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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 99-05-12

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 12, 1999

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] GREEK PM: WE MUST PROVE THAT BALKANS ARE NOT PROBLEM AREA
  • [02] GREEK PM ON F.R.Y.: WE HAVE NO LATITUDE FOR IMPRUDENCE
  • [03] ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH VARTHOLOMEOS TO VISIT THESSALONIKI
  • [04] NATO CHIEF SOLANA DEFENDS AIR RAIDS AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA
  • [05] ALBANIAN CONSULATE INAUGURATED IN THESSALONIKI
  • [06] SOLANA: OUR TERMS TO MILOSEVIC ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE
  • [07] NATO TROOP SUPPLIES TRANSPORTED TO FYROM FROM THESSALONIKI
  • [08] SOLANA: OUR TERMS TO MILOSEVIC ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE
  • [09] PAPANDREOU ON GREECE'S EFFORTS FOR THE SOLUTION OF THE CRISIS IN KOSSOVO
  • [10] REPPAS: THE FINAL DECISIONS ON THE STABILITY PACT FOR SE EUROPE HAVE NOT BEEN REACHED YET
  • [11] NATO MILITARY SUPPLIES WERE TRANSPORTED TO FYROM VIA THESSALONIKI
  • [12] GREECE WILL NOT ALLOW ITS AIRSPACE TO BE USED BY NATO AIRCRAFT BOMBING YUGOSLAVIA
  • [13] THE PRE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN FOR THE EURO-PARLIAMENT OPENS TODAY
  • [14] THE MINISTER OF DEVELOPMENT RESPONDED TO THE TRAVEL ADVISORY ON GREECE ISSUED BY BRITAIN
  • [15] THE ONASIS FOUNDATION OFFERS 500.000 US DOLLARS TO THE KOSSOVO REFUGEES
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [16] GREEK PRESIDENT ON OFFICIAL VISIT TO ARMENIA
  • [17] BONN EXPRESSES APPRECIATION FOR GREECE'S STANCE ON KOSOVO
  • [18] ANOTHER ROUND OF NATO RAIDS POUND YUGOSLAVIA IN THE NIGHT
  • [19] YELTSIN DISMISSES PRIMAKOV FROM PREMIER'S POST
  • [20] RUSSIA: PROSPECTS OF YELTSIN'S IMPEACHMENT REMAIN THE SAME
  • [21] GREECE AND MOROCCO SIGN AIR TRANSPORT AGREEMENT
  • [22] ASHES OF CHINESE EMBASSY JOURNALISTS AIRLIFTED TO BEIJING
  • [23] UNHCR COLLABORATES WITH MICROSOFT ON REFUGEE REGISTRATION
  • [24] ALLEGED SECRET US ARMS EMBARGO ON GREECE IS REVEALED BY A TURKISH NEWSPAPER
  • [25] ECEVIT: NATO WILL USE TURKISH AIRPORTS FOR THE OPERATIONS AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA
  • [26] SOLANA: THE AIR ATTACKS AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA WILL CONTINUE
  • [27] NEW POLITICAL CRISIS IN RUSSIA
  • [28] TALBOT'S CONTACTS IN MOSCOW
  • [29] THE GREEK PRESIDENT CONTINUES HIS VISIT TO ARMENIA

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] GREEK PM: WE MUST PROVE THAT BALKANS ARE NOT PROBLEM AREA

    Addressing the Sixth Balkan Business Forum, which concluded in Thessaloniki yesterday, Greece's Prime Minister Costas Simitis stated that the Kosovo crisis, continuing for more than a month, is a regrettable development in the region which, if not contained, could lead to instability.

    In his address, Mr. Simitis stressed that, at any given opportunity, Greece's positions on the Balkan region constitute an essential part of the country's policy in Europe and elsewhere. He proceeded to outline Greece's input in the following initiatives: the convening of the Balkan conference on Crete, participation in the Royaumont initiative, the Organization for Economic Cooperation of Black Sea countries

    Referring to the resolution of the Kosovo crisis, "Greece maintained the need for an involvement of the United Nations right from the start," Mr. Simitis stated.

    "I believe that an international peacekeeping force has to be deployed in Kosovo with the authorization of the United Nations, in which not only NATO forces will participate, but also Russia and other countries. Greece would be willing to join forces in such a case," he said, adding that Greece has presented a three- fold comprehensive proposal for stability in the Balkans, based on a political resolution of the crisis as soon as possible. The proposal calls for stabilization, democratization and development.

    "This proposal of ours comes to complement the proposal of the German presidency for a Stability Pact for the region," he stated.

    Referring to Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, Mr. Simitis stated that the continuation of the bombings has succeeded neither in preventing the authoritarian policy of the Milosevic regime and the policy of ethnic cleansing nor in weakening him.

    He stressed that the crisis has to be solved on the principles of respecting human rights and minority rights, respecting the existing borders and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

    The Greek Premier added that Greece was exposed to the Kosovo crisis more than other EU countries, due to its proximity to Yugoslavia and its stronger economic ties with Balkan countries.

    [02] GREEK PM ON F.R.Y.: WE HAVE NO LATITUDE FOR IMPRUDENCE

    There is no latitude for imprudent conduct in Yugoslavia, Greece's Prime Minister Costas Simitis stressed last night in Thessaloniki while commenting on NATO's raids which have killed civilians and struck Belgrade's Chinese embassy.

    The Premier advised that the attempts to reach a political solution to the crisis should be marked by caution and attention, while he referred to the "day after" the war and stated that an accord of stability in S.E. Europe should be found, while stressing the necessity of all Balkan countries signing association accords with the European Union.

    Moreover, Mr. Simitis referred to Greece's plan for the restructuring of the Balkan region following the war, which would grant Thessaloniki and northern Greece a central role in the efforts.

    [03] ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH VARTHOLOMEOS TO VISIT THESSALONIKI

    The Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos will visit the Thessaloniki suburb of Kalamaria on May 31, the feast of the Holy Spirit, accompanied by Archbishop Christodoulos of Athens and All Greece.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch, the spiritual leader of all of the world's Orthodox Christians, will arrive in Greece on May 21 for a two-week visit as the official guest of the Orthodox Church of Greece.

    He will be granted all the honors accorded a head of state.

    [04] NATO CHIEF SOLANA DEFENDS AIR RAIDS AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA

    In an article published in an Athens daily, NATO's Secretary- General Javier Solana stated that the abhorrent situation of the refugees is temporary and the Alliance is determined to improve the conditions as soon as possible.

    Moreover, Mr. Solana defended the Alliance's raids against Yugoslavia, by stating that NATO is conducting the bombings in order to defend the fundamental human rights of the Kosovars.

    [05] ALBANIAN CONSULATE INAUGURATED IN THESSALONIKI

    Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou and his Albanian counterpart Paskal Milo inaugurated the Albanian General Consulate in Thessaloniki yesterday, in the presence of Albanian Premier Pandeli Majko.

    Mr. Papandreou stated that in spite of past difficulties, "the two countries have drawn a relationship whose future is marked with significant opportunities that will enable stability in the wider region and, hopefully, Albania's political, economic and social development."

    The consulate is housed in a new building located at 6 Odysseos St., Platia Vardariou, tel. (031) 547-435.

    [06] SOLANA: OUR TERMS TO MILOSEVIC ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE

    In an article published in the Athens daily "Kathimerini", NATO's Secretary-General Javier Solana stressed that the terms set forth by the Alliance to the Yugoslav President are non- negotiable, maintaining that Slobodan Milosevic has to stop the massacre, withdraw his forces, permit the entry of an international force, allow the return of the refugees and accept a final political negotiation based on the Rambouillet talks.

    "None of these terms is negotiable," Mr. Solana states in the article, expounding that the sooner Mr. Milosevic accepts these terms, the sooner the restructuring process can begin. "Our troops are ready to enter Kosovo as soon as possible, in order to ensure that not only will the refugees be allowed to return to their homes, but also that they will be able to live with security, and return to a normal life they so want and deserve," he added. The NATO Secretary-General is to travel to FYROM and Albania today, in order to be briefed on the refugee situation plaguing these countries.

    [07] NATO TROOP SUPPLIES TRANSPORTED TO FYROM FROM THESSALONIKI

    Approximately thirty NATO armored vehicles and military containers were transported during the early morning hours to military camps in FYROM from Thessaloniki's port.

    In addition, shortly after midnight last night, a convoy of sixty large NATO trailers arrived in Thessaloniki from FYROM and entered the city's port where they loaded the vehicles and containers, prior to departing at four a.m. for FYROM.

    NATO officials in Thessaloniki are expecting a French cargo ship which will take military vehicles that will be transported to other NATO member-states where they will either be maintained or recalled.

    [08] SOLANA: OUR TERMS TO MILOSEVIC ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE

    In an article published in the Athens daily "Kathimerini", NATO's Secretary-General Javier Solana stressed that the terms set forth by the Alliance to the Yugoslav President are non- negotiable, maintaining that Slobodan Milosevic has to stop the massacre, withdraw his forces, permit the entry of an international force, allow the return of the refugees and accept a final political negotiation based on the Rambouillet talks.

    "None of these terms is negotiable," Mr. Solana states in the article, expounding that the sooner Mr. Milosevic accepts these terms, the sooner the restructuring process can begin.

    "Our troops are ready to enter Kosovo as soon as possible, in order to ensure that not only will the refugees be allowed to return to their homes, but also that they will be able to live with security, and return to a normal life they so want and deserve," he added.

    The NATO Secretary-General is to travel to FYROM and Albania today, in order to be briefed on the refugee situation plaguing these countries.

    [09] PAPANDREOU ON GREECE'S EFFORTS FOR THE SOLUTION OF THE CRISIS IN KOSSOVO

    Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou, in a press conference he gave in Athens today, referred to the Greek efforts for the solution of the crisis in Yugoslavia made at a diplomatic level as well as to its efforts for the distribution of the humanitarian aid to the Kossovo refugees.

    Mr. Papandreou stressed that the Greek initiatives and the actions of the Greek government for the reconstruction of the Balkans after the end of the war in Yugoslavia show that the Greek diplomacy can form alliances for the promotion of solutions.

    [10] REPPAS: THE FINAL DECISIONS ON THE STABILITY PACT FOR SE EUROPE HAVE NOT BEEN REACHED YET

    The final decisions on the Stability Pact for south-eastern Europe have not been reached yet and the sovereign rights of Balkan states will not be affected under any circumstances, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas.

    Meanwhile, the EU general affairs council members will meet with Kossovo ethnic Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova on May 17 to hold discussions on the Balkan Conference. The issue will also be discussed in a meeting of the German EU presidency with representatives of the states bordering with Yugoslavia, while the Stability Pact for south-eastern Europe will be discussed in the EU summit meeting that will be held in Germany on June 3 and 4.

    [11] NATO MILITARY SUPPLIES WERE TRANSPORTED TO FYROM VIA THESSALONIKI

    About thirty armoured personnel carriers and containers with military supplies left for NATO military camps in FYROM via Thessaloniki in the early morning hours today.

    Sixty NATO military trucks on which the personnel carriers and the containers were loaded arrived in Thessaloniki just before midnight to pick up their cargo and the convoy left the city at 4am today.

    NATO chiefs of staff in Thessaloniki expect a French cargo ship to sail into the port of Thessaloniki to take to NATO member- states the military vehicles and equipment that need maintenance.

    [12] GREECE WILL NOT ALLOW ITS AIRSPACE TO BE USED BY NATO AIRCRAFT BOMBING YUGOSLAVIA

    Greece will not allow its territory or airspace to be used by NATO aircraft participating in the bombing of Yugoslavia, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, responding to a question by a reporter on the stance of the government in case there is a request to give permission to allied aircraft coming from Turkish airports to fly over Greece.

    Mr. Reppas also stated that since the start of the bombing of Yugoslavia, no AWACS aircraft, that took off from the Greek Air Base of Aktion, have been used in the operations.

    [13] THE PRE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN FOR THE EURO-PARLIAMENT OPENS TODAY

    The pre-election campaign for the Euro-Parliament elections that will be held on June 13 opens today. The cross-party committee that dealt with the distribution of television time for the political parties participating in the elections met today under the chairmanship of interior minister Vaso Papandreou.

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis will speak before electoral committee members in Nikea at 7pm this evening while right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis will speak in a one-day party conference in Lutsa at 4pm this afternoon. The prime minister will speak in many big cities and will close his pre-election campaign with his speeches in Thessaloniki on June 8 and in Athens on June 11.

    [14] THE MINISTER OF DEVELOPMENT RESPONDED TO THE TRAVEL ADVISORY ON GREECE ISSUED BY BRITAIN

    Greek minister of development Evangelos Venizelos responded to the travel advisory issued by Britain against Greece, speaking before the parliament's development and trade committee.

    Mr. Venizelos stated that based on the same rationale the terrorist actions in London should have discouraged the Greek tourists from visiting the British capital. The minister stressed that all the necessary steps have been made to avert such actions and appeared optimistic over tourism in Greece estimating that it will be increased by 5-6% compared to last year if a political solution is reached for the Yugoslav crisis before the end of May.

    Mr. Venizelos also stated that his ministry prepares a advertising campaign aimed at boosting domestic tourism.

    [15] THE ONASIS FOUNDATION OFFERS 500.000 US DOLLARS TO THE KOSSOVO REFUGEES

    The Onasis Foundation board of directors decided unanimously to cancel this year's award ceremonies and offer the money saved to the Kossovo refugees.

    Specifically, the Onasis Foundation will offer the sum of 500.000 US dollars and the money will reach the refugees through the Archbishoprics of Greece and Albania.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [16] GREEK PRESIDENT ON OFFICIAL VISIT TO ARMENIA

    The President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos is presently conducting an official, two-day visit to Armenia, at the invitation of the republic's leadership, where he will meet with his Armenian counterpart Robert Kocharyan and the leaders of Armenian political parties.

    Messrs. Stephanopoulos and Kocharyan will hold private talks this morning and will sign three texts: an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation; an agreement for mutual assistance between customs administrations and a protocol for an exchange of documents on the ratification of a friendship and cooperation agreement between Greece and Armenia - signed in Athens in June 1997.

    According to his itinerary, the President will visit the memorial to the victims of the 1915 genocide of Armenians today, where he will lay a commemorative wreath, and will also meet with representatives of Greek diaspora in Armenia.

    Tomorrow, a Greek hall will be inaugurated at the Yerevan State University's library, which will contain books on history and sciences presented by Greece.

    The University will bestow upon the Greek President the honorary doctor degree.

    Greece and Armenia enjoy bilateral ties that date back centuries and centuries, according to Armenian Ambassador to Greece Arman Kirakosian. The framework of such relations is laid down in the 1996 treaty of friendship and cooperation between Armenia and Greece, followed by agreements which covered the entire spectrum of bilateral cooperation.

    President Stephanopoulos is accompanied by Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoris Niotis and Deputy National Economy Minister Alekos Baltas.

    [17] BONN EXPRESSES APPRECIATION FOR GREECE'S STANCE ON KOSOVO

    The German Foreign Ministry State Secretary has expressed his appreciation for what he called "the responsible stance" held by Athens regarding the Kosovo crisis.

    Following his Bonn -held talks with Greece's alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis earlier this week, Guenter Verheugen also said Greece had a "major role" to play in the stabilization of the region after the end of the war in Yugoslavia.

    During his meeting with Mr. Verheugen, Mr. Kranidiotis stressed the Greek government's support for the initiative of the German EU presidency for a Balkan Stability Pact which, he added, was based on a number of Greek ideas.

    Mr. Verheugen said he had relayed the German government's " great respect and appreciation for the stance of the Greek government which, located as it is in this difficult and sensitive region, is acting with a high sense of responsibility..."

    "Greece has the greatest experience in the region and borders with Albania, a country which plays a key role in the Stabilization Pact. We believe that Greece can play a major role in promoting and implementing the pact and, as Mr. Kranidiotis stressed, it is willing to do so," the German official said.

    [18] ANOTHER ROUND OF NATO RAIDS POUND YUGOSLAVIA IN THE NIGHT

    NATO aircraft continued to pound Yugoslavia last night, targeting northern and central Kosovo, Pancevo's industrial zone, fuel depots and television transmitters in the cities of Voivodina and Nis. According to Yugoslav press reports, there are victims, although the number has yet to be specified.

    Meanwhile, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is conduct a visit to Beijing where he will hold talks with political leaders. The President of FYROM Kiro Gligorov has forwarded a letter to his Yugoslav counterpart Slobodan Milosevic wherein he states that he will not allow the passage of NATO troops through his country in case of ground operations against Kosovo.

    [19] YELTSIN DISMISSES PRIMAKOV FROM PREMIER'S POST

    Following a 20-minute meeting held in the Kremlin this morning, Russian President Boris Yeltsin dismissed Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov from his duties by a decree, appointing Mr. Primakov's first deputy and interior minister, Sergei Stepashin.

    "Today, I made a difficult decision -- I dismissed Yevgeny Primakov from his position of the chairman of the government," Mr. Yeltsin said in a statement released by his press service.

    "The government has accomplished a tactical task set for it in full. However the situation in the economy is not improving. Today, as nine months ago, the question about an economic strategy still remains open," the Russian President noted.

    [20] RUSSIA: PROSPECTS OF YELTSIN'S IMPEACHMENT REMAIN THE SAME

    The Speaker of the Russian Duma, Gennady Seleznyov, has blasted Yevgeni Primakov's dismissal as "the biggest mistake the President (Boris Yeltsin) could have made," adding that the prospects of Mr. Yeltsin's impeachment by the State Duma lower house of parliament "remain the same as before the sacking of Primakov."

    According to Russian press reports, the Duma must confirm the incoming premier in office. Should deputies reject the nomination three times, parliament is dissolved and new elections are called.

    The president may dissolve parliament if he appoints a replacement to Primakov whose candidacy fails to win confirmation by deputies.

    Parliament, however, insists the president loses his right to dissolve parliament once impeachment proceedings are launched, and it could be up to the usually pro-Yeltsin Constitutional Court to rule on the issue.

    [21] GREECE AND MOROCCO SIGN AIR TRANSPORT AGREEMENT

    Greece and Morocco have signed an air transport agreement, allowing for the free movement of passengers, cargo and mail between the two countries, according to the Greek Transport and Communications Ministry.

    The agreement was signed in Rabat by Greece's Transport and Communications Minister Tassos Mantelis and his Moroccan counterpart Mustafa Mansouri.

    The two ministers underlined their countries' interest for further development of bilateral relation in all sectors of transport, and particularly in advancing combined transports in the framework of the development of European- Mediterranean cooperation, the ministry said.

    [22] ASHES OF CHINESE EMBASSY JOURNALISTS AIRLIFTED TO BEIJING

    The ashes of the three Chinese embassy staff members who were killed in Belgrade during one of NATO's strikes have been airlifted to Beijing, along with about 20 Chinese nationals who were wounded during the air raid.

    Shao Yunhuan, 48, correspondent of the Xinhua news agency, Xu Xinghu, 31, correspondent of the Guangming Ribao, and his wife Zhu Ying, were killed by a missile attack which NATO officials said was a mistake.

    [23] UNHCR COLLABORATES WITH MICROSOFT ON REFUGEE REGISTRATION

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will work with Microsoft in order to deliver computer support for urgently needed refugee registration in Albania.

    According to a UNHCR announcement, the collaboration effort will also involve Microsoft's partners, namely Compaq, Hewlett- Packard, Security World Ltd. and ScreenCheck B.V.

    The new registration system will provide relief agencies with a tool to registering refugees quickly, issuing new identification documents, and facilitate the reunification of separated families. UNHCR said the first phase of the registration will begin on 17 May while the final phase, including issuance of identity cards, will commence in early June.

    More than 400,000 Kosovars have crossed the border into Albania in the past six weeks and the majority have been stripped of all identification, according to UNHCR. Many have been separated from their families.

    "We are very impressed with the generous and quick response by Microsoft and its partners", said High Commissioner Sadako Ogata. "Without their help the registration exercise would be substantially more difficult," she added.

    [24] ALLEGED SECRET US ARMS EMBARGO ON GREECE IS REVEALED BY A TURKISH NEWSPAPER

    Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet writes about an alleged "secret arms embargo" that has been imposed on Greece by the United States.

    Citing information from the US capital, the newspaper maintains that Washington adopted this position without making any formal statements on the issue, because US president Clinton and his government are outraged by Greece's pro-Serb stance.

    According to the Turkish newspaper, the United States have suspended the delivery of weapons systems to Greece with a total value of 1.1. billion US dollars.

    Among the weapons systems that are not being delivered, according to Cumhuriyet, are four Patriot missiles' batteries that were ordered by Greece to reinforce its defense.

    [25] ECEVIT: NATO WILL USE TURKISH AIRPORTS FOR THE OPERATIONS AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA

    Turkish prime minister Bulent Ecevit confirmed that NATO will use Turkish airports for its operations against Yugoslavia. Responding to a question by a reporter, on whether the NATO aircraft that will take off from Turkey will be used in the bombing of Yugoslavia, he said that this is not clear yet and it is still under discussion.

    NATO, which plans to further expand the air strikes in Yugoslavia, has asked from Turkey and Hungary for their permission to use their airports and Turkey has already responded positively to the request.

    [26] SOLANA: THE AIR ATTACKS AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA WILL CONTINUE

    NATO secretary-general Javier Solana reiterated from Tirana today the alliance's decision to continue the air strikes against Yugoslavia.

    In statements he made immediately after his meeting with Albanian president Redzep Meidani, Mr. Solana stressed that NATO's air attacks against Yugoslavia will continue until there is an end to the ethnic cleansing committed by Milosevic in Kosovo.

    Mr. Solana reiterated that Albania has the backing of NATO underlining that the alliance will not allow Albania's territorial integrity to be at risk.

    [27] NEW POLITICAL CRISIS IN RUSSIA

    Russia faces a new political crisis after the dismissal of prime minister Gevgeni Primakov and his government by president Boris Yeltsin.

    The Russian president appointed interior minister Sergei Stepasin to the post of the prime minister and asked the Lower House of Parliament to ratify his decision. Parliament speaker Genadi Selesniov stated that Yeltsin made a very serious mistake that opens the door for his own impeachment by the Duma. The discussion on the issue will open tomorrow.

    In his statement president Yeltsin mentions that Gevgeni Primakov was dismissed because he failed to improve the economic situation of the country.

    [28] TALBOT'S CONTACTS IN MOSCOW

    Russian president Boris Yeltsin announced that his country will stop the diplomatic efforts for the settlement of the crisis in Kosovo if the new proposals he will submit do not have a positive response by the NATO countries.

    Meanwhile, US assistant secretary of state Strobe Talbot met in Moscow with Igor Ivanov, while he will also have contacts with Russian mediator Victor Chernomyrdin and president Boris Yeltsin.

    German chancellor Gerhard Schroder is in Peking for meetings with the Chinese leadership. China lifted the demand it submitted to the UN for the condemnation of the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade and now it wants to be disapproved.

    [29] THE GREEK PRESIDENT CONTINUES HIS VISIT TO ARMENIA

    The talks of Greek president Kostis Stephanopoulos with his Armenian counterpart Mr. Kotsaryan continued today in a friendly atmosphere.

    Later, at noon were signed agreements in the presence of the two presidents aimed at avoiding double taxation and at further improving cooperation in the customs sector.

    Also, there was an exchange of ratification documents concerning a friendship agreement and a consulate cooperation agreement.

    In a joint press conference, Mr. Kotsaryan stated that they discussed issues of mutual interest, issues concerning the region of Caucasus as well as matters concerning the region of the Balkans and stressed that Greece is a key-country for the promotion of Armenia's positions in the international institutions. The president of Armenia also said that it was very significant the fact that Mr. Stephanopoulos was accompanied by a business delegation that held contacts aimed at the further development of bilateral trade and economic relations. He also said that Greece and Armenia share the same views and there are no differences between the two countries.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos reiterated that bilateral relations are at an excellent level and added that the wish of both sides is to further develop the economic, trade and cultural relations, while he also stated that he invited Mr. Kotsaryan to visit Greece.

    The Greek president also visited the Armenian Genocide Museum outside the city of Yerevan, built in the memory of the 1,5 million Armenians massacred by the Turks.


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