|Friday, 15 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-02-06
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 GREEK PM IN NEW DELHI, MEETS INDIAN COUNTERPARTNew Delhi, 6 February 2001 (11:24 UTC+2)
Prime Minister Costas Simitis, who inaugurated the new Greek embassy in New Delhi, stated that there is vast room to expand political and economic ties between the two countries, while he also stated that the European Union has not granted the due attention to its relations with India.
Specifically, Mr. Simitis said that Greece is very interested in the development of information society, a sector in which India excels, whereas India is interested in agricultural technology, development of tourism and modern forms of energy.
Mr. Simitis is presently on an official-five-day visit to India, heading a delegation of government officials and private sector entrepreneurs who want to develop contacts in India with the prospect of investing in the country. The delegation includes Alternate Foreign Minister Elizabeth Papazoi, Development Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, Press and Media Minister Dimitris Reppas and National Economy Deputy Minister Yiannis Zapheiropoulos.
During a dinner hosted by Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his Greek counterpart, Mr. Simitis expressed his sorrow for the recent destructive earthquake that hit India and stressed that Greece fully supports India's bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
Among the issues discussed by the two prime ministers were bilateral relations, the Cyprus and Kashmir problems and India's relations with the EU.
Mr. Simitis also referred to Greece's efforts to promote democracy and stability in the Balkans, both as an EU member and bilaterally with countries of the region, which included Turkey.
However, he stated that "Greek-Turkish relations cannot go very far, if the present conditions on the island of Cyprus remain unchanged. Our aim is a just, viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem, with the establishment of a bizonal, bi-communal federation, as prescribed by the relevant decisions of the United Nations Security Council," he stated.
Referring to Greek-Indian relations, Mr. Simitis said that "Greece has the privilege to maintain a long friendship with India and this is reflected on the close cooperation within international organisations and our mutual understanding on regional problems, which our countries face."
In turn, Mr. Vajpayee expressed the gratitude of his government for the voluntary and generous aid, which the government of Greece sent for the confrontation of the deadly earthquake.
Moreover, the Indian Premier called on the Greek businessmen to take advantage of the opportunities presented in his country for investments, which were created "by a wide program of economic liberalism and industrial development".
Mr. Vajpayee also called for the cooperation of the two countries in combatting organised crime, terrorism and money laundering.
A memorandum of cooperation in the agricultural sector was signed by Ms. Papazoi and Minister of State on External Affairs Venkata Krishnam Raju Uppalapati.
Greek and Indian officials are to sign cooperation agreements concerning economics and tourism, and hold talks on the development of bilateral economic and trade relations. Annual trade between India and Greece currently amounts to about $140 million.
 PRESIDENT EXPRESSES CONDOLENCES FOR XENAKISAthens, 6 February 2001 (11:49 UTC+2)
The President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos has sent a telegram conveying his condolences to the family of Greek composer Ianis Xenakis, who passed away on Sunday in Paris.
The President described the world-famous composer as "a major figure in music and the arts and letters".
Mr. Stephanopoulos also said that Xenakis had honored both his countries, Greece and France, through his work.
rime Minister Costas Simitis also forwarded his condolences, stating that the world of the arts, letters and culture were the poorer for his loss.
The death of Iannis Xenakis, this modern thinker of musical creation, innovator and ground-breaking academic, artist and cosmopolitan is a great loss for the wider, international, cultural family."
 GREECE, US COOPERATE IN FOREST FIRE PREVENTIONAthens, 6 February 2001 (11:48 UTC+2)
United States experts in the field of forest fire prevention are being hosted by the Greek fire brigade and the Minister of Public Order Michalis Chrysochoides, in view of existing cooperation in the field of fire fighting.
The US Forest Service experts are to conduct a seminar for policy-makers at the public order, interior, agriculture and defense ministries.
US ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns stated that "I am delighted that the US Agency for International Development has funded this initiative, which brings out two countries together to share knowledge about preventing and combating the scourge of forest fires."
 TOTAL PRIVATIZATION OF OLYMPIC AIRWAYSAthens, 6 February 2001 (19:21 UTC+2)
The road to the total privatization of the Greek state-run airline Olympic Airways has opened. The regulation based on which, private investors could purchase Olympic Airways shares only if 51% of the company was controlled by the Greek state, has been abolished, according to a amendment tabled in parliament this evening to be included in the draft bill on tax-exemptions.
The same regulation affects the subsidiaries of Olympic Airways the shares of which indirectly belong to the Greek state.
The suggested regulation was made necessary after the freeing of the air transportation sector and as a result of the existing conditions in the international market and the need for reform in the Olympic Airways group of companies.
 THE GOVERNMENT WILL OPEN A DIALOGUE FOR THE FREEING OF THE SO-CALLED CLOSED PROFESSIONSAthens, 6 February 2001 (18:34 UTC+2)
The creation of new job positions and economic development are the two goals of the government concerning the freeing of the so-called closed professions, according to national economy minister Yiannos Papantoniou.
Specifically, after a meeting held today and presided over by Mr. Papantoniou with the participation of nine ministers and undersecretaries, the head of the government's economic staff underlined that each ministry will launch a two to three-month-long dialogue with the professionals falling under its authority before the government reaches its decisions.
Therefore, based on this development, the decisions on the so-called closed professions are expected to be reached this summer. The minister stressed that the measures will be taken with absolute respect toward the professional and working rights aimed to facilitate the entry of young professionals in the job market, accelerate the economic development and improve the services offered to the people.
The reforms will concern a total of about 90 professional groups among them lawyers, notary publics, taxi and truck drivers, mechanics and pharmacists.
 THE GREEK PARLIAMENT HAS RECOGNIZED THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDEAthens, 6 February 2001 (17:43 UTC+2)
The Greek parliament has formally recognized the Armenian genocide that was committed by the Ottoman Turks and each parliament deputy exercises his duties in the way he thinks fit, responded acting government spokesman Tilemachos Hitiris when asked to comment on the initiative undertaken by Muslim Greek parliament deputies Galip and Mehmet to visit the French embassy and protest against the French parliament decision to recognize the Armenian genocide.
When asked to comment whether this initiative can be regarded as a violation of the Greek Constitution, Mr. Hitiris responded that this issue concerns the parliament and the deputies of the governing socialist party of PASOK.
 THE GREEK GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSE TO THE DEPOSED KINGAthens, 6 February 2001 (17:15 UTC+2)
Acting Greek government spokesman Tilemachos Hitiris stated that the events are known and the judgment of history is merciless, responding to an interview by the deposed King of Greece with the Spanish newspaper "El Pais" last Sunday.
When asked if the deposed King will come to Greece for the 2004 Olympic Games he responded that he will come because he is a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Regarding the travel documents he will use, Mr. Hitiris stated that this issue will be examined at the proper time.
On the issue of the so-called royal property, Mr. Hitiris stated that Greece will present its arguments in the International Court in May and will await for its ruling.
 THE GERMAN ACCUSED OF THE ABDUCTION OF A 15-YEAR-OLD AMERICAN GIRL WAS DETAINED AWAITING TRIALThessaloniki, 6 February 2001 (16:47 UTC+2)
Thirty six year old German Franz Konstantin Baehring, who was arrested in Athens at the end of last week accused of luring to Greece a 15-year-old American girl with whom he had met through the Internet, was detained awaiting trial.
Thessaloniki's prosecutor charged him with abduction of a minor and violation of the law concerning obscenity and foreigners.
Before his transfer to the Diavata Prison, he repeated that he continues to love the young American and that he wants to marry her, while he sent a message to her to come and find him when she becomes an adult. He also called on the parents to protect their children using the Internet explaining that himself still cannot believe that his acquaintance with the 15-year-old through the Internet brought him before justice.
 BUSINESS DELEGATION FROM THESSALONIKI TO BELGRADEThessaloniki, 6 February 2001 (16:17 UTC+2)
A business delegation organized by Thessaloniki's Industry and Commerce Chamber will visit Belgrade on February 27 and 28.
The goal of the visit will be to widen the prospects opened for the activation of businesses from northern Greece in Yugoslavia after the recent political and economic developments in the region. The members of the delegation will have the opportunity to meet with members of the board of directors of the Yugoslav Industry and Commerce Chamber and Serbia's Economic Chamber as well as with Yugoslav businessmen. Their contacts will be aimed at developing business cooperation in different sectors.
 GAINS OF 1.82% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 6 February 2001 (16:09 UTC+2)
Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index increased by 1.82% at 3.154,35 points, while the volume of transactions was 137.28 million Euro or 46.77 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today, the overwhelming majority namely, 324, recorded gains and 19 had losses, while the value of 19 stocks remained unchanged.
 GREEK CLAIMS FOR WAR REPARATIONS "UP IN THE AIR"Athens, 6 February 2001 (14:15 UTC+2)
Over 60,000 Greek claims for war reparations filed against the German state by relatives of Greeks executed by Nazi troops are now at risk of an indefinite stay, after the First Department of Greece's Supreme Court (Areios Pagos) delegated the cases to the country's Highest Administrative Court (HAC).
According to an article in the Athens daily "Imerisia", these claims amount to 15 billion drachmas as compensation to the relatives of 214 civilians executed by Nazi troops in June 1944 in the central Greek village of Distomo. Germany has also been ordered to pay nearly 220 million drachmas ($603,000) to cover the prosecution's legal expenses.
The surprise motion is not supported on the recent ruling issued by the Supreme Court's plenary session which, with 15 votes in favor and five against, found that the Greek courts constitute the proper adjudication course. Instead, the First Department ruled that, given the expressed difference in opinion and the questions that arise over the court's jurisdiction and the German state's inherent immunity, the case should be delegated to HAC.
According to the constitution of Greece, HAC may resolve any challenge over laws validated by international treaties and ratified in Greece.
Should HAC reverse the Supreme Court's ruling and accept that the German state cannot be tried extraterritorially, then the pending claims would essentially be "thrown out the window" since this would render the German courts as the only venue for trial and, as such, an unattainable means of recourse for the relatives of the Greek victims.
 PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS SENT A MESSAGE TO TURKEY FROM INDIANew Delhi, 6 February 2001 (16:03 UTC+2)
Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis responding to a question by MPA in a press conference he gave in New Delhi, India sent a message to Turkey that the time has come to undertake initiatives for the improvement of the Greek-Turkish relations.
Responding to the MPA question on whether he will raise the issue of the Greek-Turkish relations and the solution of the Cyprus problem to his Turkish counterpart Bulent Ecevit in the Balkan leaders summit meeting in Skopje at the end of the month, the Greek prime minister stated that Greece has undertaken a number of initiatives for peace and cooperation in the region and now the time has come for Turkey to undertake its own initiatives. He also said that the Cyprus issue can be solved only within the framework of the United Nations.
The press conference was given immediately after the inauguration of the new Greek embassy in New Delhi and then the prime minister departed for the city of Jaybur where he will stay today and tomorrow and then he will leave for Bombay to attend an economic forum that will be held by Greek and Hindu businessmen.
Mr. Simitis characterized the Greek-Hindu relations as very good, while he said that the climate in his talks with the Hindu president and the prime minister as cordial and friendly.
He also had a meeting with opposition Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi, widow of assassinated prime minister Radziv Gandhi.