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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 97-07-07
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
BRIEF GREEK NEWS BULLETIN BY MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY
Thessaloniki, July 7, 1997
NEWS IN DETAIL
 THESSALONIKI'S SEIH SOU FOREST IS BURNING, FIRE DIFFICULT TO CONTAIN
Thessaloniki, July 7 (MPA)One of Thessaloniki's largest sources of oxygen, the Seih Sou forest, continues to burn since early yesterday evening, although the city's fire-fighters had managed earlier to contain the flames which at times came dangerously close to inhabited areas, aided by strong northern winds.
Five planes and one helicopter are being used to pour water on the burning trees but the winds whose direction are constantly changing are making this an impossible feat. Up to now, 15,000 stremmata of forest area have turned to ashes, according to official estimates.
The Minister of Agriculture Stefanos Tzoumakas assessed that the fire may be an act of arson. When told of the outcry that the fire fighting aeroplanes did not participate in the first attempts to put out the fire, Mr. Tzoumakas admitted that planning for only two such aeroplanes to be stationed in Thessaloniki was insufficient for such event, since their arrival was actually scheduled for the following week.
The Minister Of Macedonia-Thrace Philippos Petsalnikos also admitted that there was indeed a delay in activating these planes, but he stressed that the existing laws will be strictly enforced so that the burned area will not be bulldozed ad at the same time the State is to embark on flood prevention measures.
 NATO SUMMIT BEGINS TOMORROW IN MADRID
Athens, July 7 (MPA)Greece's Premier Kostas Simitis is to depart Athens for Madrid today, in order to participate at the NATO Summit which will be held at the Spanish capital tomorrow and Wednesday. Greece is to support the Balkan countries' accession to NATO, such as Romania, Bulgaria and Slovania, while it will also overall aim for a clause that will leave room for the accession of other Balkan countries in the future. Currently, there is a proposal for the establishment of four NATO headquarters in Greece, Turkey, Spain and Italy.
 CLERIDES-DENKTASH DIRECT TALKS ON CYPRUS TO BEGIN ON WEDNESDAY
New York, July 7 (MPA)The direct talks between the President of Cyprus Glafkos Clerides and the leader of the Turkish-Cypriots Rauf Denktash are to begin in New York on Wednesday, under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.
The talks are to be continued during August in Switzerland, while the determining factor for a US initiative on the Cyprus issue will be Cyprus's presidential elections to be held the following spring.
US State Department has confirmed Washington's support to the Clerides-Denktash direct talks on Cyprus.
Through a recently-released statement, the US State Department calls on the two sides and all the interested parties to work hard to start a process that will bridge the differences separating them, while it is stressed that the basic goal of this process remains a comprehensive solution that will establish a two- zone, two-community federation in Cyprus.
The United States also express the hope that the New York meeting will serve as a basis for further negotiations during this year and the following one, while the statement also mentions that US special envoy Richard Holbrooke will have private and separate meetings with the two leaders before the opening of the talks.
US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns stressed that his country wants to offer every possible support to the UN for the promotion of a good basis for those talks.
 GREEK DEPUTY FM. CRITICISES TURKEY'S BULENT ECEVIT
Athens, July 7 (MPA)Greece's deputy Foreign Minster Yiannos Kranidiotis has criticised the vice-[president of the Turkish government Bulent Ecevit, during an interview the Greek official gave to a radio station in Athens.
Mr. Kranidiotis stated that Mr. Bulent undermines the efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue through his statements that the occupation forces stationed on the island must be fortified.
Moreover, the Greek deputy FM pointed out that he will refrain from expressing any optimism on the result of the direct talks to be held between the President of Cyprus Glafkos Clerides and the leader of the Turkish-Cypriots Rauf Denktash in New York on Wednesday, albeit adding that he is neither pessimistic.
Commenting on the statements of German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, who said that Cyprus cannot accede to the European Union without having first resolved the Cypriot issue, Mr. Kranidiotis warned that Greece will obstruct every expansion of the EU if it should not include Cyprus.
 SOCIALIST PARTY GAINS ALBANIA'S SECOND ROUND OF ELECTIONS
Tirana, July 7 (MPA)Albania's Socialist Party has re-confirmed its victory at the country's second round of the parliamentary elections, which was held yesterday, having won a 2/3 majority in Parliament, along with its allies.
According to up to date reports, the Socialist and Social- Democrats parties, which ran on a joint ballot in both rounds, have gathered 101 seats. The Democratic Alliance which was slow to enter the government coalition, has won two seats, one with its party's president Neritan Ceka and the other on the state ballot.
The Human Rights Party has won four seats appears to have won two more seats in the House.
In the Opposition, the Democratic Party has earned eight more seats and ten seats from the state ballot, thereby raising its number of deputies in Parliament to 28.
 MEETING ON GREEK BUSINESS VENTURES IN THE BALKANS TO BE HELD THURSDAY
Thessaloniki, July 7 (MPA)Opportunities for the State to strengthen and encourage Greek businessmen to invest in countries of Southeastern Europe are to be examined in a meeting held by representatives of Greek Industries (SEV), approximately 40 bankers and other businessmen and the Greek Ministers of Development and Foreign Affairs, on Thursday in Thessaloniki.
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/