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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 98-03-31

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

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH

Thessaloniki, March 31, 1998


NEWS IN ENGLISH

[A] NATIONAL NEWS

[B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS


TITLES

[A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] O.A. EMPLOYEES REACT TO DRAFTBILL TABLED BEFORE TALKS

  • [02] SE EUROPE ECONOMY FORUM CONTINUES TODAY IN THESSALONIKI

  • [03] US AMBASSADOR ADDRESSES THESSALONIKI'S BUSINESS FORUM

  • [04] US AMBASSADOR'S SLIP OF THE TONGUE CAUSES A STIR

  • [05] NATIONAL DEFENSE MINISTER ON OFFICIAL VISIT TO RUSSIA

  • [06] TURKISH TYCOON ADDRESSES BUSINESS FORUM IN THESSALONIKI

  • [07] GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER ON CYPRUS'S EU ACCESSION

  • [08] YUGOSLAV DEPUTY PM ADDRESSES THESSALONIKI'S FORUM

  • [09] YES TO NUCLEAR ENERGY, BUT ONLY THROUGH REGULATIONS

  • [10] THE INTER-BANK COOPERATION IN THE BALKANS MUST BE STRENGTHENED

  • [11] TURKEY IS NEGATIVE TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A SE EUROPE STOCK EXCHANGE IN THESSALONIKI

  • [12] PAPANTONIOU IS OPTIMISTIC REGARDING THE ECONOMY

  • [13] V. PAPANDREOU: BALKAN ENERGY FORUM

  • [14] THE US AMBASSADOR VISITED THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IN THESSALONIKI


  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [15] TALKS FOR CYPRUS'S ACCESSION TO THE EU ESSENTIALLY START TODAY

  • [16] BRITISH FM ENDORSES CYRPUS'S ACCESSION TO EU

  • [17] WASHINGTON OPPOSED TO INSTALLATION OF S-300 IN CYPRUS

  • [18] CLANDESTINE ALBANIAN ARMY WAS DISCOVERED IN FYROM BY A SERB NEWSPAPER

  • [19] ALBANIA IS MAKING STRONG EFFORTS TO ENTER THE MARKET ECONOMY

  • [20] GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER COMMENTS ON CYPRUS' ACCESSION TO EU

  • [21] CYPRIOT FM COMMENTS ON ISLAND'S ACCESSION TO THE EU

  • [22] TSOCHATZOPOULOS MET WITH PRESIDENT YELTSIN


  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] O.A. EMPLOYEES REACT TO DRAFTBILL TABLED BEFORE TALKS

    The Minister of Transport and Communications Tassos Mantelis tabled yesterday a draftbill in Parliament concerning the national air carrier's (Olympic Airways) restructuring and future development, which provoked the airline's president and managing director Theodoros Tsakiridis to submit his resignation in protest to the tabled draftbill.

    The draftbill foresees a freezing of salaries at 1997 levels until 2000, as well as the abolition of a lodging allowance of 70,000 drachmas to ground staff.

    Main opposition party spokesperson New Democracy's Aris Spiliotopoulos stated that "the way in which OA's management was forced to resignation reveals the government's intentions, which followed an irrational policy."

    He also called for the resignation of Mr. Mantelis. OA employees are to gather outside Parliament today in protest to the draftbill while the general confederation of Greek Labor has called for a three-hour work stoppage in all the state-owned enterprises.

    [02] SE EUROPE ECONOMY FORUM CONTINUES TODAY IN THESSALONIKI

    The two-day forum on business and economic development in the Balkan region, continues in Thessaloniki 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. Yesterday, the United States ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns was also present at the forum where he was a keynote speaker. Today's session will close with an address given by the National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou.

    Today's speakers include the Ministers of Development Vaso Papandreou, Merchant Marine Stavros Soumakis, the undersecretary of Finance Nikos Christodoulakis, a number of Balkan ministers, the Secretary-general of the Greek Tourism Organization and the President of the Olympic Games Organizing Committee "Athens 2004" Stratis Stratigis.

    Honorary speaker at today's luncheon will be the deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria and Industry Minister Alexander Boshkov.

    [03] US AMBASSADOR ADDRESSES THESSALONIKI'S BUSINESS FORUM

    The United States Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns was the keynote speaker yesterday at the opening of 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".

    Mr. Burns blamed Greek bureaucratic red tape, inflexible labor laws and bomb attacks against foreign firms for the unenthusiastic American investment in Greece.

    Nevertheless, the American diplomat saluted Greece's leading role in the Balkans, one that has "exploited historic opportunities in the Balkans with good results." He also referred to the port of Thessaloniki, saying that the government's announcement of its intent to privatize the port is a "move in the right direction. "

    The US Ambassador also referred at length to the rampant copyright violations of foreign movies and music, as well as publishing firms, causing a loss of US$117 million to American companies last year alone.

    Mr. Burns also stated that a climate of political stability must prevail in order to enable US firms to invest in Greece.

    "Over past months five American firms in Greece sustained bomb attacks without any arrests being made. "I fear that if American and other foreign firms do not believe that authorities have both the ability and the will to protect foreign companies, investing confidence will be undermined. Foreign firms will not be established in your country unless security conditions are improved," he said.

    [04] US AMBASSADOR'S SLIP OF THE TONGUE CAUSES A STIR

    Addressing 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 United States Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns referred to the residents of FYROM as "Macedonians", and caused a stir in the room where Greek officials made no effort of hiding their displeasure.

    After the event, the US Consulate in Thessaloniki issued a clarification-statement wherein it explained that Ambassador Burns used the word "Macedonians" by mistake, adding that it does not constitute a certain change in US policy, whose government "typically and officially refers to FYROM with the temporary name with which the country was accepted at the United Nations."

    [05] NATIONAL DEFENSE MINISTER ON OFFICIAL VISIT TO RUSSIA

    The Minister of National Defense Akis Tsoctzopoulos embarked on a three-day, official visit to Russia today, where he is scheduled to meet with Russian President Boris Yeltsin at noon and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexiy II.

    Tomorrow, after laying a wreath at the Kremlin, the Minister will meet with the President of the Russian Duma, G. Selesniov, and will also visit the MIG aircraft factory.

    On Thursday, he will meet the secretary of the Russian Security Council Kokoshin.

    [06] TURKISH TYCOON ADDRESSES BUSINESS FORUM IN THESSALONIKI

    Turkish tycoon Rahmi Koc addressed the Thessaloniki-held business forum on business and economic development in the Balkan region, titled "Thessaloniki Forum: Greece and the Balkans: An Emerging Market in South-eastern Europe" yesterday, where he saluted Greek-Turkish friendship and business cooperation.

    Mr. Koc said that a pipeline project to transport oil and natural gas from the ex-Soviet Union through Turkey to western markets would have a positive impact on Greece by offering an alternative route for energy supplies.

    He further added that Greece and Turkey were setting an example to other Balkan states in economic growth and market adjustment to western European standards, and urged both countries to put aside their political differences.

    [07] GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER ON CYPRUS'S EU ACCESSION

    Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, in Brussels yesterday where he attended the opening of talks for Cyprus's accession to the European Union, stated both the Greek and the Cypriot governments have the same views in regards to the installation of the Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles to the island.

    Mr. Pangalos stated that the discussions he held during his recent visit to the United States were known to the Cypriot government, and that the views he expressed to US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright regarding the island's demilitarization were fully in accordance with the framework of Cypriot positions.

    Commenting on his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem's recent statements and visit -conducted yesterday- to the Turkish-occupied northern part of Cyprus, Mr. Pangalos noted that perhaps their timing had not been the best.

    As for Turkey's relations with the EU, Mr. Pangalos said that there was currently a gap of views on what exactly the '15' had proposed to that country at the Luxembourg summit last December.

    [08] YUGOSLAV DEPUTY PM ADDRESSES THESSALONIKI'S FORUM

    The Deputy Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Danko Junic addressed the Thessaloniki-held business forum on business and economic development in the Balkan region, titled "Thessaloniki Forum: Greece and the Balkans: An Emerging Market in South-eastern Europe" yesterday, where he outlined the burdens suffered by his country from the economic sanctions imposed by the international community.

    According to Mr. Junic, the economic damage from the embargoes amounted to six billion dollars over the past six years, however this figure increases significantly when sanctions over the following five years were taken into account due to Belgrade's inability to guarantee loans or credits.

    He also added that the sanctions had an impact on education and health, while the ailing economic climate has brought on an increase in crime. Yugoslavia had recovered 60 per cent of the gross national product it had at the end of the 1980s, and per capita income was between 1,700-1,800 dollars, he said.

    "Without economic reforms there can be no development and without development the conditions for real democracy, freedom of expression and all the other factors considered the primary characteristics of contemporary democracies cannot exist," Mr. Junic said.

    "Without the cooperation of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - the third largest country in the region, cooperation in southeastern Europe cannot," he added.

    [09] YES TO NUCLEAR ENERGY, BUT ONLY THROUGH REGULATIONS

    One of the most renowned nuclear physicists in the United States, the MIT's Greek-American professor Elias Gyftopoulos, spoke to the Macedonian Press Agency on the advantages of nuclear energy and the importance of its regulated use.

    Referring to the issue of security of nuclear reactors, specifically the Chernobyl plant, Mr. Gyftopoulos stated that the overall security in nuclear plants is satisfactory, but differentiated his view over Chernobyl.

    "Chernobyl is an exception since it was the worst type of plant that could have been designed.

    "Not all Russian reactors are made like the ones in Chernobyl," he explained. "It's like a plane flying. If the plane's operator does not make use of the control systems, then the plane will crash. If the turbines stop, the plane will crash. The case of Chernobyl was much like that. It needed continuous watch, of both the operation and the conditions of the reactor's operation. For some reason. The workers (at Chernobyl) decided to experiment and overlook the regulation, which is what led to the accident."

    [10] THE INTER-BANK COOPERATION IN THE BALKANS MUST BE STRENGTHENED

    The main axes on which the inter-bank cooperation in the Balkans should be based are the increase of investments in sectors of exploitation of common Balkan advantages and the conveyance of experience on issues of monetary and currency exchange policy, stressed undersecretary of finance Mr. Christodoulakis in the 5th International Forum that is being held in Thessaloniki.

    Mr. Christodoulakis submitted a proposal for the materialization of an "Interreg" Balkan program, similar to the EU program under the same name, which will have as an exclusive goal the establishment of common infrastructures in the countries of south-eastern Europe.

    Deputy director of the Bank of Greece Mr. Karamouzis stressed the need for the Greek businessmen to adjust to the challenges of the future before more valuable time is lost and stated that very soon the bank will open branches in Belgrade, while two more branches will be opened in Albania.

    President of the Macedonia-Thrace Bank Spyridon Kouniakis suggested the inter-bank cooperation as an antidote to the difficulties faced by the Balkan financial and credit institutions. Managing director of American Bankers Associations Securities Association Larry Laroko referred to the establishment of inter-bank alliances and to the significant benefits they will bring and mentioned as an example the very profitable inter-state cooperation among the US banks.

    The banking system of Romania was presented by the vice- president of the Black Sea International Bank of Commerce Kostin Donoaika.

    [11] TURKEY IS NEGATIVE TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A SE EUROPE STOCK EXCHANGE IN THESSALONIKI

    The Turkish side has adopted a negative position toward the initiative promoted by Greek businessmen for the establishment of a Central Stock Exchange of SE Europe that will be based in Thessaloniki.

    Vice-president of the Stock Exchange in Istanbul Aril Seren in an interview to MPA stated that the establishment of such a Stock Exchange is not necessary as the Stock Exchange in Istanbul had promoted the idea since 1995 and played a leading role in the establishment of the Eurasia Stock Exchange Federation.

    Mr. Seren stated that the 22-member federation includes Stock Exchange from the Balkans and European countries outside the EU and also from central and western Asia and the Middle East. Mr. Seren stated that a precondition for the establishment of a Central Stock Exchange is for all the Stock Exchange in the region to fulfill the same standards and meet the international standards regarding regulations and technology.

    [12] PAPANTONIOU IS OPTIMISTIC REGARDING THE ECONOMY

    Minister of national economy and finance Yiannos Papantoniou stated that he is optimistic regarding the prospects of the economy after the devaluation of the drachma and the measures taken by the government, while he underlined that the target of 2,5% set for inflation can be achieved by the end of the year.

    Mr. Papantoniou met with representatives of production sectors in Thessaloniki and called on businessmen to hold the prices at low levels in order to keep inflation under control. On the issue of Olympic Airways, he said that when no agreement can be reached the Parliament should intervene.

    The minister appeared optimistic on the prospects of development for Thessaloniki and concluded that the large projects in the region move fast as do the initiatives in the Balkan countries.

    [13] V. PAPANDREOU: BALKAN ENERGY FORUM

    The intention of the Greek side to promote the establishment of a Balkan energy forum was mentioned today by minister of development Ms. Vaso Papandreou speaking in the 5th business meeting for the development of cooperation in south-eastern Europe that is being held in Thessaloniki.

    The goal of this action is to form a common energy strategy that will put to a better use the complimentary nature of the energy systems in the countries of the region for the benefit of each one of them. Also, the goal is to form the appropriate framework for the exchange of views and contacts at government and business level.

    This action is placed within the framework of the effort made at energy institutions level and at Balkan and EU governments level for the link up and operation of the inter-Balkan energy networks.

    [14] THE US AMBASSADOR VISITED THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IN THESSALONIKI

    President of Thessaloniki's Jewish community Andreas Sefiha expressed his strong interest in the Greek national issues and the protection of the Greek national rights during his meeting at the Jewish Community office this morning with US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns.

    Mr. Sefiha stated that the Jews in Greece are Greek citizens and added that he personally promotes and protects the national rights both in the problem of Cyprus and in issues concerning the Aegean. He also said that it is not right to mistake the Jews with the Israelis.

    The US ambassador stated that he was saddened when he was informed that the Jewish Community in Thessaloniki suffered the biggest losses in the Holocaust namely, 96% of its members, and stated that he would like to help for a greater representation of the Jews from Thessaloniki at the Museum of the Holocaust in Washington.


    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [15] TALKS FOR CYPRUS'S ACCESSION TO THE EU ESSENTIALLY START TODAY

    Yesterday's commencement of negotiations for Cyprus' accession to the European Union has been described as the most important development in the island republic's history after gaining independence in 1960.

    Greece's Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Yiannos Kranidiotis stated that no official EU document links the island's membership with a solution of its problem with the Turkish- Cypriots and stressed that Greece would resist any attempt to that effect.

    "If certain countries attempt to obstruct the accession of the island in case the Cyprus problem is not solved due to Turkey's intransigence, Greece will impede the European Union enlargement with the remaining countries," he said.

    [16] BRITISH FM ENDORSES CYRPUS'S ACCESSION TO EU

    The Foreign Minister of Britain and current European Union Council President Robin Cook has reiterated his support for Cyprus' EU candidacy, and expressed regret over the Turkish- Cypriot leadership's rejection of Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides' "reasonable and balanced" invitation to participate in accession talks.

    "Cyprus has every right to ask for its accession to the European Union, its candidacy is strong, and despite the fact that we would have preferred the Turkish-Cypriots to participate in the negotiations, the Nicosia government must not be punished for (Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf) Denktash's refusal to come to negotiations," he stated yesterday at a press conference.

    [17] WASHINGTON OPPOSED TO INSTALLATION OF S-300 IN CYPRUS

    US State Department spokesperson James Rubin has reiterated the Clinton Administration's opposition to the installation of the Russian-made anti-aircraft S-300 missiles to Cyprus. As well as the possibility that they may end up in Greece.

    Moreover, Mr. Rubin stated that he is not aware of any reports of a possible transfer of these missiles to Greece, albeit he added that if this were to happen it could have serious consequences and this should be made clear to all of the involved sides.

    [18] CLANDESTINE ALBANIAN ARMY WAS DISCOVERED IN FYROM BY A SERB NEWSPAPER

    Ten thousand members of the organization "Liberation Army of Kosovo" are in hideouts at the mountain of Sar Planina, at the north-western part of FYROM, a region bordering with Kosovo, according to the Belgrade newspaper "Politika".

    The newspaper goes as far as to publish a map of the north- western part of FYROM on which it points the areas where allegedly have gathered about 10.000 armed Albanians.

    "Politika" cites anonymous sources based on which, there are also storehouses in the region with over 10.000 shotguns, automatic weapons and canons which are being brought secretly to Kosovo.

    [19] ALBANIA IS MAKING STRONG EFFORTS TO ENTER THE MARKET ECONOMY

    Albanian minister of development and economic cooperation Ms. Ermelinta Meksi, speaking in the 5th International Forum on the emerging markets of SE Europe, stated that within the framework of her country's efforts to enter the market economy a draft program of public investments for the period of 1998-2001 will soon be submitted to Parliament.

    The program will concern the modernization of the institutional framework for the road, telecommunications and energy networks and also, the financial and credit system while it will give an emphasis to the small-medium sized businesses.

    Ms. Meksi emphasized that a re-construction office has been established in the country with an initial capital of 10 million dollars and issued an appeal to Greece and to international organizations to assist in the capital increase.

    Greater help from abroad was requested by FYROM's minister of development Abdimenaf Neziri in order for the country to succeed in its efforts for reform. Issuing an appeal to international investors, he pointed out that the new legislative framework in FYROM favors foreign investments when it comes to taxation and customs clearance. He also characterized as important the initiatives of international organizations, such as SECI, which are aimed at the development of the region and stressed that his country will contribute to these efforts.

    [20] GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER COMMENTS ON CYPRUS' ACCESSION TO EU

    German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel told a Frankfurt daily that he could "only imagine with difficulty a divided Cyprus becoming a member of the European Union."

    Mr. Kinkel added that "for this reason we must contribute to the resolution of the Cyprus problem and all interested parties must show goodwill and a desire to cooperate".

    The German minister also expressed his view that the Cyprus issue is a particularly difficult problem, and said that the EU's decision to start entry negotiations with Cyprus was due to "very strong pressure" exerted by Greece.

    "At any rate, the decision is now made, and we must now assume its responsibility. For this reason, we must now also break the deadlock between Greece and Turkey," he said.

    Meanwhile, German diplomatic sources described as "unproductive" the implementation of an 'association agreement' announced between Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot pseudo-state, also expressing the hope that "things will not be pushed to the extreme".

    A de jure incorporation of "northern Cyprus to Turkey would be a completely unacceptable action" for the international community, and particularly so for the European Union, and would clearly constitute a good reason for "further alienation," the same sources said.

    [21] CYPRIOT FM COMMENTS ON ISLAND'S ACCESSION TO THE EU

    The European Union embarks today on accession talks with Cyprus and five other countries from Eastern Europe, this being the first round of entrance negotiations.

    The talks with Cyprus, Poland, Estonia, Slovenia, Hungary and the Czech Republic are to center on these countries' ability to fulfill the economic and political criteria for accession to the Union. Cypriot Foreign Minister Yiannakis Kasoulides is expected to extend the Cypriot President's (Glakfos Clerides) regret over the refusal of his invitation to the Turkish-Cypriots for participation at the talks and to reiterate the invitation.

    Mr. Kasoulides stated that the island's accession is to be to the benefit of Cyprus' both communities.

    [22] TSOCHATZOPOULOS MET WITH PRESIDENT YELTSIN

    Greek minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who is on three-day visit to Moscow, met with Russian president Boris Yeltsin. Mr. Tsochatzopoulos will meet with his Russian counterpart Igor Sergeyev with whom he will discuss issues concerning the Greek-Russian relations. The Greek minister is also scheduled to visit Russian military installations.

    Based on Russian ministry of defense sources the ministers will focus on issues of European security while they will also discuss the situation in Kosovo.

    Russian military specialists maintain that the Greek-Russian cooperation is a tangible example of the multi-faceted cooperation Russia can have with NATO member-states.

    This is the third meeting of Mr. Tsochatzopoulos with the Russian minister of defense. The two previous ones were held in Belgium within the framework of the efforts for the cooperation between Russia and NATO.


    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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