
    UK Sterling      369.9700   368.8600    371.0800
    French Franc      47.7440    47.6010     47.8870
    Swedish Crown     36.4970    36.3880     36.6060
    Danish Kroner     42.2990    42.1720     42.4260
    Norwegian Crown   37.6030    37.4900     37.7160
    Italian Lira      15.4685    15.4220     15.5150
    Swiss Franc      202.1840   201.5770    202.7910
    Spanish Peseta     1.9418     1.9360      1.9476
    Finnish Mark      52.5970    52.4390     52.7550
    Yen              226.5100   225.8300    227.1900
    
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