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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 98-03-19

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

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH

Thessaloniki, March 19, 1998


NEWS IN ENGLISH

[A] NATIONAL NEWS

[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS


TITLES

[A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] PREMIER FACES OPPOSITION’S HARSH CRITICISM OVER DEVALUATION

  • [02] REVITALIZATION TO START WITH OLYMPIC AIRLINES

  • [03] PRICES SOAR ON A SCORE OF CONSUMER GOODS

  • [04] GREEK FM TO MEET WITH US SECRETARY OF STATE TOMORROW

  • [05] ANOTHER 10% OF OTE’S EQUITY CAPITAL TO BE FLOATED ON ATHENS BOURSE

  • [06] CYPRIOT MINISTER OF DEFENSE TO ARRIVE IN ATHENS TODAY

  • [07] DECISIVE MEASURES FOR THE REFORM OF OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

  • [08] PRICE HIKES ON MANY GOODS

  • [09] REPORT ON THE RELATIONS OF GREECE WITH FYROM

  • [10] SIMITIS: MARKET’S REACTION TO THE DRACHMA DEVALUATION WAS POSITIVE

  • [11] THESSALONIKI COULD BE THE BASE OF A MULTINATIONAL FORCE OF IMMEDIATE ACTION FOR THE BALKANS


  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [12] BULGARIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON AN OFFICAL VISIT TO GREECE

  • [13] FOREIGN MINISTERS OF FRANCE AND GERMANY ARRIVE IN BELGRADE TODAY

  • [14] MILOSEVIC OPEN TO GRANTING AUTONOMY TO KOSSOVO’S ALBANIANS

  • [15] THE FOREIGN MINISTERS OF FRANCE AND GERMANY WILL BE IN BELGRADE

  • [16] CONFIDENTIAL MEETING BETWEEN CLERIDES AND NETANIAHU

  • [17] BRANKOVIC: THERE IS NO DANGER OF SPREAD OF THE KOSOVO CRISIS


  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] PREMIER FACES OPPOSITION’S HARSH CRITICISM OVER DEVALUATION

    Prime Minister Kostas Simitis addressed the Hellenic Parliament yesterday evening where he defended the incorporation of the drachma into the European Union’s Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), by stating that this development "fulfills a crucial and necessary precondition for participation in Economic and Monetary Union (EMU)".

    Moreover, Mr. Simitis added that it also showed increasing confidence in the country's economy, securing solidarity and support by Greece's EU partners for the national currency.

    “Greece's success in the recent developments, he said, was evidenced by the positive market response, as well as the inflow of foreign exchange, the bourse's rise, security markets' recovery, a decrease in long-term interest rates and the international demand for Greek securities,” he stressed.

    However, opposition deputies severely attacked the Premier’s policies, with main opposition New Democracy deputy Dimitris Sioufas calling Mr. Simitis the "Prime Minister of unemployment, taxes and devaluation," and demanding his resignation.

    Mr. Sioufas said Mr. Simitis had gone back on his previous assurances that the drachma would not be incorporated into the ERM now, but in the year 2001.

    Coalition of the left and Progress (Synaspismos) leader Nikos Constantopoulos also criticized the premier for what he called the equalizing of the drachma's ERM incorporation with the Greek people's "poverty and degradation."

    Democratic Social Movement (DHKKI) leader Dimitris Tsovolas demanded that the Premier apologize to the Greek people, and that the government resign. He underlined that while tabling the 1998 state budget just a few months ago, the Prime Minister firmly advocated that the drachma's stability was a precondition for a stable economy.

    [02] REVITALIZATION TO START WITH OLYMPIC AIRLINES

    The national carrier, Olympic Airways, is to undergo a revitalization process that will involve a reduction on overtime, a freeze on new hires, a more flexible working schedule, an increase in working hours and an end to free tickets for the staff.

    The government aims to reduce the operational costs of Olympic Airways by 50 billion drachmas.

    According to reports, these changes are to be decided upon today, when the Ministerial Committee convenes.

    [03] PRICES SOAR ON A SCORE OF CONSUMER GOODS

    Prices have soared on a score of consumer goods, this being the first visible effect of the drachma devaluation. The increases concern car prices, fuel, electrical appliances, clothing and almost all imported food products. At many electrical retail outlets, goods such as television sets, hi-fi systems and computer products displayed new increased prices that were 14 to 20 percent higher, while clothing prices on new stock are forecast to jump by between 12 and 15 percent.

    Supermarkets are already warning consumers of upcoming price increases on imported food and household products such as canned goods, milk, cheese, alcohol, coffee, vegetables, fish and cosmetics.

    Average-sized Greek households will have to foot an extra 218,000 drachma bill on their annual expenses, according to the Consumers' Institute (INKA).

    [04] GREEK FM TO MEET WITH US SECRETARY OF STATE TOMORROW

    Greece’s Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos is to meet with the U.S. Secretary of state Madeleine Albright in Washington tomorrow.

    According to State Department spokesperson James Rubin, the two officials are to discuss Greek-Turkish relations, Cyprus’s accession course to the European Union and the latest developments in Kossovo.

    "Cyprus' accession into the EU is possibly a positive factor in resolving the (Cyprus) problem, and the likelihood of this happening would contribute to creating a favorable climate for the solution of such issues..." said Mr. Rubin, referring to the Cyprus problem.

    [05] ANOTHER 10% OF OTE’S EQUITY CAPITAL TO BE FLOATED ON ATHENS BOURSE

    The Greek government is to float 19% of the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization’s (OTE) equity by December of 1998, entering at least ten percent of the company’s equity capital on the Athens bourse within the next two months.

    The move is part of the government’s plan to expedite the state-owned enterprises privatization process and its target is to raise OTE's total stake for sale to 49 percent.

    [06] CYPRIOT MINISTER OF DEFENSE TO ARRIVE IN ATHENS TODAY

    Cyprus’s Minister of Defense Yiannakis Omerou is expected to arrive in Athens today where he will have talks with his Greek counterpart Akis Tsochatzopoulos and the general staff of the Greek armed forces.

    Prior to his departure from Athens, Mr. Omerou stated that those countries interested in peace and stability in the region, should address Turkey since that is the country that continues with a expansionist policy.

    Referring to his talks in Athens, Mr. Omerou stated that “it will be talks spanning all subjects and will focus on the common defense track of Greece and Cyprus, aiming at the formulation and upgrading of a deterring policy before the Turkish expansionism.”

    Moreover, the Cypriot official stated that “the aim is to establish peace on Cyprus and the greater region, peace which will be based on respecting international law and the principles of independence, sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Cypriot Republic.”

    [07] DECISIVE MEASURES FOR THE REFORM OF OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

    The measures that will be implemented for the reform of Olympic Airways were decided in today’s meeting of the governmental committee. In the measures are included wage, over- time and time off cuts, increase of flight hours and hire freezes.

    Commenting on the measures, Coalition of the Left president Nikos Konstantopoulos said that a new attack is launched by the government targeting the work relations and the social security system, while he predicted new social unrest.

    [08] PRICE HIKES ON MANY GOODS

    Price hikes have been observed on many consumer goods. More expensive are cheeses, meat, sugar and car spare parts, while many supermarkets have raised the prices of all imported goods.

    Meanwhile, the annual cost of living for an average family will be increased by 218.000 drachmas due to the devaluation of the drachma, as it is estimated by the Consumers’ Institute.

    [09] REPORT ON THE RELATIONS OF GREECE WITH FYROM

    A report on the course of relations between Greece and FYROM after the signing of the interim accord, has been prepared by the Greek foreign ministry in which, according to information, bilateral relations are being evaluated.

    Regarding the sectors of transportation, communications, customs’ issues, as well as police, economic and cultural cooperation, a special emphasis is given to the meetings of experts from the Greek public order ministry and FYROM’s foreign ministry which were aimed at the promotion of cooperation between the police forces of the two countries. Also, it is stressed that strong efforts have been made for the promotion and the protection of investments.

    [10] SIMITIS: MARKET’S REACTION TO THE DRACHMA DEVALUATION WAS POSITIVE

    Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis said today, during the session of the Governmental Committee about the policy for Olympic Airways, that the reaction of the market to the governmental decision for the participation of the national currency in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism was positive.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated during a press conference that prime minister addressing members of the government stressed the need to continue the effort to control current developments carefully and wisely in order to prevent turbulence in the market.

    [11] THESSALONIKI COULD BE THE BASE OF A MULTINATIONAL FORCE OF IMMEDIATE ACTION FOR THE BALKANS

    The talks Greek National Defense minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos had today in Athens with his Bulgarian counterpart Georgi Ananiev concentrated on the formation of a multinational force of immediate action for the Balkans. The initiative belongs to the Greek side which suggested that the force could be based in Thessaloniki.

    Turkey, however, counter-suggested that the force’s base should be in Andrianoupoli, near the Greek-Turkish-Bulgarian borders. Mr Tsohatzopoulos and mr Ananiev agreed that they would reach a final decision during the meeting of deputy Defense ministers of the Balkan states that will take place next month in Tirana. The two ministers also signed a cooperation agreement in the sector of military industry.


    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [12] BULGARIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ON AN OFFICAL VISIT TO GREECE

    Bulgaria’s Defense Minister Georgi Ananiev has embarked on a three-day visit to Greece at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Akis Tsochatzopoulos, and the two are expected to sign two defense Ministerial accords, one concerning cooperation in the military-technical field and another for participation of a Bulgarian transport platoon in the Greek forces within SFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    Mr. Ananiev will also discuss European and Euro-Atlantic integration, regional security and the development of bilateral military relations with his Greek counterpart.

    The Bulgarian official will be received by Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos and Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis.

    [13] FOREIGN MINISTERS OF FRANCE AND GERMANY ARRIVE IN BELGRADE TODAY

    The Foreign Ministers of France and Germany are to arrive in Belgrade today in an effort to defuse the increasing tension in Kossovo.

    New episodes erupted n the city of Pec yesterday when Serb policemen opened fire against Albanian protesters, killing one and wounding five others.

    [14] MILOSEVIC OPEN TO GRANTING AUTONOMY TO KOSSOVO’S ALBANIANS

    The President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic has left open the possibility of granting autonomy to the ethnic Albanians of Kossovo.

    In an announcement he issued last evening, Mr. Milosevic called on Kossovo’s Albanian leaders to engage in dialogue with the Serb authorities and added that he personally, as president of Serbia, is to vouch for these talks which must be based on the principle of safeguarding the country’s territorial integrity and whose agenda will include the issue of granting autonomy to Kossovo within the framework of Serbia.

    [15] THE FOREIGN MINISTERS OF FRANCE AND GERMANY WILL BE IN BELGRADE

    The foreign ministers of France and Germany are in Belgrade for contacts in an effort to avert the escalation of violence in Kosovo.

    New bloody clashes erupted in the town of Pec, while Serb president Milan Miludinovic called on the leaders of the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo to open a dialogue with the Serb authorities immediately, saying that he personally guarantees that it should be based on the principle of the country’s territorial integrity.

    [16] CONFIDENTIAL MEETING BETWEEN CLERIDES AND NETANIAHU

    The Cypriot government characterized as confidential the meeting of Cypriot president Glafkos Clerides with Israeli prime minister Benzamin Netaniahu that was held yesterday.

    Cypriot government spokesman Christos Stilianidis referring to the meeting pointed out that the two men confirmed the friendly relations of their countries and their talks mainly focused on the Middle East and the Cyprus issue.

    Mr. Stilianidis avoided to give more details on the contents of the discussion.

    [17] BRANKOVIC: THERE IS NO DANGER OF SPREAD OF THE KOSOVO CRISIS

    Yugoslav deputy minister of Multilateral Affairs Branko Brankovic who officially applied today, on behalf of his country, for membership in the Council of Europe expressed the intention of Belgrade to sign the European accord for minorities. Secretary- general of the Council Daniel Tarschys responding to a question by the Macedonian Press Agency welcomed the application describing it as a positive step for Belgrade to begin a dialogue with Strasbourg that would aim at settling issues such as human rights, minorities’ protection, law and justice. Mr Brankovic in statements he made to MPA underlined that there was no danger of spread of the Kosovo crisis to the wider Balkan area.


    Complete archives of the Macedonian Press Agency bulletins are available on the MPA Home Page at http://www.mpa.gr/ and on the U.S. mirror at http://www.hri.org/MPA/

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