|Friday, 15 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 01-02-28
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 GREEK BIZ TEAM HAS PRODUCTIVE VISIT TO BELGRADEBelgrade, 28 February 2001 (12:11 UTC+2)
An 80-member business delegation, headed by the Minister of Macedonia-Thrace George Paschalides, has already conducted a series of successful contacts in Belgrade where, by the end of their visit's first day, they met with the representatives of about 200 Yugoslav firms.
Various seminars are being held on the sidelines of business activities, where speakers include Serbian Minister of International Trade Relations Goran Pitic, Minister of Industry and Privatization Alexandar Vlachovic and Mr. Paschalides who spoke on Reconstruction Steps.
In his address, Mr. Pitic referred to the investment opportunities that have arisen in his country, whose economy has began to show signs of recovery and stability.
According to Mr. Pitic, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is presently working on a modernization program that involves reforms in three areas: taxation system, private sector development and amending legislation pertaining Foreign Direct Investment.
Mr. Vlachovic also referred to the privatization process in his country, where laws are being tailored as to ensure transparent and expedient procedures.
Mr. Paschalides stated that a common front should be created against bureaucracy and corruption and stressed that the focus should be turned to the private sector, reform in public administration, infrastructure and environment.
Also, the chairman of Serbia's Economic Chamber Mr. Veselinovic referred to the existence of 188 joint projects, of which 100 are partially Greek, whose invested capital surpassed the DEM 650 million mark during the past five-year period.
The visit is organized by the Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI), in cooperation with the Interbalkan and Black Sea Business Center and Thessaloniki's production and scientific agencies. According to the TCCI, the purpose of the delegation will be to probe possibilities of developing cooperation between businessmen from the two countries. It is the first delegation to be organized by agencies in Thessaloniki to the region after the end of the war in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
 GREEK FM HOLDS TALKS WITH TURKISH COUNTERPARTBrussels, 28 February 2001 (11:20 UTC+2)
Foreign Minister George Papandreou held talks with his Turkish counterpart Ismael Cem during a meeting held yesterday on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels.
Messrs. Papandreou and Cem discussed economic matters and also referred to the Greek FM's scheduled visit to Ankara two months from now.
Moreover, the two foreign ministers agreed to continue and complete the Confidence Building Measures process between the two countries.
 HOUSE REJECTS REVIEW OF ILLEGAL NATURALIZATIONAthens, 28 February 2001 (11:26 UTC+2)
The Hellenic Parliament has rejected a proposal tabled by the main opposition party of New Democracy which called for an investigation into allegations of illegal naturalizations of foreign nationals.
With 115 deputies voting in favor and 150 against, the House rejected ND's proposal for the formation of a committee that would examine the illegal offering of Greek citizenship to immigrants. The ruling PASOK, along with the Greek Communist Party, the Coalition of the Left and Progress and Stephanos Manos' Liberals voted against the motion.
ND leader Costas Karamanlis had asked for the re-checking of the cases where foreign nationals were granted Greek citizenship, adding that in the following days he would brief the President of the Hellenic Republic Costis Stephanopoulos on the case.
 JOVANOVIC'S CONTACTS IN ATHENSAthens, 28 February 2001 (18:05 UTC+2)
Serb Socialist Party vice-president and former foreign minister of Yugoslavia Zivadin Jovanovic met in Athens yesterday with honorary president of right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy Konstantinos Mitsotakis, Democratic Social Movement leader Dimitris Tsovolas and Communist Party general secretary Ms. Aleka Papariga.
Mr. Jovanovic visited Athens at the invitation of the Greek Communist Party and discussed with Mr. Mitsotakis and Mr. Tsovolas the developments in Yugoslavia and the Balkans in general.
Mr. Tsovolas in statements he made after the meeting with Mr. Jovanovic stressed that they concluded that the cooperation between the Leftist and progressive forces in the Balkans is necessary for the preservation of peace and stability and the protection of human rights.
In the meeting Mr. Jovanovic had with the Communist Party general secretary it was established that they share the same views concerning the situation in Kosovo and South Serbia.
Mr. Jovanovic underlined that if the peacekeeping force in Kosovo did its job the Albanian terrorism and the secessionist moves would have been averted. He also called for the return of the expelled Kosovo Serbs to their homes.
 MEETING OF GREEK AND TURKISH FILM CRITICSAlexandroupolis, 28 February 2001 (17:40 UTC+2)
A meeting of film critics from Greece and Turkey will be held in Alexandroupolis, northeastern Greece on March 3-5 organized by the city's Cinema Club in cooperation with the Greek Association of Film Critics and the Turkish Association of Film Critics.
The goal of the meeting is to exchange views on the art of cinema and lay the foundations for future cooperation on cultural issues.
 THE CYPRUS ISSUE IS HIGH ON THE AGENDA OF THE GREEK GOVERNMENTAthens, 28 February 2001 (17:18 UTC+2)
The Cyprus issue is high on the agenda of the Greek government, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas on the occasion of the meeting of Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou with US Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Mr. Reppas stated this was the first meting with the new US government and the talk they had was not detailed, adding that the cooperation between the two governments is necessary and will continue.
On the US stance concerning the Cyprus issue, Mr. Reppas underlined that the US is firm on its position and the only thing that changes is the model that will be in effect. Namely, there will be no special envoys for Cyprus and the issue will be watched by the head of the US State Department. Mr. Reppas stated that this change is possible to have positive results.
 BALKAN ECOLOGICAL ORGANIZATIONS WILL MEET IN THE CITY OF DRAMASDramas, 28 February 2001 (16:46 UTC+2)
The 1st meeting of the Balkan Ecological Organizations will be held in the northern Greek city of Dramas. The meeting is aimed at the cooperation of ecological organizations on issues concerning the environment, the exchange of information on common ecological problems, the promotion of information, scientific knowledge on the Balkan Peninsula environment through the operation of a Balkan Ecological Organizations Network and the assessment of the ecological problems in the Balkan Peninsula.
The meeting will be attended by representatives of ecological organizations from Yugoslavia, FYROM, Romania, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro Turkey, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Croatia.
 LOSSES IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 28 February 2001 (16:34 UTC+2)
New losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to 0.79% at 3.129,06 points, while the volume of transactions was 206.9 million Euro.
Of the stocks trading today, 69 had gains and 272 recorded losses, while the value of 30 stocks remained stable.
 SIMITIS-PERRSON MEETINGAthens, 28 February 2001 (16:31 UTC+2)
The European Union social policy, development at a European level, employment, enlargement and the common agriculture policy were the main topics that were discussed by Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis and his Swedish counterpart Goran Perrson, who was on a visit to Athens.
The two prime ministers also discussed issues concerning the preparation of the extraordinary European Council meeting that will be held in Stockholm on March 23-24. Mr. Simitis briefed Mr. Perrson on the outcome of the Inter-Balkan Summit that was held in Skopje, Cyprus' EU accession course and the Greek positions in favor of the European intervention in the Middle East.
Earlier, the prime minister of Greece had a tripartite meeting with his counterparts Mr. Perrson from Sweden, who is currently holding the EU rotating presidency and Mr. Ivica Racan from Croatia and they examined the situation in the Balkans. The Swedish prime minister referred to the promotion of Croatia's relations with the European Union and stated that this is a sign that normality and European orientation are returning to the Balkans. Mr. Racan also had separate meetings with main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis and Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos.
In his meeting with his Swedish counterpart, Mr. Simitis stressed the need for greater attention to be paid on the EU social policy in relation with the economic development, the implementation of new technologies, research, education, the elimination of inequalities and the solution of the problem of unemployment. He also referred to the aging population phenomenon.
The Swedish prime minister stated that the goals of the Swedish EU presidency are economic growth and equality. He also responded negatively to the question if the common agricultural policy will be renegotiated and pointed out that the EU budget has been finalized.
 THE ITALIAN PRESIDENT WILL BE IN KEFALONIA TOMORROWKefalonia, 28 February 2001 (16:12 UTC+2)
Italian president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi will visit the Ionian Sea island of Kefalonia tomorrow to attend a memorial service for the 10.000 Italian soldiers massacred in September 1943 by the German army after the truce signed by Italy.
President Ciampi will be accompanied by some of the survivors of that tragedy among them the then artillery captain Amos Pampaloni, who is now 85 years old.
A documentary aired by the RAI-UNO Italian state television showed that the 9.000 Italian soldiers, who were executed in cold blood by their former allies, chose death than humiliation and only a few of them surrendered to the Germans to end up in Nazi concentration camps. Other 2.500 Italian soldiers, who were held prisoners of war by the Germans, drowned when their ships entered a sea region with British mines, while 600 more were executed in the Ionian Sea island of Corfu.
 ALOIS BRUNNER TO BE TRIED IN ABSENTIA ON FRIDAYParis, 28 February 2001 (14:58 UTC+2)
The trial of Nazi official and war criminal Alois Brunner, who masterminded the deportation of Thessaloniki's 50,000 Jews to death camps during World War II, begins on Friday in absentia in Paris.
Brunner, who is of Austrian descent, was an SS lieutenant who espoused the German citizenship in order to gain ascent in Hitler's regime hierarchy. He not only is the perpetrator of the destruction of Thessaloniki Jewish community -having organized 19, in all, missions to the crematoriums- but he also led 24,000 Jews in France's Drancy concentration camp during World War II.
According to Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal, Brunner is in Syria if he is alive.
We know that he is no longer in the apartment where he lived in Damascus, Wiesenthal told the French news agency AFP, albeit adding that "Syria is big enough to hide such a man."
Brunner was suspected of having sought refuge in Syria in the 1950s.
"He is in Syria if he is still alive," Mr. Wiesenthal added, saying that Brunner would now be 88 years old.
Brunner ran the Drancy internment camp outside Paris, from where Jews were deported to camps in Germany and Eastern Europe. He is also held responsible for massive deportations of Jews from Vienna and Slovakia.
This will not be the first time Brunner will be tried in absentia; a trial was held in 1954 in Paris, followed by another two years later in Marseilles, and in both cases he was handed the death penalty.
French lawyer Serge Klarsfeld, who is intent on finding Brunner since his father was among the lieutenant's victims, stated that Friday's trial will focus on Brunner's involvement in the mass killings that took place at Drancy's concentration camp.
French authorities have repeatedly raised the Brunner matter to Syria, while French President Jacques Chiraq, during his 1996 visit to Damascus, had requested from the then-president Hafez al Assad that he investigate the matter.
 GREEK EARNS FIRST PRIZE IN TOURIST FILM FESTIVALMilan, 28 February 2001 (14:21 UTC+2)
Greek director, Panos Kekas earned the first prize at the Milan-held XXVI International Tourist Film Festival's environment section, with his documentary entitled On the Paths of Centaurs.
The said documentary is part of the travel series On the Trail of Pausanias broadcast by Greece's state-owned television channel ET-1. Kekas has also filmed numerous documentaries centered around culture and environment, many of which have been awarded.
 HOUSE SPEAKER MEETS WITH CROATIAN PREMIERAthens, 28 February 2001 (14:05 UTC+2)
Visiting Croatian Premier Ivica Racan held talks with the President of the Hellenic Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis this morning, which was an opportunity to have a constructive discussion on promoting bilateral ties, as well as on cooperation for the establishment of stability, security and peace in the wider Balkan region.
The cultural levels of Greece and Croatia, as well as their geopolitical position, in the farthest southern and northern tips (respectively) of Europe's southeastern wing, grant them the opportunity to carry out a significant role to the benefit of their nations and Europe as a whole, Mr. Kaklamanis stated.
In turn, the Croatian Premier underlined the significance granted by his country to Greece's role -as a member-state of the European Union- in the Balkan reconstruction process. Mr. Racan also relayed his country's will to further strengthen cooperation with Greece in the economic sector.
 THESSALONIKI PORT ORGANIZATION-FRY ECONOMIC CHAMBER COOPERATION MEMORANDUMBelgrade, 28 February 2001 (18:54 UTC+2)
The signing of a cooperation memorandum by the Thessaloniki Port Organization and the FRY Economic Chamber in three weeks was examined today by representatives of the two institutions, according to statements made in a press conference in Belgrade by Economic Chamber president Slobodan Tsorac.
Referring to the visit of the Greek business delegation to Belgrade, Mr. Tsorac underlined that the FRY counts on the Greek assistance which is not in the form of a humanitarian aid but focuses on the materialization of joint programs and ventures.
Northern Greek Industries Association president Vasilis Takas pointed out that the Greek institutions work toward the specialization of the Balkan Reconstruction Plan measures and aim at an economic assistance for the development of the business activity between Greece and FRY through joint ventures.
Mr. Takas also referred to future activities within the framework of the Greek-Yugoslav cooperation such as, the establishment of an office that will be responsible for the Balkan Reconstruction and is scheduled to be in operation in a few months. Meanwhile, the 8th Balkan Conference (Thessaloniki Forum) will be held in Thessaloniki on April 2-3 within the specific framework of cooperation. The conference will be attended by the Serb prime minister, FRY foreign economic relations minister Miroljub Labus and Serb international economic relations minister Goran Pitic.
Greek embassy in Belgrade trade and economic affairs adviser Christos Farmakis, referring to issues concerning the Greek-Serb cooperation, stated that the sum of DM1million will be offered for medicine supplies and education in FRY through the Greek foreign ministry and the Greek-Serb Friendship Association.
 ALOIS BRUNNER WILL BE TRIED IN ABSENTIA IN PARIS ON FRIDAYParis, 28 February 2001 (16:51 UTC+2)
War criminal Alois Brunner, who is accused of organizing the holocaust of Thessaloniki's 50.000 Jews together with other Nazi officers as well as, the annihilation of 24.000 Jews in Dransi, France and other European regions during WWII will be tried in absentia in Paris on Friday.
It is not the first time that Brunner is tried in absentia. He was tried again in Paris in 1954 and two years later in Marseilles.
Brunner's whereabouts are not known and according to certain sources, he is dead while others believe that he has found refuge in Syria. The former SS captain is accused of many crimes against humanity during WWII.
 AMNESTY INTERN/L: US EXPORTS TORTURE WEAPONSWashington, 28 February 2001 (13:30 UTC+2)
Dozens of U.S. firms reportedly sell torture weapons and other related equipment overseas, according to Amnesty International which calls for a ban on these sales.
According to the human rights group, these weapons include high-tech electroshock gear, serrated thumb cuffs that tear the flesh if the victim tries to flee, and leg irons.
No US company should profit from torture, an Amnesty International spokesperson stated, denouncing all forms of gain that is derived from such activities.
In spite of the fact that it is illegal to own some of this equipment in the US, Amnesty International stated that the Commerce Department has issued a plethora of export licenses for sales, under the category of crime control equipment, amounting to $97 million from 1997 to date.
The countries leading the list of buyers for this equipment are Saudi Arabia, Russia, Taiwan, Israel and Egypt, according to data provided by Amnesty International.