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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-01-21

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 20, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] LABOR MINISTERS FROM 11 COUNTRIES MEET IN THESSALONIKI
  • [02] THESSALONIKI TO HOST BALKAN INFO-TECH FORUM
  • [03] INTERBALKAN COOPERATION CENTER DISCUSSES S.E. EUROPE
  • [04] IOC TEAM TO VISIT ATHENS THIS MONTH
  • [05] LONG DISTANCE CALLS TO BE REDUCED
  • [06] RIO-ANTIRIO SUSPENSION BRIDGE TO BE WORLD'S LONGEST
  • [07] GREEK AND TURKISH MAYORS TO MEET
  • [08] PM, DEFENSE AND ECONOMY MINISTERS MEET TODAY
  • [09] REPPAS: THE PAPANDREOU VISIT WAS HELD IN A POSITIVE CLIMATE
  • [10] ALEXANDROUPOLIS-ISTANBUL RAILWAY LINE
  • [11] MR. SIMITIS' SPEECH ON HUMAN RIGHTS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [12] FM CONDUCTS VISIT TO ANKARA
  • [13] TURKISH PM INVITES GREEK COUNTERPART TO VISIT
  • [14] EU PROGRAM AIMS AT COMBATING DISCRIMINATION AT WORK
  • [15] AEGEAN PHOTOGRAPHS EXHIBITION OPENS IN WASHINGTON
  • [16] GREEK FM's VISIT TO ANKARA HAILED AS "HISTORIC"
  • [17] SECTION OF THESSALONIKI-SKOPJE OIL PIPELINE IS READY
  • [18] ALBANIAN PROPOSAL THROUGH MPA ON THE GUARDING OF BORDERS
  • [19] PAPANDREOU: THE DIPLOMACY OF THE PEOPLE GAVE A BOOST TO THE GREEK-TURKISH RELATIONS
  • [20] ALBRIGHT: THE US GOAL IS TO SECURE PEACE IN THE AEGEAN AND OTHER REGIONS
  • [21] PAPANDREOU-CEM JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE
  • [22] GREEK-ROMANIAN COOPERATION IN THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] LABOR MINISTERS FROM 11 COUNTRIES MEET IN THESSALONIKI

    The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Royaumont process are co-organizing a two-day conference in Thessaloniki on January 21-22, themed after democratization and the application of the Stability Pact in Southeastern Europe.

    The meeting, jointly funded by the European Commission and Greece's Ministry of National Economy, will feature an exchange of views among the representatives of the various economic and social groups partaking in the Royaumont process.

    Specifically, the conference will focus on three issues:

    n Citizens society and social dialogue as the premise of economic and social development. n Process of modernizing the region's economic and social structures. n Means and process for the strengthening of economic and social organizations in Southeast European countries.

    The conference will be inaugurated on January 21 by the president of EESC, Beatrice Rangoni Machiavelli, while the president of EESC's Greek chapter, professor Andreas Kintis, will also salute the delegates. Greece's Minister of Labor and Social Security Miltiades Papantoniou will declare the opening of the conference, while Portuguese Ambassador F. Santiago, standing in for his country's Foreign Minister Jaime Gama, will be the keynote speaker, followed by Jos Chabert, the vice-president of the Committee of the Regions.

    The first session, presided over by Panayiotis Roumeliotis, will concern social dialogue as the basis of economic and social development.

    The second session, presided over by Eurodeputy Christos Folias, will address the economic and social reforms in the region.

    The theme of the third session will be the strengthening of economic and social institutions in the countries-members of the Royaumont process.

    The first day's fourth - and final - session will review the conclusions reached and will result in an action plan to be presented,

    On January 22, the conference's second day, the labor ministers of the participating countries will convene privately in order to review the resolutions and conclusions drawn during the conference, while they are expected to adopt an action plan and sign a declaration of principles.

    The represented countries are: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, FYROM, Hungary, Russia, Slovenia, Turkey and the United States.

    Referring to the conference's aim, Mr. Kintis stated that it is primarily political.

    "The conference is unique in the sense that it features not only the social institutions of the Royaumont process countries, but political officials as well.

    " As such, the conference will not stay at a political level, it will feature a specific action plan, whose guidelines are to approved during the course of the conference."

    [02] THESSALONIKI TO HOST BALKAN INFO-TECH FORUM

    The European Union's executive Commission has endorsed a proposal submitted by the Association of Northern Greek Information Technology Companies for holding a second Balkan conference in Thessaloniki .

    The EU-funded conference is set to take place in the second quarter of 2000 in Thessaloniki.

    The Association has stated that the decision to hold a second Balkan info-tech conference in the northern port city, is an advance in its plan to create a permanent agency in Thessaloniki on information technology for the Balkans.

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

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

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

    [04] IOC TEAM TO VISIT ATHENS THIS MONTH

    A delegation of officials from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are to arrive in Athens on January 26 in order to review the preparations for the 2004 Olympics to be held in Athens.

    According to official reports, 75 percent of the sports facilities for the Olympic Games have been completed, with the Olympic Village, a media center and some sports venues remaining to be built.

    [05] LONG DISTANCE CALLS TO BE REDUCED

    Long distance and international calls are to become cheaper as of February 1, according to the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (E).

    The cost of long-distance and international calls will be reduced by 10.6 percent and 11 percent respectively, while the price of local calls will remain the same (seven drachmas per minute).

    Petrol prices have been reduced as well, with the price of super petrol having been cut by 3.9 drachmas per liter, unleaded by four drachmas, heating oil by 6.3 drachmas (for quantities of more than 1,000 liters) and diesel by nine drachmas per liter.

    [06] RIO-ANTIRIO SUSPENSION BRIDGE TO BE WORLD'S LONGEST

    Once completed, the Rio-Antirio suspension bridge across the Gulf of Corinth, which will link northwestern Greece with the Peloponnese in the south, is to be the world's longest with a span of 2,883 meters, including 2,252 meters over the water.

    Work is well underway on the gigantic project, which has been under construction since July 1998 by a French-Greek consortium. The consortium, named Gefyra (Greek for bridge'), brings together French public works conglomerate Dumez and the Suez- Lyonnaise des Eaux (GTM) group on the one hand, with six Greek companies on the other.

    The bridge, which was originally thought to be technically impossible to build, is designed to be earthquake and hurricane- proof and is expected to be copied by other earthquake-prone countries, such as Japan, according to Gilles de Maublanc, director of the consortium.

    The project's technical director Panayotis Papanicolas, said that the main problems were instability of the seabed, a high risk of earthquakes and the often very strong winds affecting the region.

    "We first began consolidating the seabed, which consists of clay, and, in some parts, sand and mud," he said.

    "We studied quake records back to the 19th century. Most of the earthquakes recorded more than six on the open-ended Richter scale. One of them, on June 15, 1995, killed 26 people and registered 6.5 on Richter," he added.

    Another problem, according to Mr. Papanicolas, was that the Rio shore moves 8 millimeters (0.32 inch) away from Antirion, every year.

    "We therefore designed a bridge capable of tolerating play of about two meters (seven feet) between two pillars. It must also be capable of withstanding winds of 265 kilometers an hour (150 mph), or hurricane strength", he said albeit pointing out that such winds had never been recorded in the region.

    The bridge will be suspended from five huge pillars, 560 meters apart, built on undersea platforms, each having a diameter of 90 meters.

    The project has been budgeted at 750 million euros, 40 percent of which will be financed by the Greek state, loans from the European Investment Bank (50 percent) and cash provided by the consortium itself (10 percent.)

    Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis has stated that the bridge will be a new door into Europe.

    "One will be able to go to Trieste and Europe through Albania and Montenegro, once a new road has been built."

    The bridge is expected to be commissioned in 2004 and Mr. Laliotis is hoping that the runners carrying the Olympic flame will be the first to cross the bridge in time for the Athens Olympics in the summer of 2004.

    [07] GREEK AND TURKISH MAYORS TO MEET

    Greek and Turkish mayors of western and eastern Thrace are to meet in the Turkish city of Marmara on January 24-25, a move that constitutes a positive and hope-filled step in Greek-Turkish relations.

    According to the mayor of the Greek city Sapes, Dinos Haritopoulos, the meeting is part of a series of initiatives that stem from what Foreign Minister George Papandreou has called "citizens diplomacy".

    Mr. Haritopoulos stated that this form of diplomacy does not replace the governments which handle state relations and safeguard national interests, but, rather, promotes the opportunities provided by the venue of understanding and friendship among two neighboring peoples.

    Moreover, Mr. Haritopoulos stated that this climate could lead to collaboration in the economic, tourism, cultural and sports sectors, which will bring on a climate of security in Thrace and, hence, will form the criteria for attracting investments.

    [08] PM, DEFENSE AND ECONOMY MINISTERS MEET TODAY

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis met with Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos and National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou today, where they discussed the country's five-year armaments program for the period of 2001-2005.

    The Government Council on Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA) is to meet tomorrow in order to discuss Greece's participation in the production of the Eurofighter, a final agreement for the purchase of more US-made F-16 fighter planes, as well as an agreement for the acquisition of French-made Mirage 2000-5 jetfighters and the upgrading of several of the air force's Mirage 2000s into Mirage 2000-5 fighters.

    [09] REPPAS: THE PAPANDREOU VISIT WAS HELD IN A POSITIVE CLIMATE

    The visit of foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou to Turkey take place in a very positive climate, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas.

    Mr. Reppas spoke of an impressive improvement in the climate of the Greek-Turkish relations and at the same time he pointed out that there should be no illusion that Turkey has changed its policy.

    The Greek government spokesman stated that Turkey must accept that the framework decided in Helsinki must be the basis for the development of the Greek-Turkish relations from now on and expressed the belief that Turkey will respond to this invitation.

    [10] ALEXANDROUPOLIS-ISTANBUL RAILWAY LINE

    The Greek Railways will launch the Alexandroupolis-Istanbul InterCity line tomorrow on the occasion of the visit of Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou to Ankara. On board the train will be the Greek Railways management, businessmen and journalists.

    This move is in response to the visit of the Train of Peace to Greece, while the Greek railways also want to contribute to the development of Greek-Turkish economic cooperation.

    [11] MR. SIMITIS' SPEECH ON HUMAN RIGHTS

    The recognition of human rights as a non negotiable global value was stressed by prime minister Kostas Simitis in his speech before the National Committee on human rights delivered today.

    Mr. Simitis stated that human rights that have to do with freedom and personal autonomy must be carefully reconsidered, stressing that now more than ever they have an essential political significance as a result of the globalization of the economy, the internationalization of markets, the progress in technology and the many changes in the world.

    He underlined that society must be mobilized for the support of human rights while he stressed the significance of the non governmental organizations.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [12] FM CONDUCTS VISIT TO ANKARA

    Minister of Foreign Affairs George Papandreou has embarked on two-day visit to Turkey as of today, the first Foreign Minister who pays an official visit to Turkey since 1962.

    The Foreign Minister is expected to meet with Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, Parliament Speaker Yildirim Aktuna and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit. Mr. Papandreou, who will be accompanied by a delegation of businessmen, parliamentarians, and journalists, will sign four bilateral agreements with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem. The said agreements concern issues of environment, tourism, terrorism, and protection of investments. Mesrs. Papandreou and Cem are also expected to discuss the results of dialogue which started between the two countries last July, as well as bilateral relations.

    Moreover, the two FMs are to undertake a common initiative concerning the Caucasus region, specifically pertaining to respecting borders and minority rights in Caucasus, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

    According to press reports, Mr. Papandreou will also travel to Istanbul where he will meet with Greek and Turkish businessmen.

    [13] TURKISH PM INVITES GREEK COUNTERPART TO VISIT

    Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has extended a formal invitation to his Greek counterpart Costas Simitis for a visit to Turkey.

    During a 30-minute meeting held this morning in Ankara between Mr. Ecevit and the visiting Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou, the Turkish PM stated that solutions need to be found in Greek-Turkish issues, as this would facilitate the resolution of the Cyprus issue.

    Conversely, Mr. Papandreou stated that a solution to the Cyprus issue should first be discovered, as this would assist in the handling of G/T issues.

    [14] EU PROGRAM AIMS AT COMBATING DISCRIMINATION AT WORK

    Following a proposal by Greek Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, the European Commission is reportedly scheduling a European Union initiative, known as "Equal", which concerns cooperation among the 15 EU member-states on combating discrimination in the workplace.

    Funding for the said initiative is reportedly secured by the European Social Fund with 2,847 million euros for the 2000-2006 period. The Commission will have the initiative finally ratified in early 2000 to enable the first invitation for plans to be submitted at the end of 2000.

    [15] AEGEAN PHOTOGRAPHS EXHIBITION OPENS IN WASHINGTON

    A photography exhibition titled "The Aegean: Images of Greece" will be inaugurated in Washington tomorrow by the general secretary of the Greek press ministry, Yannis Nikolaou.

    Eleven of Greece's best photographers have joined forces in displaying 160 photographs which depict the faces and landscapes of the Aegean, the birthplace of Greek civilization and a source of inspiration for writers and artists over the centuries.

    [16] GREEK FM's VISIT TO ANKARA HAILED AS "HISTORIC"

    Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou was warmly welcomed in Ankara, in a visit that has been cited by the Turkish press as "historic", the fist official visit by a Greek FM in 38 years.

    Welcoming his Greek counterpart at Ankara's Esenboga airport, Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem stated that "we hope, in fact we are sure, that it will not be such a long time before the next visit." During his stay, Mr. Papandreou is expected to sign a series of agreements for cooperation in fighting terrorism and organized crime, as well as agreements with regard to tourism, the environment and the protection of investments.

    "We need to take cautious steps so that this newborn optimism is established on solid ground," Mr. Papandreou said, adding that he plans to propose the re-activation of the ''committee of experts'', comprising officials from both countries, whose task is to work out ways of resolving disputes over boundaries in the Aegean.

    [17] SECTION OF THESSALONIKI-SKOPJE OIL PIPELINE IS READY

    A formal ceremony was held in Skopje today on the occasion of the construction of the first 10 kilometers of the Skopje- Thessaloniki oil pipeline.

    The Prime Minister of FYROM Lupco Georgievski attended the event, along with the Minister of Macedonia-Thrace Yiannis Magriotis. The general director of FYROM's OKTA oil refinery, 54% of which was recently acquired by Greece's oil refineries ELPE) was also present.

    The foundation of the oil pipeline was officially laid on November 10. Its construction is budgeted at $90 million and constitutes a part of ELPE's overall investment in Skopje, amounting to $182 million.

    The project, which is commissioned for completion in three years, will have a length of 230 kilometers and an annual transport capacity of 2.5 million metric tons of oil.

    [18] ALBANIAN PROPOSAL THROUGH MPA ON THE GUARDING OF BORDERS

    Albania's Christian-Democratic Party will request that the law on the guarding of borders be reconsidered, according to a statement made to MPA by its president Zef Busati.

    Mr. Busati stated that the Christian-Democratic Party of Albania will table a proposal in parliament suggesting that the borders be guarded by the Albanian armed forces and not by the forces of the ministry of public order.

    The leader of the Christian-Democrats in Albania also added that his party will call for a plenary session of the parliament to discuss the issue of illegal immigration.

    [19] PAPANDREOU: THE DIPLOMACY OF THE PEOPLE GAVE A BOOST TO THE GREEK-TURKISH RELATIONS

    The dynamics of the so-called "diplomacy of the people" developed after the devastating earthquakes that hit both countries last summer was underlined in Ankara by Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou in an interview with the English- speaking program of the BBC "The world today".

    Mr. Papandreou reiterated that Greece has only one difference with Turkey in the Aegean namely, the issue of the continental shelf, while he stated that he will seek in his talks with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem to give a new boost to the idea of holding meetings of specialists from both countries, the so-called "committees of the wise", who could prepare the ground in order to overcome any difference between Athens and Ankara in the future.

    The Greek foreign minister gave a special emphasis to the European prospect of Turkey after the decision to be a candidate for EU membership.

    [20] ALBRIGHT: THE US GOAL IS TO SECURE PEACE IN THE AEGEAN AND OTHER REGIONS

    The safeguarding of peace in the Aegean as well as in Caucasus, Northern Ireland and central Africa is among the immediate targets of the US foreign policy in the last year of president Clinton's administration.

    The above were stated by US secretary of state Madeleine Albright in her speech delivered in Washington's John Hopkins University in which she outlined the priorities of the US foreign policy. Among those priorities are included a stronger and enlarged NATO alliance ready to undertake new missions, the consolidation of peace in Kosovo, the democratization of south- eastern Europe and the effective control of weapons of mass destruction.

    Ms. Albright also stated that the United States will help especially four developing republics namely, Colombia, Nigeria, Indonesia and Ukraine which are capable of becoming major factors for the stability in their regions.

    [21] PAPANDREOU-CEM JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE

    Foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey Giorgos Papandreou and Ismail Cem signed four "low policy or common interest" agreements as they were characterized by Mr. Papandreou speaking to MPA.

    After the signing of the agreements the two ministers gave a joint press conference and referred to them as well as to those that will be signed early next month.

    The Turkish foreign minister spoke of a new beginning and a new era for the Greek-Turkish relations characterizing as especially productive the talks he had with Mr. Papandreou. He said that the different issues are being approached with sensitivity and care, while he spoke of a successful start. He praised Mr. Papandreou referring to his "personal wisdom" that characterizes him, while he also praised his contribution to the development of bilateral relations and stated that efforts will continue within this framework for their further development. He also said that everything achieved so far will contribute to the development of a climate of trust and security in the region.

    He also said that he suggested the establishment of a "security committee" which will be made-up of politicians and representatives of the military from both countries having as a goal to maintain the climate of security in the region and limit tensions.

    Mr. Papandreou from his side, spoke of the warm hospitality he was offered and referred to his Turkish counterpart on a first name basis. He stressed that step-by-step a dialogue has been built and more steps will be made within this framework. He said that this experience made them wiser and characterized the visit as a wonderful chance for the development of bilateral relations.

    Responding to questions on the Cyprus issue, the two ministers agreed that they disagree. They said that their views are different but they back the talks held under the auspices of the United Nations. Referring to the issue of the Aegean, Mr. Cem stated that the military exercises must be limited and that there should be an exchange of information. Mr. Papandreou stated that he will convey the proposals made by Mr. Cem to the ministry of defense and stressed that Cyprus can become a place of cooperation rather than conflict.

    [22] GREEK-ROMANIAN COOPERATION IN THE DEFENSE INDUSTRY

    Issues of bilateral cooperation in the sector of the defense industry were discussed in Bucharest by Greek undersecretary of national defense Dimitris Apostolakis and his Romanian counterpart Ion Mircea Plangu, while they also discussed issues of security in the Balkans as well as the situation in Kosovo.

    The two government officials expressed the joint intention of both countries for cooperation, while joint committees will be established in the sector of the defense industry to suggest the undertaking of initiatives.


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