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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-01-18

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, January 18, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION BOARD MEETS IN THESSALONIKI
  • [02] DUTCH PRIME MINISTER CONDUCTS OFFICIAL VISIT TO GREECE
  • [03] GREEK FM TO VISIT TURKEY ON JANUARY 20
  • [04] PREMIER: DRACHMA REVALUATION CONFIRMS OUR POLICY
  • [05] GREEK-ITALIAN COOPERATION IN BALKANS
  • [06] INTERBALKAN COOPERATION CENTER DISCUSSES S.E. EUROPE
  • [07] CAB DRIVERS EMBARK ON 48-HOUR STRIKE TODAY
  • [08] PHANTOM WRECKAGE LOCATED THIS MORNING
  • [09] BRITISH DEFENSE SECRETARY MEETS WITH GREEK COUNTERPART
  • [10] CZECH FIRMS IN SEARCH OF GREEK INVESTORS
  • [11] MEETING IN KOZANI ON THE PROSPECTS OF DEVELOPMENT IN SE EUROPE
  • [12] PAPANTONIOU: THE REVALUATION OF THE DRACHMA IS A HISTORIC EVENT
  • [13] THE DRACHMA REVALUATION IS A CONFIRMATION OF THE GOOD STATE OF THE ECONOMY
  • [14] EARTHQUAKE MEASURING 3.7 IN ATHENS
  • [15] THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE HAD LOSSES OF 2.31%
  • [16] THE SIMITIS-KOK MEETING WAS HELD IN A POSITIVE CLIMATE
  • [17] THE GREEK ARMY WILL HOST 80 ROMANIANS OF GREEK ORIGIN
  • [18] THE DEFENSE MINISTERS OF GREECE AND BRITAIN MET IN ATHENS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [19] CROATIA HOSTS MEETING ON ADRIATIC -IONIAN MOTORWAY
  • [20] EU COMMISSION SET TO APPROVE GREECE'S CONVERGENCE PLAN
  • [21] 59 PEOPLE ARE MISSING IN A SEA ACCIDENT IN THE ADRIATIC
  • [22] CYPRUS WILL EXAMINE THE LIKELIHOOD OF PROMOTING DIRECT TALKS WITH ANKARA
  • [23] UN: RESTORATION WORK WILL BEGIN IN TWO MONUMENTS IN CYPRUS
  • [24] THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION ADOPTED THE RATIFIED CONVERGENCE PLAN FOR THE GREEK ECONOMY

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION BOARD MEETS IN THESSALONIKI

    The Balkan Reconstruction Organization held its first board session in Thessaloniki yesterday, where the 19-member delegation gave the go-ahead for the upgrade of the Task Force Kosovo (TASKO), to a Reconstruction Organization.

    French EU official Iger Migarelli was appointed as TASKO's head, replacing Marco Franco, and will be assigned with the allocation of 240 million euros in European Union funds for reconstruction projects in Kosovo. Eight percent of the said funds will be absorbed by the organization's operational costs in Thessaloniki.

    Serbia could benefit from the aforementioned aid, provided it abides by the sine qua non condition that it shifts into a democratic mode.

    EU Commissioner Fabricio Barbaso, who chaired yesterday's session replacing his counterpart Chris Patten, stressed that "Serbia will receive community aid provided that it is led by a democratic leadership.

    " Nevertheless," he added, "even if Slobodan Milosevic is reelected through free elections, Serbia will not receive the aid if the said individual does not govern the country with democratic principles. What is significant is not only the democratic means through which the new leadership will be elected, but, more importantly, how democratically (this leader) will govern."

    Outlining the Organization's priorities, Mr. Migarelli stated that the first phase will deal with the projects to be funded, whose assignment will be conducted through bids posted on the Internet and other media.

    Moreover, the Organization will form ad hoc committees which will overview the bidding process.

    The Organization will also proceed to the establishment of business centers in those countries where the reconstruction is underway. In addition to Kosovo, such "satellites" are expected to be established in Montenegro and Croatia. Mr. Migarelli also stated that the Organization will also be present in Albania and FYROM.

    Greece's alternate Foreign Minster Christos Rokofyllos, also attending the board session, stated that "the Organization's establishment in Thessaloniki began with an initiative taken by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and we wish to see its continuance since it constitutes the optimal road for peaceful co-existence in the Balkans."

    The Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Yiannis Magriotis attended the session and referred to the benefits to be enjoyed by Thessaloniki from the Organization's establishment and operation.

    [02] DUTCH PRIME MINISTER CONDUCTS OFFICIAL VISIT TO GREECE

    Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok is presently conducting an official visit to Greece, where he will hold talks with his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis.

    Messrs. Kok and Simitis will discuss issues pertaining to the European Union, employment and Greece's economic and monetary union prospects in the wake of last weekend's revaluation of the drachma.

    Moreover, the two premiers will discuss the Stability Pact for southeast Europe and bilateral relations.

    [03] GREEK FM TO VISIT TURKEY ON JANUARY 20

    Foreign Minister George Papandreou is to conduct a two-day visit to Turkey on January 20, embarking on a round of diplomatic contacts throughout Europe.

    While in Ankara, Mr. Papandreou is expected to sign a series of agreements prepared within the framework of Turkish-Greek dialogue. According to press reports, the agreements cover terrorism, economy, trade, tourism, science, technological cooperation, cooperation in the fields of culture, environment, preservation of investments, maritime, and energy.

    The Foreign Minister will be accompanied by a delegation of Greek businessmen, among them the chairman of the Greek-Turkish Business Council.

    [04] PREMIER: DRACHMA REVALUATION CONFIRMS OUR POLICY

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis has hailed the European Union's decision to revalue the Greek drachma against the euro, by stating that the move confirms the major steps taken to stabilize the economy and boost growth.

    Addressing the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry last night, Mr. Simitis stated that "we will persevere in the same direction in order to attain greater prosperity and more social justice.

    "We are succeeding and for this reason we can be optimistic. Greece is changing its image."

    The European Union's monetary committee on Saturday gave the drachma a new central parity of 340.750 to the euro in the exchange rate mechanism (ERM), representing a revaluation of 3.5%.

    [05] GREEK-ITALIAN COOPERATION IN BALKANS

    Greece can serve as a catalyst in the process of including the Balkan region into Europe, stated the undersecretary of National Economy Rodoula Zisi during her address before the Fifth Greek-Italian symposium held in Athens last night.

    The chairman of Italian Industries Giorgio Fossa stressed that the Balkan reconstruction provides both countries with the opportunity to boost their ties, while the chairman of the Greek Industries Association Jason Stratos stated that action should be expedited in order to provide the country with the needed mobility that will offer development opportunities.

    Moreover, Mr. Fossa saluted the Greek government's efforts in revitalizing and stabilizing the country's economy, a position shared by the Italian Republican Party's secretary general and former eurodeputy Giorgio la Malfa.

    [06] INTERBALKAN COOPERATION CENTER DISCUSSES S.E. EUROPE

    The Inter-Balkan Cooperation Center is to host a conference title "The New Order in the Region of Southeast Europe and the Development Opportunities of the Kozani Prefecture", in the city of Kozani this Thursday, January 20.

    Among those taking part in the conference are the trade attaches of the liaison bureaus of Albania, FYROM, F.R. Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Romania, who will present addresses and meet with local businessmen.

    [07] CAB DRIVERS EMBARK ON 48-HOUR STRIKE TODAY

    Greece's taxi drivers embarked on a 48-hour strike at 5 a.m. today, in protest to a pertinent draft bill proposed by the Ministry of Transportation.

    A limited numbers of cabs will operate during the strike in order to serve health emergencies.

    [08] PHANTOM WRECKAGE LOCATED THIS MORNING

    The Greek air force has located wreckage believed to be from the Phantom aircraft that disappeared from the radar yesterday morning while conducting a training flight.

    The wreckage was spotted southeast of Mt. Parnassos, during this morning's search and rescue mission. The F-4 Phantom, with two pilots on board, disappeared while flying between Tanagra and Skyros.

    [09] BRITISH DEFENSE SECRETARY MEETS WITH GREEK COUNTERPART

    Britain's defense secretary, Geoffrey Hoon, called for expanded cooperation in defense projects with Greece, during a meeting with his Greek counterpart Akis Tsochatzopoulos in Athens.

    Messrs. Hoon and Tsochatzopoulos toured the state-run Hellenic Vehicle Industry SA, (ELVO) yesterday which Greece is seeking to privatize. According to press reports, a buyout offer for ELBO could be made by Britain's Vickers Defense Systems, which is seeking to sell its Challenger 2E tanks to Greece.

    [10] CZECH FIRMS IN SEARCH OF GREEK INVESTORS

    Greek investors are a hot commodity for dozens of the 800 Czech firms which have expressed their interest in participating in Balkan reconstruction projects, especially in the sectors of energy, transportation and mechanical construction.

    The bases for Greek-Czech economic cooperation have already been laid, through a memorandum signed last week in London between the foreign ministers of Greece and the Czech Republic.

    According to the Czech Foreign Minister, the Czech firms feature the necessary "know how" and have maintained the needed contacts for entering the Balkan market, yet they lack the necessary credits.

    The Czech official stated that cooperation with Greece could boost similar agreements with other European Union member-states, such as Norway which has expressed an interest in the region.

    [11] MEETING IN KOZANI ON THE PROSPECTS OF DEVELOPMENT IN SE EUROPE

    A meeting on the new facts established in the region of south- eastern Europe and the development prospects in the prefecture of Kozani, north-western Greece will be held on Thursday organized by the Center of Inter-Balkan Cooperation.

    Invited to attend the meeting are the economic and trade affairs attaches of Albania, FYROM, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Romania who will speak in the conference and have contacts with local businessmen.

    [12] PAPANTONIOU: THE REVALUATION OF THE DRACHMA IS A HISTORIC EVENT

    The revaluation of the drachma was characterized as a historic event by minister of national economy and finance Yiannos Papantoniou attributed to the positive course of the Greek economy.

    Speaking on the Athens radio station "Flash", Mr. Papantoniou pointed out that the revaluation of the drachma to the Euro will have a positive effect on inflation, while the Greek people will enjoy lower prices in a number of imported goods and services. He also stressed that another positive result of the revaluation will be the interest rates cuts avoiding however, to determine the time of their de-escalation.

    [13] THE DRACHMA REVALUATION IS A CONFIRMATION OF THE GOOD STATE OF THE ECONOMY

    The revaluation of the central exchange rate of the drachma to the Euro constitutes a confirmation of the good course of the Greek economy, underlined the undersecretary of finance in an interview with the Athens radio station "Flash".

    Mr. Nikos Christodoulakis stated that the decision on Greece's participation in the EMU will be reached in June based on the timetable set. The undersecretary of finance also suggested patience concerning the bank interest rate de-escalation course.

    [14] EARTHQUAKE MEASURING 3.7 IN ATHENS

    A weak earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale was recorded this morning and its epicenter was located in Mount Parnitha, near Athens. The tremor was especially felt in the northern suburbs of the Greek capital.

    Seismologists place the tremor within the framework of the aftershock activity of the September 7 earthquake.

    [15] THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE HAD LOSSES OF 2.31%

    The Athens Stock Exchange had losses of 2.31% today and closed at 5.238,29 points, while the volume of transactions was at 280,9 billion drachmas.

    Strong pressures were exerted on the stock prices as soon as the session opened as investors proceeded to liquidation intensified in the last minutes of the session.

    [16] THE SIMITIS-KOK MEETING WAS HELD IN A POSITIVE CLIMATE

    The decisions of the Helsinki EU Summit meeting and the situation created in view of the Lisbon Summit meeting on March 23 were discussed in Athens by Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis and his visiting Dutch counterpart Vim Kok. Both leaders characterized their meeting as very positive, while Mr. Simitis underlined the need for further development of the Greek exports to Holland.

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis stated that they discussed economic issues, matters concerning the next inter-governmental conference, economic cooperation and issues concerning the Helsinki EU Summit decisions. The prime minister also stressed that Greece and Holland want the adoption of regulations within the European Union that will allow the two countries to express their views and affect the developments.

    On the occasion of the European Council summit meeting that will be held in the second half of the year, Mr. Simitis pointed out that an intensified effort is needed for solutions to be found in the issues concerning employment.

    The Dutch prime minister expressed satisfaction and admiration for the steps made by the Greek government in the sector of economy which brought the country closer to joining the European Economic and Monetary Union, EMU. He characterized the Greek government's stance in Helsinki as absolutely positive and praised the stance of prime minister Kostas Simitis and foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou, while on the prospects for Turkey's EU membership he said that they will depend on whether Ankara will meet the necessary criteria or not. To the question on the Cyprus problem, he responded that Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash and Turkey must display their will for the solution of the problem.

    Earlier in the morning, the Dutch prime minister was received by president Kostis Stephanopoulos, while he was scheduled to meet with right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis this afternoon.

    [17] THE GREEK ARMY WILL HOST 80 ROMANIANS OF GREEK ORIGIN

    Forty Greeks from Romania arrived in Athens today. They will be hosted in the army officers vacation resort of St. Andreas, near Athens, while other 40 Romanians of Greek origin are expected to arrive on January 21.

    The initiative to invite them to Greece belongs to undersecretary of defense Dimitris Apostolakis. They will stay in Greece until February 4 and the general army staff has scheduled for them visits to tourist and archaeological sites, while they will be offered free medical tests in military hospitals in the region of Athens.

    [18] THE DEFENSE MINISTERS OF GREECE AND BRITAIN MET IN ATHENS

    The prospects of cooperation between Greece and Britain in armaments programs were discussed in Athens by the ministers of defense of the two countries Akis Tsochatzopoulos and Jeffrey Hoon. The discussion also focused on the situation in the region of the Balkans.

    The British secretary of defense characterized as mature the stance adopted by Greece in the Helsinki EU Summit meeting, while Mr. Tsochatzopoulos thanked Britain for its contribution to the European Union decision on the need for Cyprus' smooth EU accession course even without the earlier solution of the political problem on the island.

    Also, Mr. Hoon expressed the interest of his country in supplying the Greek armed forces with 250 new armored tanks. The Greek side examines the British proposal as well as the proposals tabled by other countries, while it has been made clear that its final choice will be based on the terms proposed and the co- production percentage in the construction of a new armored tank by the Greek Vehicle Industry.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [19] CROATIA HOSTS MEETING ON ADRIATIC -IONIAN MOTORWAY

    A preparatory meeting of experts on the Adriatic-Ionian motorway was held in the southern Croatian town of Dubrovnik, yesterday, featuring the participation of 20 delegations of countries and international organizations engaged in the project.

    The event, organized by Croatia's Foreign Ministry, was held to establish what has been done so far and stimulate a more organized approach to the project so that more concrete steps are made in the construction of the motorway, which should link all countries along the eastern Adriatic coast from Italy to Greece.

    According to the news agency HINA, the idea about the construction of this road was launched a year ago at a Croatian- Greek ministerial meeting in Athens. The motorway will be a 1,200- kilometre-long road running from Trieste to the town of Igumenica, Greece, and a 570-kilometre-long section should pass through Croatia.

    The project was presented together by Croatia, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Slovenia, and Albania at the first session of a working table for economic recovery, development, and cooperation within the Stability Pact for South-East Europe, held in Bari on 9 October 1999.

    According to press reports, the participants in yesterday's meeting stated that they had agreed to form an expert group which would draw up economic and traffic analyses for the further study of the project within the Stability Pact. The group will be open to all international organizations and countries wishing to observe or participate in the implementation of the project.

    It will be chaired by Croatia and its other members will be Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania and Montenegro.

    An assistant to Croatia's foreign minister, Vladimir Drobnjak, said today's session did not have only economic but also political significance, as it was the first time for this region to send a joint message to all participants in the Stability Pact, the entire international community and international investment circles that it was very interested in the Adriatic-Ionian motorway and that all countries in the region were ready to work together in the implementation of this ambitious project.

    [20] EU COMMISSION SET TO APPROVE GREECE'S CONVERGENCE PLAN

    The European Commission, convening in Strasbourg today, is expected to approve Greece's 1999-2002 convergence plan, as the country has attained four of the five criteria for nominal convergence and is confident that that of inflation - the only one remaining - will have fallen into line by March at the latest.

    According to assessments expressed by EU officials, Greece's convergence program is based on macro-economic projections that display increased activity in the investments sector and a satisfactory price stability.

    [21] 59 PEOPLE ARE MISSING IN A SEA ACCIDENT IN THE ADRIATIC

    The Albanian public opinion is shocked by the sea accident in the Adriatic revealed by the Albanian newspapers which mention that 59 people are missing. According to press reports, a speedboat packed with people left the Albanian port of Vlore last December for the Italian coasts.

    Yesterday, however, according to the newspaper "Sekouli", parts of a shipwreck belonging to that specific speedboat were located 11 miles off the coasts of the Albanian island Sasona, while a body was recovered from the sea by the Italian Coast Guard. No official announcement on the accident has been issued so far by the Albanian authorities.

    [22] CYPRUS WILL EXAMINE THE LIKELIHOOD OF PROMOTING DIRECT TALKS WITH ANKARA

    The Cypriot government will promote moves for direct talks with Ankara when it concludes that there is fertile ground for this, according to Cypriot government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou who made the statement when he was called to comment on the interview given yesterday by foreign minister Yiannakis Kasoulides in which he expressed his readiness to hold talks with Ankara.

    The Cypriot government spokesman also stated that in the present stage there have been no moves for the promotion of such contacts, adding that from time to time all the Cypriot governments have expressed the wish for talks with Ankara.

    [23] UN: RESTORATION WORK WILL BEGIN IN TWO MONUMENTS IN CYPRUS

    The United Nations announced that the restoration work on two very important cultural monuments in Cyprus namely, the Apostle Andreas Monastery and the Hala Sultan mosque, will start soon characterizing it as a very constructive step forward, which is in agreement with the spirit of the new year.

    The spokesman of the UN secretary-general gave Mr. Annan's statement to publicity yesterday in which is mentioned that the UN Development Program in cooperation with the United States undertook the first phase of the restoration work on two important cultural monuments in the island after consultations with the responsible institutions of both sides in Cyprus.

    [24] THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION ADOPTED THE RATIFIED CONVERGENCE PLAN FOR THE GREEK ECONOMY

    The European Commission that met in Strasbourg today adopted the ratified convergence plan of the Greek economy with those of the rest European countries for the year 2000.

    The German finance ministry spokesman stated that based on the achievements of the Greek government in the sector of the adjustment of its economy, Greece must join the European Economic and Monetary Union, EMU as soon as possible.


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