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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 99-05-07

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, May 7, 1999

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] BALKAN NEWS AGENCIES MEET IN THESSALONIKI OVER CRISIS
  • [02] MPA'S GENERAL DIRECTOR SPEAKS ON MEDIA'S ROLE AND KOSOVO
  • [03] GREEK PM: PEACE IS POSSIBLE, AS LONG AS IT'S NOT JUST WORDS
  • [04] AUSTRIA'S KLIMA IN THESSALONIKI: KOSOVO CRISIS IS TO END SOON
  • [05] GREECE HAS YET TO RECEIVE EXPLANATIONS OVER CONVOY ATTACK
  • [06] GREEK SOLDIERS TO SET UP REFUGEE CAMP IN FYROM
  • [07] GREEK PM TO MEET WITH PORTUGUESE, FYROM, ALBANIAN PREMIERS
  • [08] BULGARIAN DELEGATION VISITS THRACE THROUGH PHARE PROGRAM
  • [09] ABNA WILL CREATE A HOME PAGE ON THE INTERNET FOR THE KOSOVO REFUGEES
  • [10] PAPOUTSIS: THE ISOLATION OF SERBIA WILL BE A "BLACK HOLE" FOR PEACE
  • [11] THE GREEK MINISTER OF DEFENSE EXPRESSED INDIGNATION OVER THE NATO BOMBING OF THE TOWN OF NIS
  • [12] SIMITIS DENIED THE RUMOR THAT GREECE WILL JOIN THE EMU TODAY
  • [13] MR. REPPAS DENIED THE RUMORS OF GREECE'S EARLY PARTICIPATION IN THE EMU
  • [14] THE BALKAN NEWS AGENCIES DISCUSS THE YUGOSLAV CRISIS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [15] G8 FOREIGN MINISTERS ARRIVE AT COMMON PROPOSAL ON KOSOVO
  • [16] NATO PLANES DESTROY BRIDGE, POUND MILOSEVIC'S HOMETOWN
  • [17] BELGRADE REMAINS RESERVED OVER G8 AGREEMENT
  • [18] GREEK PRESIDENT TO PAY OFFICIAL VISIT TO GEORGIA ON MAY 10
  • [19] GREEK PRESIDENT TO PAY VISIT TO ARMENIA ON MAY 11-13
  • [20] MPA PARTICIPATES IN HERMES TRADE EXPO IN NEW YORK TODAY
  • [21] HELLENIC PETROLEUM DEAL ENDORSED BY FYROM'S GOVERNMENT
  • [22] US PRESIDENT CLINTON APPEARED OPTIMISTIC OVER A SOLUTION IN YUGOSLAVIA
  • [23] THE US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES APPROVED 13.1 BILLION DOLLARS FOR THE NATO OPERATIONS
  • [24] 58% OF THE SERBS SUPPORT THE DEPLOYMENT OF A UN PEACE-KEEPING FORCE IN KOSOVO
  • [25] NATO AIRCRAFT BOMBED THE TOWN OF NIS AT NOON TODAY
  • [26] A FIFTH MISSILE ENDED UP IN BULGARIA

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] BALKAN NEWS AGENCIES MEET IN THESSALONIKI OVER CRISIS

    The news agencies from all the countries comprised in the Balkan region are meeting in Thessaloniki today, in order to examine the problems that have arisen in the operation of the mass media organizations as a result of the dramatic events taking place in Yugoslavia.

    The event is being organized by the Association of Balkan News Agencies (ABNA) on the initiative of the Macedonian Press Agency, the headquarters of ABNA's permanent secretariat.

    The meeting will also examine ways to improve the activity of the news agencies and all of the Balkan mass media, always in line with the principles of journalistic ethics, objectivity and truth, which principles have been espoused by ABNA since its founding in 1994.

    In addition to the news agencies of Albania, Bulgaria, FYROM, Greece, Romania, Yugoslavia and Turkey, the meeting will feature the participation of United Nations and UNESCO representatives, European Union officials, Council of Europe representatives, and International Journalists Federation members. Moreover, the meeting features the participation of news agencies of those countries neighboring with the Balkan states, and which are subject to the consequences of the Kosovo crisis, such as the Italian news agency ANSA, the Hungarian MTI and the Greek ANA and MPA.

    On March 26, 1999, ABNA issued an appeal to its members, the mass media and various journalists, wherein it called on them to show restrain in these difficult times and to strictly adhere to the principles of journalistic ethics and truth, avoiding sensationalism, in order to allow peace, stability and security to return to the region of Southeastern Europe.

    [02] MPA'S GENERAL DIRECTOR SPEAKS ON MEDIA'S ROLE AND KOSOVO

    The Macedonian Press Agency's general director Spyros Kouzinopoulos addressed an extraordinary meeting held today in Thessaloniki among the news agencies from all the countries comprised in the Balkan region, as well as Italy's ANSA and Hungary's MTI, and spoke extensively on the media's stance and role over the Kosovo crisis.

    "The Kosovo crisis and NATO's bombardments against Yugoslavia, coupled with the tragic events that have taken place, have brought on a state of emergency and caused immense concern throughout Southeastern Europe," Mr. Kouzinopoulos stated, adding that the matter has been compounded by the activities of armed and riotous extremist groups -which stem from both sides of the conflict-, as they have brought on a climate of instability in certain Balkan countries, as well as fears of involvement by the region's remaining countries in the case of ground operations.

    Referring to the role carried out by the Association of Balkan News Agency (ABNA), which co-organized the meeting along with MPA, Mr. Kouzinopoulos stated that, during its five-year course, through conferences, meetings and other events, "the ABNA has cast its own stone in the matter of Inter-Balkan cooperation in the sensitive sector of the mass media.

    "For this reason alone, a mere few hours following the opening salvo of NATO's bombings against Yugoslavia, ABNA issued an appeal to its members, the media and all the journalists of the Balkan Peninsula, calling on them to exercise restrain during these difficult times for the Balkans," he said.

    The MPA's general director further added that "the present period is marked by noble initiatives for overcoming the crisis and rays of hope have began to sparkle along with Spring.

    "We shall not search for the perpetrators of the crisis. It is not our task to discover if the Serbs are right, or if the Kosovars are right, or the Albanians, or NATO, or whoever else became involved in this conflict. Nevertheless, we cannot but express our concern and strong protestation when we learn of our colleagues being killed in this senseless war, when we see media buildings being pounded by bombs, when we know that journalists are being prevented from performing their job without encumbrance and their free access to regions that are of immense interest to the general public is being hindered," he said.

    Mr. Kouzinopoulos announced that the Macedonian Press Agency proposes a joint appearance of all the Balkan news agencies in cyberspace, allowing the Internet users, by accessing the MPA's specially-designed server at www.abna.org, to discover news and information pertaining to all Balkan countries, thus forming diversified opinions and not have a biased view of the events.

    Moreover, the Macedonian Press Agency proposed the creation of a joint home page on the Internet, comprising all the Balkan news agencies, in order to assist in the discovery and relocation of Kosovar families whose members have been scattered as a result of the crisis. Once the homepage is set up, the MPA will install computers at the refugee camps, while its technical staff are already working on the creation of a program that will automatically file search requests and photographs of the missing persons.

    Mr. Kouzinopoulos urged that the national news agencies, more so than the remaining news media, contribute to the improvement of quality, by broadcasting and printing more news and reports on their neighboring countries, especially on matters of common cultural heritage, in order to achieve proximity among the region's peoples, develop friendship, cooperation and, once and for all, eliminate the danger of conflagrations.

    "In the course towards the 21st century, the national news agencies, by providing correct and sound information and promoting cultural values, can grant the media with the opportunity to become the messengers, a light in the midst of darkness. By striking ignorance and populism, they can become the strength of hope for the weak, the voice and refuge of the persecuted, the threat to the mighty.

    "They can become a suit of armor, a tireless lighthouse, an infallible eye, an impartial voice. If we grant this to the public, if we assist in the fight against chauvinism, nationalism, intransigence and all those components that result in war, then it is certain that our region will never again live through the atrocities of recent times. The Balkans will then no longer be ‘Europe's powder-keg'," Mr. Kouzinopoulos said.

    [03] GREEK PM: PEACE IS POSSIBLE, AS LONG AS IT'S NOT JUST WORDS

    Greece's Prime Minister Costas Simitis welcomed the agreement reached by the world's seven most industrialized nations and Russia (G8) yesterday, stating that it constitutes a step towards establishing peace in the region.

    "We hope that it (the agreement) will soon be adopted as a United Nations Security Council resolution and that all sides involved will implement it," Mr. Simitis stated yesterday.

    "Greece had from the very beginning outlined that the solution to the crisis could not be imposed only by force of arms, that political initiatives and diplomatic actions were necessary. Today's agreement confirms this point of view. At the same time the agreement prescribes that there should not be a change of borders...We have worked in this direction, " the Greek Premier added.

    Stressing that Greece, along with other countries, prepared the ground for yesterday's agreement, Mr. Simitis stated that "this proves that peace is possible as long as it's not just words."

    [04] AUSTRIA'S KLIMA IN THESSALONIKI: KOSOVO CRISIS IS TO END SOON

    Austrian Chancellor Viktor Klima met with Greece's Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos in Thessaloniki yesterday, with whom he discussed the Kosovo crisis and expressed the belief that a political solution on the issue is very near.

    Mr. Klima said that he believes "we are moving toward a political and peaceful solution." He called for an end to the bombings and for support of the initiatives taken by the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

    In turn, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos said "we are at the final political-diplomatic solution, which Greece believed in and for which we fought for from the beginning." The Chancellor made a stopover in Thessaloniki as part of a visit to the Halkidiki region, this year's site of an annual festival organized by Vienna for many of its citizens to celebrate the coming of spring.

    [05] GREECE HAS YET TO RECEIVE EXPLANATIONS OVER CONVOY ATTACK

    While it remains to be seen just who is responsible for Wednesday's attack against a Greek non-governmental aid convoy in Kosovo, NATO's Secretary-General Javier Solana has given the Greek government repeated assurances that the Alliance had nothing to do with the bombs that fell just yards away from the convoy's leading vehicle.

    The "Doctors of the World" mission was attacked by aircraft on Wednesday afternoon, as the four jeeps of the aid convoy were emerging from a tunnel. No one was injured and none of the vehicles were struck in the attack, which took place outside the town of Urosevac in southeastern Kosovo.

    A Greek member of the mission delivering aid to Prishtina, contacted Greek consular officials in Belgrade as soon as the convoy arrived in Kosovo's capital and said that bomb had fallen about 100 meters from the start of the convoy.

    According to the mission's officials, NATO had been given four days advance notice that they would be traveling to Prishtina, but NATO said there was no indication the alliance was connected to the attack.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Greece wanted "the truth to shine", adding that the issue of responsibility remained open and stressed that investigations into the incident should continue.

    The spokesman said Mr. Solana had twice given assurances to Foreign Minister George Papandreou that NATO had nothing to do with the attack.

    [06] GREEK SOLDIERS TO SET UP REFUGEE CAMP IN FYROM

    Fifty Greek soldiers will be dispatched to FYROM in order to assist in the setting up of a refugee camp in the area of Kotovo.

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated that the decision to send the troops had been taken after consultations between representatives of the Greek defense ministry and FYROM authorities.

    [07] GREEK PM TO MEET WITH PORTUGUESE, FYROM, ALBANIAN PREMIERS

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis will receive his counterpart from Portugal in Thessaloniki tomorrow, May 8, with whom he will travel to the monastic community of Mt. Athos.

    Mr. Simitis will also meet with the Premier of FYROM, Ljubco Georgievski, and both of whom will be guest speakers at a major Balkan economics conference to be held in Thessaloniki on May 10- 11. The Premier of Albanian Pandeli Majko will also attend the event.

    The conference, an annual event held by the Federation of Northern Greek Industries (SBBE) will focus on the situation in the Balkans a decade after the deregulation of markets.

    Mr. Georgievski will be accompanied by FYROM's Ministers of Economy, Development, Defense and Foreign Affairs.

    The forum is expected to draw more than 500 Greek and foreign business figures representing 120 foreign companies and 280 Greek.

    [08] BULGARIAN DELEGATION VISITS THRACE THROUGH PHARE PROGRAM

    A fifty-member delegation of Bulgarian local government officials embarked yesterday on a two-day visit to the Eastern Macedonia and Thrace District, in the framework of the PHARE program.

    The delegates, representatives from Bulgaria's central and regional administration, are meeting with their Greek counterparts and will be briefed on ways to expedite regional development in their country.

    Specifically, they will examine issues concerning regional strategy, preparations for the establishment of a national plan for regional development, the application and materialization of a regional business plan and ways to fund it and the establishment of committees which will review the results of the regional development actions.

    [09] ABNA WILL CREATE A HOME PAGE ON THE INTERNET FOR THE KOSOVO REFUGEES

    The Association of Balkan News Agencies (ABNA) decided to create a home page on its Internet site to help in the effort to locate Kosovo refugees who are missing.

    The proposal was made by MPA general director Spiros Kouzinopoulos in the meeting of ABNA's general directors held in Thessaloniki today and was unanimously accepted by all the Balkan news agencies (Anadolu, IHA-Turkey, BTA-Bulgaria, ROMPRESS- Romania, ATA-Albania, Athens News Agency-Greece) as well as by FYROM's news agency, ANSA-Italy and MTI-Hungary attending the meeting as observers.

    The general directors of the participating news agencies agreed to offer every help in order to overcome any technical difficulties in the materialization of the plan, while the BBC Greek service director Babis Metaxas, who was also present in the meeting stated that the BBC which has already started to broadcast radio messages for the location of missing refugees will offer its assistance to the effort.

    MPA general director Spiros Kouzinopoulos stated that ABNA with this initiative wants to urge the international organizations (UN High Commission for Refugees) to intensify their efforts for the reunion of refugee families divided because of the crisis in Kosovo.

    Within this framework, MPA is willing to install personal computers in the large refugee camps in Albania and FYROM.

    [10] PAPOUTSIS: THE ISOLATION OF SERBIA WILL BE A "BLACK HOLE" FOR PEACE

    The destruction and isolation of Serbia could be a "black hole" for peace and stability in the Balkans, stated Greek EU commissioner Christos Papoutsis speaking in the European conference on labor relations taking place in Thessaloniki today and tomorrow organized by the Greek General Confederation of Labor and Thessaloniki's Trade Unions' Center.

    Referring to the agreement reached by the West and Russia for the easing of the crisis in Kosovo, Mr. Papoutsis stated that this initiative is a first step toward peace, adding that there can be no peace in the Balkans without Serbia. He also pointed out that a viable political solution must secure the wide autonomy of Kosovo within the Yugoslav borders, while at the same time it should safeguard the return of the refugees to their homes and the rights of the ethnic Albanians and the Serbs.

    The Greek European Commissioner accused Europe of weakness in voicing its own autonomous position on the issue of Kosovo and stressed that in view of the 21st century the "15" can not accept a new world order determined by the right of the mightiest.

    The respect of human rights should be the basis for the formation of the European Union foreign policy, stressed Mr. Papoutsis, pointing out that Europe can not accept NATO in an international police role neither give its consent to the isolation of Russia and the creation of a new cold war type division in the European continent.

    Mr. Papoutsis said that Greece in this storm that sweeps the region is a factor of peace, stability and cooperation and it is called to play an important role in the day after the crisis, adding that Thessaloniki and northern Greece in general can play a decisive role as a starting point for a number of significant economic initiatives and investments.

    [11] THE GREEK MINISTER OF DEFENSE EXPRESSED INDIGNATION OVER THE NATO BOMBING OF THE TOWN OF NIS

    Minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos expressed indignation over the new NATO bombing of the town of Nis in Yugoslavia and at the same time, he voiced his support to the victims of the air strikes.

    If the armed conflict continues there will be no political solution and those who are responsible must give an answer, stated Mr. Tsochatzopoulos as soon as he was informed of the new NATO bombings.

    Earlier, he had stated that the text of the G8 foreign ministers could become the basis for a UN Security Council decision on Monday which could be accepted by NATO and Yugoslavia.

    He said that in case the deployment of an international peace- keeping force is decided in Kosovo Greece will be present as it was in the crisis in Albania and in Bosnia.

    Mr. Tsochatzopoulos underlined that no one can replace the United Nations, neither NATO, nor the Western European Union or the OSCE as it is the only international organization that can offer international legality and judge if there are human rights violations while at the same time safeguarding the right of territorial integrity and inviolability of the borders.

    On the paragraph of the new NATO doctrine which provides that in special cases the alliance has the right to intervene he said that it needs to be further discussed.

    In the press conference he gave, the minister of defense referred to the targets of the Pan-European Youth Conference that is being held in Thessaloniki and stated that Greece insists in the compulsory military service as it is dictated by history, democracy and the need to secure the country's defense as it is the only EU member that is being threatened by a neighboring country, namely Turkey.

    [12] SIMITIS DENIED THE RUMOR THAT GREECE WILL JOIN THE EMU TODAY

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis characterized as irresponsible, thoughtless and motivated by self-interest the rumors concerning double elections and political negotiations for Greece's participation in the EMU, adding that in order for Greece to join the EMU it has to reach a specific economic level.

    Mr. Simitis also stressed that the Greek economy has reached a very satisfactory level of stability and added that the efforts to meet the criteria for its accession into the EMU will continue.

    On the Yugoslav issue, the prime minister welcomed the plan adopted by the foreign ministers of the G8, while he reminded the Greek diplomatic initiatives that were undertaken and the Greek position according to which there can be no solution through military means. Mr. Simitis, referring to the telephone communication with his Italian counterpart Massimo D'Alema and the Papoulias-Milosevic meeting, stressed that the goal is to speed-up the peace process.

    [13] MR. REPPAS DENIED THE RUMORS OF GREECE'S EARLY PARTICIPATION IN THE EMU

    The government denied the rumors circulating in the stock market over Greece's early participation in the EMU based on political criteria and with a simultaneous slip of the drachma.

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated that there is no such issue, adding that the rumors spread obviously aim at a different target.

    The information for an early accession of Greece into the EMU, was also denied by Bank of Greece governor Loukas Papadimos, undersecretary of finance Nikos Christodoulakis and close associate of the minister of national economy and finance Yiannis Stournaras.

    [14] THE BALKAN NEWS AGENCIES DISCUSS THE YUGOSLAV CRISIS

    The problems faced by journalists, while covering the tragic events taking place in Yugoslavia, are the main topic of discussion in the meeting of the general directors of the Balkan news agencies as well as news agencies from Italy, Hungary and the Czech Republic that is being held in Thessaloniki.

    Specifically, are being discussed ways for the cooperation of the Balkan mass media in order to have a common framework for the objective and wide presentation of events. Within this framework, Macedonian Press Agency, which organizes the meeting, suggested a joint appearance of the news agencies in the cyberspace.

    A similar proposal was made by the Skopje news agency MIA suggesting the creation of an information source within the framework of the Association of the Balkan News Agencies (ABNA) to provide and process information over the events taking place in Yugoslavia.

    Albanian news agency, ATA, director Frrok Cupi issued an appeal for the improvement of the situation in Kosovo and stressed that the war serves the interests of large companies, while he also referred to the issue of the journalists' access to the truth. To the same issue referred Athens News Agency chief editor Nicholas Voulelis, stressing that information comes from different sides and the one-sided presentation of events hides the truth.

    Bulgarian News Agency, BTA, general director Panayot Denev stressed the importance of the meeting which is the first of its kind, while he too referred to the difficulties faced by the mass media in reporting the truth and stated that the journalists must be able to distinguish the news from the propaganda, suggesting that a resolution must be adopted for peace in the region.

    Turkish news agency, Anadolu, director Mehmet Guler referred to the situation in Yugoslavia and reminded that the journalists participating in today's meeting spoke of massacres and genocide before the NATO intervention.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [15] G8 FOREIGN MINISTERS ARRIVE AT COMMON PROPOSAL ON KOSOVO

    The foreign ministers of the world's seven most industrialized nations and Russia (G8) achieved a common proposal for resolving the Kosovo crisis at their meeting in Bonn yesterday.

    The proposal calls for the withdrawal of Yugoslav troops from Kosovo and an immediate end to violence, allowing the refugees to return home.

    The G8 ministers issued a statement calling for "effective international civil and security presences" in Kosovo to protect returning residents.

    "A political process towards the establishment of an interim political framework agreement providing for a substantial self- government for Kosovo, taking full account of the Rambouillet accords and the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the other countries of the region as well as the disarming of the UCK," the statement read.

    [16] NATO PLANES DESTROY BRIDGE, POUND MILOSEVIC'S HOMETOWN

    NATO aircraft delivered missile-and-bombing strikes against a railway bridge in the area of Vatin township near the Yugoslav- Romanian border last night, disrupting railway communication between Belgrade and Bucharest.

    According to the Russian news agency Itar-Tass, NATO bombs also destroyed a local power substation, leaving Vatin inhabitants without electricity.

    Itar-Tass also reported NATO planes pounded Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's hometown of Pozarevac, which boasts Yugoslavia's largest discotheque belonging to the president's son.

    [17] BELGRADE REMAINS RESERVED OVER G8 AGREEMENT

    Belgrade continues to have a reserved stance over the agreement reached in Bonn yesterday among the world's seven wealthiest nations and Russia, awaiting further clarifications over the issued proposal.

    According to a poll published today by the pro-government daily Politika, more than 40 percent of Yugoslavs would agree to some form of Serbian military withdrawal from Kosovo.

    Meanwhile, United States President Bill Clinton saluted the G8's proposal, although he added that the raids against beleaguered Yugoslavia will continue.

    [18] GREEK PRESIDENT TO PAY OFFICIAL VISIT TO GEORGIA ON MAY 10

    The President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos is to conduct a two-day official visit to Georgia on May 10, the first visit by a Greek president to Georgia after the Caucasian republic became independent.

    The President will meet with his Georgian counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze, parliamentary speaker Zurab Zhvania, Foreign Minister Irakly Menangarishvili and other officials.

    Discussions will focus on issues of further development of cooperation between the two countries, as well as regional problems.

    [19] GREEK PRESIDENT TO PAY VISIT TO ARMENIA ON MAY 11-13

    The President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos will pay an official visit to Armenia on May 11-13 at the invitation of the republic's leadership.

    Before arriving in Armenia the President will make an official visit to Georgia. While in Tbilisi, he will meet Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, the parliament speaker and the foreign minister to discuss further development of cooperation between the two countries and regional issues.

    [20] MPA PARTICIPATES IN HERMES TRADE EXPO IN NEW YORK TODAY

    The Macedonian Press Agency is participating at the 7th Annual Business Development Trade Show and Exhibition in the United States (Hermes Expo International 1999) , to be held today and tomorrow, (May 7-8) at the New York Hilton.

    The event is expected to give the opportunity to Greeks living on both sides of the Atlantic to consolidate their communication channels.

    This marks the first the MPA has the opportunity to take part in such an organized show, which will illustrate the agency's multifaceted activities in the media sector, and especially its singular commitment to the Greek community abroad.

    This year's event will also feature the participation of ventures from Albania, Romania and other Balkan countries.

    Greece's Undersecretary of Sports Andreas Fouras will inaugurate the event and has expressed the hope that the participation of the General Secretariat of Sports and representatives of the Greek business sector will contribute to the further advancement of Greek products and services in the U.S., as well as to the promotion of Greece's sports infrastructure, especially in light of the Athens-held Olympic Games of 2004.

    The Archbishop of America Spyridon will also attend the inauguration ceremony.

    Greek businesses interested in serving the needs of the Greek American community and establishing an initial strong foothold in the massive American market, the exhibition is certainly worth attending as a number of joint-venture seminars will be held, which can provide fertile ground for such investments.

    [21] HELLENIC PETROLEUM DEAL ENDORSED BY FYROM'S GOVERNMENT

    Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE) will be allowed to go ahead with the construction of an oil pipeline linking Thessaloniki with Skopje, after the government of FYROM approved the said agreement during a Cabinet session held this week.

    Specifically , the agreement calls for ELPE becoming the strategic investor of FYROM's OKTA refinery, with the investment being the largest ever in the neighboring country.

    The 90-million-dollar pipeline, which will have an annual capacity of 2.5 million tons and a length of 220 kilometers, is due for completion in three years.

    [22] US PRESIDENT CLINTON APPEARED OPTIMISTIC OVER A SOLUTION IN YUGOSLAVIA

    US president Bill Clinton appeared optimistic that a solution will be found to the Yugoslav crisis, while German foreign minister Joshka Fischer even though he spoke of a realistic prospect he warned that there is still a long way before a final solution is reached.

    For the moment there was no official reaction from Yugoslavia, while there was positive reaction from Russia, the United Nations and NATO. Victor Chernomyrdin stated that he will go to Belgrade for talks with Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.

    [23] THE US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES APPROVED 13.1 BILLION DOLLARS FOR THE NATO OPERATIONS

    The US House of Representatives approved the sum of 13.1 billion dollars for the NATO operations in Yugoslavia and the humanitarian aid for the Kosovo refugees.

    Meanwhile, 176 more US aircraft are expected to arrive in NATO bases in Europe to participate in the air attacks on Yugoslavia. US Pentagon press spokesman Kennett Bacon announced that 80 of the 176 aircraft that are expected to arrive in Europe are refueling aircraft.

    With the arrival of the new aircraft the total number of allied military planes participating in the operations on Yugoslavia will be 1.100.

    [24] 58% OF THE SERBS SUPPORT THE DEPLOYMENT OF A UN PEACE-KEEPING FORCE IN KOSOVO

    In favor of the presence of foreign forces in Kosovo, under the pre-condition that they will be under the UN command and without the participation of NATO soldiers, is 58% of the Serbs, according to a public opinion poll conducted by Belgrade's Political Studies Institute IPRESS polling company on April 26-30. On the withdrawal of Serb forces from Kosovo, 44.2% responded that they are opposed to the reduction of the number of military and police forces in the region.

    Based on the opinion poll, the Yugoslav army has won the confidence of the Serb people followed by the police, the federal and the Serb government.

    The opinion poll results were published in the pro-government Belgrade newspaper "Politika".

    [25] NATO AIRCRAFT BOMBED THE TOWN OF NIS AT NOON TODAY

    Nine people were killed and scores were injured when NATO aircraft bombed the town of Nis in Yugoslavia at noon today.

    According to the available information, NATO aircraft bombed an open-air market and the building housing the town's university clinic.

    The Belgrade television station "Politika" reported that there are fears that the number of victims will increase.

    [26] A FIFTH MISSILE ENDED UP IN BULGARIA

    A fifth missile since the start of the NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia has ended up in Bulgaria, this time in the region of the village Liulin near Sofia, according to the press office of the Bulgarian ministry of interior. There were no reports of victims or damages.

    In the statement it is not mentioned neither the type of the missile or the time of the incident.

    According to eye witnesses, an explosion was heard during the night, while residents of the Nadezda suburb in Sofia have stated to Bulgarian news agency, BTA, that a loud explosion was heard just before 5am today.


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