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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 98-03-30

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

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH

Thessaloniki, March 30, 1998


NEWS IN ENGLISH

[A] NATIONAL NEWS

[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS


TITLES

[A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] THESSALONIKI HOSTS SE EUROPE ECONOMY FORUM

  • [02] DEFENSE AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS COUNCIL TO CONVENE TODAY

  • [03] VISAS FOR TRAVEL TO US ARE NECESSARY FOR THE TIME BEING

  • [04] CULTURE MINISTER ATTENDS UNESCO CONFERENCE IN STOCKHOLM

  • [05] 1998 WILL BE THE YEAR OF BUSINESS DEALS

  • [06] DEVELOPMENT UNDERSECRETARY: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TECHNOLOGY

  • [07] GREEK PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION TRAVELS TO TIRANA

  • [08] MEDIA MINISTER: COMMUNICATION WITH GREEKS ABROAD IS FERVENT

  • [09] MEETING UNDER THE MINISTER OF FINANCE

  • [10] THE PARTHENON MARBLES MUST BE RETURNED

  • [11] DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN THE EMPLOYEES AND THE MANAGEMENT OF OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

  • [12] BOOK ON CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS FOUND IN GREEK AND BULGARIAN VILLAGES

  • [13] THE AGREEMENT FOR THE FACILITATION OF COMMERCE IN SE EUROPE WILL BE SIGNED IN 1998

  • [14] ANTI-MISSILE AND ANTI-AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS WILL BE ORDERED BY GREECE

  • [15] MOST GREEK INVESTMENTS IN THE BALKANS ARE OPPORTUNISTIC


  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [16] EU-CYPRUS ACCESSION TALKS COMMENCE TODAY IN BRUSSELS

  • [17] US ENVOY TO KOSSOVO: MILOSEVIC CREATES PROBLEMS TO ALL

  • [18] THE NANO GOVERNMENT WANTS THE EXTENSION OF THE GREEK FORCE'S PRESENCE IN ALBANIA

  • [19] PRESIDENT OF POLAND TO VISIT ATHENS IN APRIL

  • [20] PRESIDENT OF EUROPEAN COMMISSION TO VISIT ATHENS IN APRIL

  • [21] CYPRUS ACCESSION TALKS WITH THE EU HAVE STARTED IN BRUSSELS

  • [22] INFLATION IN ROMANIA WAS 7,2% IN MARCH

  • [23] REPRESENTATIVES OF EUROPEAN JOURNALISTS' ASSOCIATIONS MEET IN ATHENS

  • [24] "ECONOMIST" MAGAZINE TO HOLD ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION IN GREECE

  • [25] US ROLE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE

  • [26] TURKEY RANKS HIGH AT IMPRISONING JOURNALISTS


  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] THESSALONIKI HOSTS SE EUROPE ECONOMY FORUM

    Thessaloniki is to host a two-day forum on business and economic development in the Balkan region, starting today, featuring the participation of ministers, bankers, stockbrokers and industrialists from 13 countries.

    The event, titled "Thessaloniki Forum: Greece and the Balkans: An Emerging Market in South-eastern Europe" is organized by the Northern Greek Industries Association (SBBE), Macedonia- Thrace Bank, and the Hellenic-American Chamber of Commerce.

    Also, the United States ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns is to be present at the forum where he will be a keynote speaker. The issues to be addressed are expected to reach beyond theory and actually delve into specific issues, such as the incentives and shortcomings in investment, the familiarity of the Balkan entrepreneurs with the western business mentality, as well as Greece's role as the only Balkan country that is a member of the European Union.

    The honorary president of SVVE, Nikos Efthimiades, stated that this year's forum is to focus on economic issues, as opposed to political ones.

    He added that two significant figures, the vice presidents of Bulgaria and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Mgrs. Boskov and Vusic respectively, will be present at the forum in order to provide the views of the privatization process their state economies are undergoing.

    Moreover, Mr. Efthimiades added that the prevailing optimism is fortified by the American SECI initiative in regards to facilitating commerce and creating a unified code of transporting goods through the Southeastern European region.

    This initiative is of specific interest to Greece, at a time when the International, monetary fund is to loan 70 million dollars to the region's countries or the upgrading of border stations, a matter over which significant announcements are to be made at the forum.

    [02] DEFENSE AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS COUNCIL TO CONVENE TODAY

    The main policy points concerning the country's air defense will be discussed by the Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) in a session to be held today.

    The Minister of National Defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos has stated that the country's massive armaments shopping list, specifically the air defense system, will cover the entire country and, for the first time, will involve all three service branches. At subsequent KYSEA meetings decisions will be taken on the weapons systems which will form the links of the system, as well as the new fighter aircraft to be purchased by Greece.

    Mr. Tsochatzopoulos is to travel to Moscow tomorrow where he will have talks with his Russian counterparts.

    [03] VISAS FOR TRAVEL TO US ARE NECESSARY FOR THE TIME BEING

    The United States embassy in Athens has announced that visitor-visas for travel to the United States are still required by Greek citizens.

    The US House of Representatives last week abolished the visa requirement for Greek citizens wishing to travel to the US but, as the Senate has already approved a similar amendment, this procedure still requires approval of the two amendments in a joint session of Congress, which will then adopt the final form of the amendment to be sent to US President Bill Clinton for signing.

    The embassy clarified that Washington has implemented a visa waiver pilot program for several years and, as that program will soon expire, the US Congress is considering legislation to extend the program and has recently voted to lower the refusal rate.

    [04] CULTURE MINISTER ATTENDS UNESCO CONFERENCE IN STOCKHOLM

    Greece's Minister of Culture Evangelos Venizelos is currently in Stockholm where he will attend the UNESCO "The Force of Culture" conference, along with 75 other culture ministers from throughout the world, a record number for such a conference. The Conference, featuring the participation of 2,500 delegates from UNESCO's 186 member-countries, is to look into the role of civilization in politics and its goal is to aid social development. Greece's ambassador to UNESCO, the author Vassilis Vassilikos, will participate at parallel conferences.

    [05] 1998 WILL BE THE YEAR OF BUSINESS DEALS

    Declaring open the Thessaloniki-held two-day forum on business and economic development in the Balkan region, titled "Thessaloniki Forum: Greece and the Balkans: An Emerging Market in South-eastern Europe" the Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Philippos Petsalnikos stated that the new developments in the region of southeastern Europe amplify the need for a complex concern which will taken into consideration the role played by the United States, Russia and Europe, as well as promote business cooperation by giving solutions to problems to the operation and reform of these countries' institutions.

    Mr. Petsalnikos also relayed the salutation of the Prime Minister Kostas Simitis to the delegates and outlined the government's initiatives, and especially those undertaken by the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace, concerning the promotion of cooperation in Southeast Europe.

    The honorary President of the Northern Greek Industries Association (SBBE) Nikos Efthimiades, saluted 1997 as the year of agreements and business deals closed among Balkan countries as well as the international community.

    Moreover, Mr. Efthimiades saluted Greece's role in the developments, giving special mention to the Balkan Summit conference held last year in Crete, as well as the SE European Foreign Ministers Meeting held in Thessaloniki.

    [06] DEVELOPMENT UNDERSECRETARY: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TECHNOLOGY

    The Undersecretary of Development Anna Diamantopoulou urged the Balkan countries to take advantage to the fullest extent the only instrument that grants them the opportunity to overcome time and place, that is the information and technology society.

    In her address at the Thessaloniki-held two-day forum on business and economic development in the Balkan region, titled "Thessaloniki Forum: Greece and the Balkans: An Emerging Market in South-eastern Europe", Ms. Diamantopoulou stated that the Balkan region's countries are in need of substantial and expeditious changes at-mainly- three levels:

    First, at the institutional level, by creating a system compatible with the European Union's status quo, in the work sector, in the financing sector and the area of networking and cooperation among businesses.

    Second, at a level of infrastructure development, telecommunications, energy, transportation, there is a need to develop systems and networks that will facilitate the direct communication among people, goods and ideas.

    Third, at a political and social level, the development and maintenance of social cohesion among the nations so that mobility, exchange, mutual trust and acceptance promote cooperation.

    [07] GREEK PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION TRAVELS TO TIRANA

    A Greek Parliamentary delegation, of the foreign and Defense Affairs Committee, embarked yesterday on an official, three-day visit to Tirana, invited by the corresponding Albanian committee.

    Headed by former Foreign Minister Karolos Papoulias, the six- member delegation is to be briefed on the current political situation in Albania and the course of Greek-Albanian relations.

    The delegation is scheduled to meet with Archbishop of Tirana and all of Albania Anastasios, as well as with Albanian President Rejep Mejdani, Prime Minister Fatos Nano and former Albanian president and Democratic Party leader Sali Berisha.

    The delegates will also visit the Greek military force in Albania, and hold talks with their Albanian counterparts and representatives of the Greek minority.

    The visit is within the framework of contacts between the parliaments of the two countries and will coincide with the tabling of a bill in the Albanian parliament for a six-month extension of the Greek military forces' stay in the neighboring country aimed at contributing in the efforts to restructure the Albanian military.

    [08] MEDIA MINISTER: COMMUNICATION WITH GREEKS ABROAD IS FERVENT

    The Minister of Press and Media Dimitris Reppas, in a recently-published article, stressed that the government's communication with the Greek community living abroad is multifaceted, uninterrupted and is exercised by nearly every ministry, coordinated by the Foreign Ministry's General- Secretariat of Greeks Abroad.

    Mr. Reppas outlined the various media organizations supervised by the government which address the needs of the expatriate community and, in addition to the radio and television stations, referred to the country's two news agencies, namely the Macedonian Press Agency and the Athens News Agency.

    Moreover, Mr. Reppas stated that the Macedonian Press Agency publishes the monthly periodical "Diaspora" which features a great number of subscribers abroad.

    He also referred to the link of the basic services offered by the news agencies with the Press Ministry through the Internet which allows for a more substantial and immediate form of communication with the Greek community abroad.

    [09] MEETING UNDER THE MINISTER OF FINANCE

    The developments in the country's economy and the regulation of price hikes were at the center of the meeting that was held this morning and was presided over by minister of national economy and finance Mr. Yiannos Papantoniou.

    In statements he made, undersecretary of development Mr. Chrisochoidis announced that in the meeting it was decided that imports of goods will be made, if necessary, in order for the market to cover the needs of consumers.

    [10] THE PARTHENON MARBLES MUST BE RETURNED

    Ten Euro-deputies from different countries and different political parties have requested from British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

    The initiative was undertaken by Greek Euro-deputy from the Coalition of the Left party, Alekos Alavanos.

    [11] DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN THE EMPLOYEES AND THE MANAGEMENT OF OLYMPIC AIRWAYS

    The main disagreement between the representatives of the employees and the management of Olympic Airways, who met today to decide on the future of the airline, lays on issues concerning employment and wages, while the deadline presented to both sides to find mutually acceptable solutions ends today.

    In case the employees do not approve of the choices made by the government and the Olympic Airways' management a legislation will be submitted in Parliament regulating the working relations in the state company.

    [12] BOOK ON CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS FOUND IN GREEK AND BULGARIAN VILLAGES

    A book with all the customs and traditions found in the Greek village of Petrota in Evros of north-eastern Greece and in the Bulgarian village of Malka Grantiste will be the result of the work that will be done by two folklore research groups that have been formed within the framework of the Interreg II program that concerns the establishment of a friendship center for the peoples of the Balkans in the village of Petrota.

    The book will be formally presented in an event that will be held in Petrota in August.

    [13] THE AGREEMENT FOR THE FACILITATION OF COMMERCE IN SE EUROPE WILL BE SIGNED IN 1998

    The inter-state agreement forming a common framework for the movement of goods in south-eastern Europe, which is promoted through the US initiative SECI and coordinated by Greece, is expected to be signed before the end of 1998.

    An outline of the basic directions of cooperation has already been prepared and each country has presented the specific sectors on which political decisions can be made. Specifically, the Greek and the Turkish sides have formed special committees that will present the assessments of the SECI participants to their governments.

    It is estimated that by this fall a text will be finalized regulating the movement of goods aimed at the facilitation and strengthening of trade relations among the participating countries, while the signing of the agreement will be made by their governments.

    As it was determined in the SECI business meeting that was held in Thessaloniki yesterday, the main framework includes regulations concerning the transit trucks, the issuing of multiple visas to the drivers etc. Those measures are expected to rid the Greek exporters of the problems hampering their activities. Regulations on the movement of people are not included due to the restrictions imposed by the Schengen Accord.

    Meanwhile, the IMF's intention to offer a 70 million dollar loan to the countries of the region aimed at the modernization of their customs offices and the further training of their personnel is regarded as an opportunity for the upgrading of the border crossings.

    [14] ANTI-MISSILE AND ANTI-AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS WILL BE ORDERED BY GREECE

    The final directions concerning the supplies of the basic armaments' systems that will reinforce the Greek armed forces were determined in the meeting of the Governmental Council of Foreign Affairs and Defense that was held in Athens today under prime minister Kostas Simitis.

    Specifically, the supplies will concern mainly anti-missile and anti-aircraft systems of large, medium and small range.

    The Air Force will be supplied with 40 new fighter jets and 20 more that will cover possible loses from accidents.

    In the meeting were also examined ways to deal with the negative effects the devaluation of the drachma had on the Greek armaments.

    [15] MOST GREEK INVESTMENTS IN THE BALKANS ARE OPPORTUNISTIC

    President of the Greek Center for Investments Vasilios Kourtesis, speaking in the 5th International Forum for the cooperation in the Balkans and SE Europe, stated that most Greek business activities in the neighboring Balkan countries are of an opportunistic nature. He stated that the Greek businesses are hostages of a mistaken point of view regarding their entry into the Balkans because they continue to base their activities on the over-optimistic predictions-myths that dominated in 1989.

    Specifically, the overwhelming majority of the Greek investments in those countries are, according to Mr. Kourtesis, of a small scale and an emphasis is being given by the Greek businessmen to the sectors of trade and services, while their investments are based on a low production cost and a distribution of goods of an average to low quality.

    Those investments have a small interest both for the Greek side and the countries where the investments are made, said Mr. Koutesis, underlining that they do not serve as a basis for development, do not lead to the improvement of the Greek competitiveness, do not convey know-how and innovation and are aimed at the short-term exploitation of small local markets.

    Mr. Kourtesis proposed the immediate establishment of a permanent bilateral body that will promote the production and investment cooperation in the Balkans. He also stated that with the participation of each country's public and private sector in this body, realism will be safeguarded in locating the common needs, while bureaucracy will be minimized.


    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [16] EU-CYPRUS ACCESSION TALKS COMMENCE TODAY IN BRUSSELS

    The European Union's talks with Cyprus for the island's accession to the Community are to commence today in Brussels, with a joint session of the EU's 15 foreign ministers and their counterparts from 11 central and eastern European countries as well as Cyprus, with Greece being represented by Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Foreign Undersecretary Yiannos Kranidiotis.

    Tomorrow, six inter-governmental conferences will be held in order to address the opening of accession talks with Cyprus, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Slovenia.

    The talks are to be held without the participation of the Turkish-Cypriots as their leader Rauf Denktash has rejected the relevant invitation issued by the President of Cyprus Glafkos Clerides.

    [17] US ENVOY TO KOSSOVO: MILOSEVIC CREATES PROBLEMS TO ALL

    The United States special envoy to Kossovo Robert Gelbard, commenting on the Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's refusal to meet with him, stated that the Serb leader is trying to create problems for everyone.

    In a press interview, Mr. Gelbard stated that if Yugoslavia wishes to recover from the difficult economic and political situation it currently finds itself in, it must abide by the international principles and stop setting forth terms for resolving the Kossovo problem.

    [18] THE NANO GOVERNMENT WANTS THE EXTENSION OF THE GREEK FORCE'S PRESENCE IN ALBANIA

    The Albanian government suggested the extension of the Greek force's presence in Albania for 6 more months to contribute to the reorganization of the Albanian armed forces.

    The proposal was made during a meeting of the foreign affairs parliamentary committee and was presented by minister of defense Sabit Brokai. The proposal is expected to be presented in Parliament for discussion within the week.

    The newspaper Dita Information" writes that the Greek military force is in Albania within the framework of the "Clearing House" NATO program and has undertaken certain construction projects in the ports of Durres and Saranta, while it backs the improvement of infrastructure in two Albanian army camps and in the military hospital in Tirana.

    [19] PRESIDENT OF POLAND TO VISIT ATHENS IN APRIL

    The President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski is to embark on an official, three-day visit to Athens on April 6 where he will hold talks with the Greek government leadership.

    Mr. Kwasniewski is to also attend a Greek-Polish Business Conference on ways of expanding economic relations between the two countries to be held in Athens between April 5 and 7.

    The conference is sponsored by the Hellenic Organization for Small and Medium Size Enterprises and Handicrafts (EOMMEH) and prominent Greek and Polish companies and discussions will focus on possible cooperation in the sectors of energy, telecommunications, defense, agriculture and foodstuffs, metals, clothing, tourism etc.

    National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and his Polish counterpart Janus Steinhof will also attend.

    [20] PRESIDENT OF EUROPEAN COMMISSION TO VISIT ATHENS IN APRIL

    The President of the European Commission Jacques Santer is to conduct an official visit to Greece between April 9-13.

    During his stay in Athens, Mr. Santer will meet with state and government leaders and will also be the keynote speaker at an international conference on "Greeting a new Business Age", to be held in Athens by "The Economist" magazine on April 9.

    Mr. Santer will also visit the island of Crete, where he will meet with representatives of local authorities and producers. This will be Mr. Santer's third official visit to Greece since assuming the top seat of the Commission in January 1995.

    [21] CYPRUS ACCESSION TALKS WITH THE EU HAVE STARTED IN BRUSSELS

    Cypriot Foreign Minister Yiannakis Kasoulides, currently in Brussels where he will represent his country in its accession talks with the European Union, described the opening of the negotiations as an "historic moment" for Cyprus, as it will most likely lead to the island's accession to the EU.

    Mr. Kasoulides said that the Cyprus government was aware of Turkish intentions and threats to integrate the occupied northern part of the island to Turkey, and it has already prepared a set of reactions. He stated that the Cypriot government does not wait to see the Turkish side's moves in order to form its reaction plan.

    "The government examines in advance various scenarios and it decides on possible measures, taking into account the seriousness of Turkish moves, and both the prospects and timing of our reactions", he noted.

    When asked to comment on a planned visit of his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem to the island's occupied areas today, Mr. Kasoulides described it as illegal.

    Mr. Kasoulides added that the Community's open door to Cyprus represents a unique opportunity to motivate Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots to resolve their differences.

    "Don't destroy this leverage by saying only if you unite the island can you enter Europe," Mr. Kasoulides said, adding that "this would be tantamount to giving Turkey a veto over the island's future. "The only leverage comes from the EU."

    The Cypriot Foreign Minister also expressed his regret that the Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash had rejected his government's offer to join the Greek Cypriots in the membership negotiations. He said Denktash was seeking concessions "to pocket and run away with, as he has always done".

    Today the EU will start intergovernmental conferences with Hungary, Poland, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. The foreign ministers of five other applicant countries, namely Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria, will also be present at the commencement accession process.

    The accession process will be inaugurated with an address by the Britain-held EU Presidency, followed by the Commission, in the presence of the ministers of all eleven applicant countries.

    [22] INFLATION IN ROMANIA WAS 7,2% IN MARCH

    Inflation in Romania was 7,2% in March, compared to 4,9% in February, according to the latest data provided by the Statistics Agency. It should be noted that the economists were expecting a monthly inflation rate of 10% as a result of the increases in the consumer goods prices and also because of the VAT increase from 18% to 22%.

    Based on the present course of the inflation rate, the annual index is around 109% compared to 131,9% last January. The state budget includes a prediction placing inflation at 45%.

    [23] REPRESENTATIVES OF EUROPEAN JOURNALISTS' ASSOCIATIONS MEET IN ATHENS

    The safeguarding of stability and good neighboring relations among the different peoples in the Balkans is the main issue discussed in the meeting of the European Journalists' Associations representatives that opened in Athens today and will end tomorrow.

    Among the journalists' associations that participate in the meeting are those from Albania, Bulgaria, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, FYROM, Croatia, Romania, Turkey, Spain, Italy and Britain.

    An observer status is shared by the United States, Russia, Cyprus and Moldavia as well as by the representatives of the International Federation of Journalists and the Journalists without Borders organization. The meeting is being held within the framework of the community initiative ROYAUMONT with the backing of the Greek ministry of press.

    The meeting aims at the adoption of a common declaration of principles for the free expression and information dissemination as well as for the undertaking of activities for the organization of a mutual information network.

    [24] "ECONOMIST" MAGAZINE TO HOLD ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION IN GREECE

    The London-based "Economist" magazine will organize its second roundtable discussion with the Greek government on April 8- 9, titled "Welcoming a New Business Era" and will feature an address by the European Commission President Jacques Santer.

    The conference is to focus on issues concerning the Greek economy in light of the economic and monetary union, the role of the euro in the global economy and the contribution of the Olympic Games towards the overall development of Greece. Issues regarding NA TO enlargement and its repercussions onto Greece will also be examined.

    The Economist's conference will also be addressed by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Juan Antonio Samaranch, former US Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, main opposition New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis, other party leaders, ministers, bank governors, members of the diplomatic corps and businessmen.

    [25] US ROLE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE

    US assistant deputy minister for European Affairs Eileen Malloy, during a speech she delivered at the 5th business and economic forum titled "Greece and the Balkans: An Emerging Market in South- Eastern Europe", that takes place in Thessaloniki underlined the role which the United States wish to play in establishing democratic institutions and stability in SE Europe.

    Mrs Malloy also referred to the economic sanctions the US applied against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia due to conflicts in Kosovo stressing that the United States resorted to sanctions in order to handle objectionable conduct from insolent countries.

    Mrs Malloy expressed her belief that instability in Kosovo generated danger for the wider Balkan area and undermined EU's policy.

    [26] TURKEY RANKS HIGH AT IMPRISONING JOURNALISTS

    Turkey ranks very high internationally at imprisoning journalists, according to the annual report issued by the International Committee for the Protection of Journalists.

    As this year is the 50th anniversary since the Declaration of Human Rights, 129 cases of journalists being in prison have been registered in 24 countries. 29 of these journalists are in Turkish prisons.

    In 1996, there have been 185 cases of imprisoned journalists in 24 countries, 78 of whom in Turkey.

    Facts show that, within 1997, at least 37 journalists were discharged from turkish jails.


    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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