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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2001-06-12

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.


MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH
Thessaloniki, June 12, 2001

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS TITLES
  • [Á] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [01] PM: STATE NO SOCIAL POLICY HAVEN, BUT IT'S TRYING
  • [02] ND HONORARY PRESIDENT: PRIME MINISTER IS PITIFUL
  • [03] GLIGOROV CLAIMS GREECE OFFERED BRIBE FOR NAME
  • [04] GLIGOROV: ATHENS DASHED NAME RECOGNITION HOPE
  • [05] BALKAN REGIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN N. GREECE
  • [06] EU GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL ALARMED FOR FYROM
  • [07] EU SHOULD TELL TURKEY: NO "A LA CARTE" EUROPE
  • [08] ATHENS WON'T DISCUSS NICE AGREEMENT REVISION
  • [09] THE GOALS OF THE GREEK-CANADIAN CONGRESS
  • [10] NO UNILATERAL GREEK INITIATIVE IN FYROM
  • [11] GAINS IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [12] SIMITIS WILL BE IN BRUSSELS TODAY
  • [13] EXTENSIVE POWER CUTS IN NORTHERN GREECE
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS
  • [14] GREECE LAST IN COMPUTERS, LEADER IN CELL PHONES
  • [15] TURKEY VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS
  • [16] GIORGOS DALARAS: CONCERT IN ALBANIA
  • [17] SPYROS SIMITIS: ETHICS NATIONAL COUNCIL CHAIRMAN IN GERMANY
  • [18] THE US SERB LAWYERS ASSOCIATION HONORED SAE'S PRESIDENT

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] PM: STATE NO SOCIAL POLICY HAVEN, BUT IT'S TRYING

    Greece may not be a social policy haven, but at least the government is achieving considerable progress in the sector, Prime Minister Costas Simitis retorted in Parliament yesterday, in a riposte to lashing criticism delivered by the leader of the main opposition party of New Democracy Costas Karamanlis.

    According to Mr. Simitis, Greece is presently approximating the EU average in social expenditures, a result of the ruling PASOK party's "social state" policy.

    "The solution to the social security issue will be one found within the framework of a solid society, with security and prospects," Mr. Simitis stated.

    "We are a government of social peace, one that secures the people's interests and instills confidence in the workers."

    Furthermore, the Premier added that the government's social policy targets are being approached step-by-step, which has so far led to considerable progress.

    "From 1989 to 1993 (during ND's reign in government), liberalism dealt a serious blow to the social state," Mr. Simitis stated, adding that thanks to PASOK's policies Greece joined the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) without denting the social structure.

    [02] ND HONORARY PRESIDENT: PRIME MINISTER IS PITIFUL

    The Prime Minister (Costas Simitis) is pitiful, the honorary president of the main opposition party of New Democracy Constantine Mitsotakis stated yesterday, commenting on the Premier's House speech on social policy and health, further stating that Mr. Simitis failed to actually propose specific measures concerning the issue of social security.

    In a parliamentary discussion on social security and health, initiated by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), the president of ND Costas Karamanlis also lashed out against the Premier, accusing him of trying to enforce an unreliable and cruel program.

    "You are not a prime minister of reforms," Mr. Karamanlis said, "you are the prime minister of taxes, unemployment, poverty and inequalities and the citizens are aware of this.

    "You divide the Greeks, while we unite them. This is our difference," he added.

    KKE Secretary General Aleka Papariga accused the ruling PASOK of enforcing a policy which aggravates poverty and deepens class contrasts and which comes afterwards to give crumbs as charity.

    [03] GLIGOROV CLAIMS GREECE OFFERED BRIBE FOR NAME

    The recently published memoirs of FYROM's former president Kiro Gligorov, the Greek edition of which he presented in Athens yesterday, contain claims that in May 1992 a Greek intelligence agent made persistent financial offers in an effort to make him agree to forsake the term "Macedonia" from his country's name.

    The response of Greece's premier at the time, presently honorary president of the main opposition party of New Democracy, Constantine Mitsotakis, was immediate and to the point last night: "The specific reference lacks any seriousness", he said, adding that the allegation is "irrational and crude."

    At the same, Greece's then-foreign minister Michalis Papaconstantinou stated that Greece's policy on the FYROM issue has been justified.

    "We helped in the existence of this state, north of Greece, at a time when everyone wanted to destroy it. Now we all understand that it must exist," he said.

    [04] GLIGOROV: ATHENS DASHED NAME RECOGNITION HOPE

    After presenting the Greek edition of his published memoirs in Athens last night, former president of FYROM Kiro Gligorov, stated that, during his term, he believed Greece would be the first country to recognize his state.

    In an interview with "Flash" radio station, Mr. Gligorov said that "I believed that (Athens) would understand that, through the creation of our state, Greece's security zone would automatically be expanded by 250 kilometers, I thought Greece would understand its strategic interests. Unfortunately, this did not happen and, instead, a problem was created regarding the name of our country, the ‘Republic of Macedonia', " he said.

    "It was maintained that the only ones who have a right to this name are the Greeks. It was maintained that through this means we wanted to usurp a section of their history and culture," he said, adding "of course, I argued that this is wrong, since we have our one culture and language. We have added into our Constitution that we have no designs on any neighboring country, nor do we wish to get involved in the neighboring countries' domestic issues. In vain; this didn't help either."

    Mr. Gligorov further added that the shift in climate took place when Greece realized that the economic embargo it has imposed on FYROM was detrimental to both countries and agreed to re-establish economic ties with FYROM.

    Greece presently ranks third in economic trade with FYROM, while it tops the country's foreign investors list.

    "We have to continue on this path" he said, adding that "I believe logic will prevail and the problem will be resolved through mutual respect."

    As for the name issue, Mr. Gligorov refuted reports that the name "Upper Macedonia" is to be the key to the pending problem, stating instead that he has a solution of his own, i.e. a dual name:

    "Greece should agree in the United Nations talks that we are called ‘Republic of Macedonia' in our international relations. As far as the name Greece would use, we know that we can't convince you."

    Athens has been at odds with Skopje for years over the issue of FYROM's name, insisting that the word ‘Macedonia' should not be included in the name of the former Yugoslav republic since it implies expansionist designs against Greece's own large northern province known by that same name (Macedonia) since antiquity, as well as being a historical misrepresentation.

    However, relations between Greece and FYROM have improved dramatically since the two countries signed an interim agreement in New York in September 1995, under the UN's auspices. Under the terms of that agreement, which expires in September 2002, Athens and Skopje are to proceed with discussions to find a mutually acceptable solution for the name issue.

    In his memoirs, Mr. Gligorov claims that in May 1992 a Greek intelligence agent made persistent financial offers in an effort to make him agree to forsake the term "Macedonia" from his country's name.

    The contentious claim, noted in page 293 of the book, asserts that Greek Intelligence Services attempted to exert pressure on Mr. Gligorov to forsake the term "Macedonia" from his country's name.

    He also alleges that the intelligence officers offered him one million dollars, to be deposited in any bank in the world.

    The response of Greece's premier at the time, presently honorary president of the main opposition party of New Democracy, Constantine Mitsotakis, was immediate and to the point last night: "The specific reference lacks any seriousness", he said, adding that the allegation is "irrational and crude."

    [05] BALKAN REGIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN N. GREECE

    The first day of a general assembly of Balkan regions began in Northern Greece's port city of Kavala, yesterday, where the participants are expected to decide on the creation of a Balkan Committee, in the framework of the union of Europe's coastal regions, with the purpose of achieving the best possible cooperation between Balkan regions.

    The two-day meeting is attended by about 100 representatives from 33 regions. Also participating are representatives from various EU institutional agencies, as well as agencies dealing with Balkan issues. Countries participating include Italy, Albania, Turkey, Croatia, Greece and Romania.

    [06] EU GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL ALARMED FOR FYROM

    The European Union's General Affairs Council, which convened in Luxembourg yesterday, expressed its rising concern over the escalating crisis in FYROM, while strongly condemning the action of Albanian extremists in the Balkan state.

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou said that domestic negotiatins are to soon get underway among the representatives of the Slav community and those of the Albanian minority participating in the FYROM government.

    The council supported the tension-reducing plan submitted by FYROM President Boris Trajkovski, while Greece's proposal of a specific timetable for the completion of negotiations was also accepted.

    The ministers also adopted a Greek proposal on inviting FYROM Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski to visit Luxembourg in two weeks, when the EU's council of ministers will meet again, to brief them on the results of negotiations in his country to resolve the issue. At the same time, the Council is concerned over the implementation of a post-negotiations agreement, while there are reports that the Albanian extremists may be funded by money collected by Albanian expatriates.

    The Council adopted Mr. Papandreou's proposal that a list of those people should be made by the European Union to bar their entry into EU countries, as they may be involved in illegal activities such as arms sales, money laundering and drug trafficking.

    [07] EU SHOULD TELL TURKEY: NO "A LA CARTE" EUROPE

    The European Union should tell Turkey there's no a la carte Europe, and that is has to eat the food there is, outspoken (and often veracious) former foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos stated in reference to the said country's status of candidate status for EU accession.

    Implying that Turkey wants to pick and choose among the EU's principles, i.e. no to human rights and yes to loans, Mr. Pangalos also added that Ankara is not really interested in gaining accession to the EU, but, rather, merely wants to have the scepter of "candidacy" and use it at will.

    In an interview with the Athens radio station "Flash", Mr. Pangalos characterized Turkey as the "spoiled child" within the new order of things.

    [08] ATHENS WON'T DISCUSS NICE AGREEMENT REVISION

    Greece will not discuss solutions that revise the Nice agreement and infringe on its sovereign rights, Foreign Minister George Papandreou told his EU counterparts at the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg yesterday.

    Referring to Turkey's demands to participate in the EU's security and defense decision-making process, which demands have caused a lockjam in EU-NATO cooperation, Mr. Papandreou said that Greece would accept a solution, provided that it does not infringe on its national sovereign rights, or those of a candidate EU- member, such as Cyprus.

    Turkey has been blocking the automatic access of EU's security and defense system to NATO's infrastructures, demanding equal access to the Union's decision making process on military issues.

    Mr. Papandreou further stressed that the issue is not a bilateral one between Greece and Turkey, but it would evolve into one, should the Greece interests be infringed upon.

    [09] THE GOALS OF THE GREEK-CANADIAN CONGRESS

    The renewal and full development of the Greek-Canadian Congress to become a real representation umbrella for the Greeks in Canada is the top priority set by the organization's new presiding board.

    The above were stated to MPA by Greek-Canadian Congress president Dimitris Sidiropoulos clarifying that the Congress should become an established and widely respected institution in Canada.

    Mr. Sidiropoulos also pointed out the notable action undertaken by the Greek communities in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver that should enjoy greater support to stand out in Canada's multi-cultural society.

    [10] NO UNILATERAL GREEK INITIATIVE IN FYROM

    The Greek government will not undertake any unilateral initiative concerning the deployment of a military force in FYROM, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas and added that Greece will decide on its stance in case an international initiative is undertaken in the country.

    Mr. Reppas pointed out that the likelihood of a deployment of a multi-national military force in FYROM is only being considered as a thought in international organizations and therefore, it would be premature to say anything else.

    Called to comment on the allegations made by former FYROM president Kiro Gligorov concerning the alleged money offer made to him by the then Greek prime minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis in order to accept another name for his country, Mr. Reppas referred to the statement made by Mr. Mitsotakis saying that the former prime minister's response is more than sufficient.

    Mr. Reppas also stated that the crisis in FYROM and the overall situation in the Balkans will dominate in the NATO summit meeting in Brussels and the EU summit meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden.

    Right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy honorary president Konstantinos Mitsotakis characterized as unacceptable the allegations made by Mr. Gligorov in his book, concerning the alleged attempt made in May 1992 by the Greek secret services to buy him out by offering to him the sum of $1 million aimed at persuading him to remove the term "Macedonia" from his country's name.

    [11] GAINS IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Small gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +0.39% at 2.887,92 points, while the volume of transactions was 145.27 million Euro or 49.5 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today, 94 recorded gains and 233 had losses, while the value of 54 stocks remained stable.

    [12] SIMITIS WILL BE IN BRUSSELS TODAY

    Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis will leave for Brussels today to attend the NATO Summit meeting. A meeting was held in Athens this morning, presided over by prime minister Kostas Simitis, to prepare the Greek positions in the Brussels NATO summit and the EU summit meeting that will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden.

    In statements he made after the meeting, foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou referred to the developments in FYROM and stated that if diplomatic consultations do not move ahead the international community is possible to be called to contribute even militarily in order to preserve the integrity of FYROM.

    [13] EXTENSIVE POWER CUTS IN NORTHERN GREECE

    Extensive power cuts were recorded in Thessaloniki and a big part of northern Greece in the early afternoon hours today. The power cuts were the result of an explosion in a transformer at the Public Power Company sub-station in the region of Oreokastro, near Thessaloniki.

    A large fire broke out causing damages and the fire-fighters had a hard time in their effort to approach the scene because of the high temperatures and the smoke. According to PPC officials, the explosion was the result of overheating attributed to the heatwave recorded in Greece.

    Power cuts were recorded in different parts of Thessaloniki and in the north and northeastern cities of Serres, Kavala and Kilkis, as well as in the regions of Chalkidiki and Thrace.

    For the record, the same sub-station was responsible for the black-out recorded in Thessaloniki and in other regions of northern Greece a few months ago.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [14] GREECE LAST IN COMPUTERS, LEADER IN CELL PHONES

    Greece continues to rank last among the European Union member- states in terms of information technology use, since a mere six out ten Greeks owned a computer in 1999, but the use of cell phones is growing at galloping rates throughout the country, presenting an almost eighty-percent increase within the span of a decade.

    According to EU data, the EU's average growth of cell phone use amounted to 60.5% between 1990-2000, a rate that Greece easily surpasses with its 79.8 percent.

    Although computer ownership within the EU is rising at an annual rate of ten percent, only 1.5% of Greeks had a computer at home last year, at a time when the EU average in 3.5 percent.

    Probably as a consequence, a mere 1.2 percent of Greeks over the age of 15 have access to the Internet, while the EU average is slightly double at 2.8 percent.

    [15] TURKEY VIOLATES HUMAN RIGHTS

    Greek right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy Euro- deputy Christos Zacharakis with a question to the European Union Council of Ministers condemned the Turkish foreign ministry decision to forbid European citizens of Assyrian and Syrian origin to visit the homes of their ancestors and their relatives in southern Turkey.

    Mr. Zacharakis pointed out that Ankara is violating fundamental human rights with a legislative regulation it implements, while at the same time, it continues the systematic destruction of the Assyrian and Syrian cultural heritage by destroying monasteries and churches turning them into mosques and stables.

    [16] GIORGOS DALARAS: CONCERT IN ALBANIA

    Greek singer Giorgos Dalaras will give a free concert for the ethnic Greeks in Albania and the Albanian people in general, in the city of Ghirokastra on June 16 at the invitation of the Greek consulate.

    The concert will be held in the city's Medieval Castle which has a panoramic view of the "Stone City" and the valley of Dropolis.

    It is the first visit to Albania by Giorgos Dalaras and his arrival to the country can be interpreted as a move of support and solidarity by the Greek people toward the ethnic Greeks in Albania.

    [17] SPYROS SIMITIS: ETHICS NATIONAL COUNCIL CHAIRMAN IN GERMANY

    .......Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis' brother, Spyros, who is a Frankfurt University professor, and was authorized in the past by the state of Hessen to be responsible for personal data issues in Germany, while he was also a member of the European Ethics Committee, was elected president of Germany's Ethics National Council.

    The founding meeting of the 25member council, made up of personalities from science, politics and society, was held in Berlin on June 8 in the presence of German chancellor Gerhard Schroder.

    The German chancellor stated that the main responsibility of the Ethics National Council is the well-informed public opinion because a sufficiently informed society that can openly discuss the future options is in a position to make mature decisions on future issues such as, the use of biotechnology and genetics.

    [18] THE US SERB LAWYERS ASSOCIATION HONORED SAE'S PRESIDENT

    The Serb Lawyers Association in the United States honored World Council of Hellenes Abroad, SAE, president Andrew Athens with the Felman 2001 prize which is awarded by the association to individuals with outstanding world contribution.

    The newly elected president of the association Mr. Louis Milicich honored Mr. Athens for his international charity programs, like the medical program for the Greeks in the former Soviet Union and for his great friendship with the Serb people. He also recognized Mr. Athens' role as an important adviser of the Serb community within the framework of its effort to understand and cooperate with the political system in Washington.


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