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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 97-07-22
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 22, 1997
NEWS IN DETAIL
 PAN-MACEDONIAN ASSOCIATIONS CONFERENCE CONTINUES FOR A THIRD DAY
Thessaloniki, July 22 (MPA)The Seventh World Conference of the Pan-Macedonian Associations continues in Thessaloniki today for a third day.
The President of the US-Canada Association stated that the Conference is also an opportunity to forward a message to the President of FYROM Kiro Gligorov that "the history of a peoples cannot be stolen and a national conscience cannot be baptised or imposed."
Participants at the regional conference of the Pan-Macedonian Association of Europe stressed that the best promotion of Greece's national issues could be performed by the philhellenes. Yesterday, one such German person passed out cards that displayed the Greek heritage of Macedonia. A.F.
 MACEDONIA-THRACE MINISTER TRAVELS TO KASTORIA TO EXAMINE SITUATION
Kastoria, July 22 (MPA)The Minister of Macedonia-Thrace is currently visiting the area of Kastoria, following the measures announced by the government regarding the trouble that has been stirred by Albanian gangs who are active in the region.
Along with the Prefect of Kastoria, Mr. Petsalnikos will visit the town of Dipotamia where five Greek farmers were kidnapped two days ago by an Albanian gang. They were freed after the Greek government negotiated their release with the Albanian government.
Nevertheless, the town's residents are alarmed and ask the Greek state to draw measures that will ensure their safety and the protection of their property. A.F.
 CYPRUS TO SEEK RECOURSE THROUGH UN OVER ECEVIT'S STATEMENTS
Nicosia, July 22 (MPA)The Cypriot government is to seek recourse through the United Nations and other international organisations over the threats hurled by Turkish Vice-President Bulent Ecevit and the leader of the Turkish-Cypriots Rauf Denktash, who stated that occupied Cyprus should be annexed to Turkey.
Cyprus' permanent representqtive to the UN will ask the international organisation to brief the members of the general assembly over the content of the threats, the presence of Turkish government officials at the occupied part of the island and the presence of Turkish military ships at the port of Derynia. Yesterday, US State Department spokesperson Nicholas Burns appeared guarded in regards to the statements made by Msgrs. Ecevit and Denktash.
He did say that the State Department wil examine the statements and added that the United States will support the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan during the second round of direct talks to be held in August at Geneva. A.F.
 BRITISH FM: RESOLVE CYPRUS ISSUE PRIOR TO THE ISLAND'S ACCESSION TO THE EU
Nicosia, July 22 (MPA)The President of the Cypriot Parliament Spyros Kyprianou met in London with the British Foreign Minister Robin Cook who stated that it would be best to resolve the Cyprus issue prior to the island's accession to the European Union.
Referring to the threats hurled by the Turkish Vice-President Bulent Ecevit, who claimed that Cyprus' occupied part should be annexed to Turkey, Mr. Kyprianou stated that Britain is opposed to these threatening remarks and can carry out an important role regarding Cyprus' accession to the Community.
Meanwhile, a populous rally was held yesterday outside the Turkish Embassy in London, where the participants condemned the island's invasion. A.F.
 MAYOR OF FYROM'S TETOVO SPEAKS TO MPA ON CONFLICT OVER FLAG
Tetovo, July 22 (MPA)Tension is still simmering over the use of the Albanian flags in FYROM's cities of Tetovo and Gostivar, which are mostly populated by Albanians.
Speaking to the Macedonian Press Agency, the Mayor of Tetovo, Alidin Demiri, expressed his displeasure over the manner in which the city's Albanian community is treated and has given the country's authorities an ultimatum until the end of 1998 to grant the Albanian community the rights it claims.
The Mayor of Tetovo, FYROM's second-largest city, appeared determined not to cede his community's right to use its symbols, i,e, the flag, while he also warned that the next time conflict erupts between the local police and the Albanian community, he might not be able to serve as a buffer.
Moreover, Mr. Demiri announced that if by the end of next year the rights of the Albanians are not secured, then their political parties will demand a referendum in order to review their ties with FYROM, while he did not rule out the possibility that they might opt for political action similar to that taken by Kossovo's political parties, that is to abstain from official institutions and procedures.
Currently awaiting sentencing after having been tried by a local court on counts concerning the episodes of July 9, Mr. Demiri stated that "I may be incarcerated for charges that may not exist but which they can create. They don't want to punish me, they want to go after my 23,000 voters."
When asked to summarize what happened in Gostivar on July 9, when mere hours after the Assembly's relevant decision the authorities of FYROM took down the flag of Albania which was hoisted on the masts before the Tetovo and Gostivar Assemblies, Mr. Demiri said that "the municipalities of Tetovo and Gostivar, as well as the Ministry of the Interior, belong to the same country, but they attacked us as if we were a foreign nation. And they did this because the two municipalities began forming institutions for the rights of the Albanians. They did this in order to intimidate us."
The Mayor of Gostivar Rufi Osmani is currently in jail on chargers concerning July 9's episodes. Three persons were killed then, while tens of others were injured.
Mr. Demiri explained that the two cities were managed by Albanian majorities, while the symbols and languages used were of both peoples.
"However, the other side pressured us to abandon these rights. The conflict stemmed from the ideology and ended with the police. In March, the nationalists held rallies in Skopje where they were demanding gas chambers for the Albanians," he stated, adding "I should stress that the two-headed eagle flag is not Albania's flag, it is the symbol of the Albanian peoples which existed prior to the formation of the Albanian nation.
"We have neither the ability nor the order to change our symbol. I should remind you that in 1902, when this country didn't exist, they called on us to participate in the revolution against the Turks and they did the same in 1944. The problem is not the flags, but the co-habitation with specific terms: the language, the symbols, the schools." A.F.
 EXPLOSION ROCKS DOWNTOWN TIRANA, DYNAMITE WAS HIDDEN NEAR MINISTRY
Tirana, July 22 (MPA)A strong explosion rocked downtown Tirana this morning, when a large amount of dynamite placed in a building near the Defense Ministry's headquarters went off, causing extensive material damages.
According to reports, there may be three persons injured. Investigations are currently underway. A.F.
 ALBANIA'S NEW PARLIAMENT TO CONVENE TOMORROW
Tirana, July 22 (MPA)The Greek contingent assigned to Albania as part of the eight- naiton peacekeeping force code-named "Alba" will begin its return home today, a process to be completed by August 12.
Meanwhile, following a mandate issued by President Sali Berisha, the country's new parliament will convene tomorrow. The Democratic Party has stated through its representative that it will not participate in the Assembly's inaugurating session. A.F.
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/