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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-02-02

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, February 2, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] 2000 TOUTED AS YEAR OF US-GREEK COOPERATION
  • [02] PMs OF GREECE, ALBANIA, FYROM IN PRESPES TODAY
  • [03] TWO NEW CUSTOMS POSTS TO OPEN IN EVROS
  • [04] US ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE IN ATHENS
  • [05] EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARY CONFERENCE IN ATHENS
  • [06] THESSALONIKI METRO, STILL A LONG WAY FROM REALITY
  • [07] DEFENSE MINISTER ON FUTURE OF GREECE'S ARMS INDUSTRY
  • [08] PRESIDENT COMMENTS ON RE-ELECTION PROCESS
  • [09] SEX SURVEY: FIRST TIME NOT ALWAYS EARTH MOVING
  • [10] LEADING HIGH JUMP ATHLETES WILL MEET IN PATRAS
  • [11] INFLATION CONTINUES TO BE A PROBLEM FOR THE GREEK ECONOMY
  • [12] PAPANDREOU: NO PRESENTS ARE EXPECTED FROM THE CEM VISIT TO ATHENS
  • [13] GAINS OF 1.31% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [14] EARTHQUAKE OF 4.1 ON THE RICHTER SCALE IN SPORADES
  • [15] REPPAS ON THE CEM STATEMENTS REGARDING CYPRUS
  • [16] SIMITIS-GEORGIEVSKI-META AGREEMENT ON A BALKAN "DAVOS" IN LAKES PRESPES
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [17] GREECE, CYPRUS SIGN AIR TRANSPORT ACCORD
  • [18] MELBOURNE: REACTIONS TO THE CANCELLATION OF OA FLIGHTS
  • [19] DIMITROV: DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH CYPRUS UNDER PRE- CONDITIONS
  • [20] NEW BID FOR BKT BY OTE-KPN

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] 2000 TOUTED AS YEAR OF US-GREEK COOPERATION

    The US Department of Commerce will open a Commercial Service office in Thessaloniki in order to encourage investments in the Balkans and to assist companies in exploring commercial opportunities in the region, according to US Ambassador to Athens Nicholas Burns.

    In an interview with the Macedonian Press Agency, Mr. Burns stated that Washington regards Thessaloniki as the center of all US activities in the Balkans and Southeastern Europe, stressing that both countries "continue to be together" in Bosnia and Kosovo.

    "There's a lot (of things) that link our two governments," he stated, adding that "the year 2000 will be the year Greece and the United States will work together in the Balkans." Referring to Thessaloniki's role in regional trade, Mr. Burns stated that US firms are realizing the city's significance, since its location and advanced development render Thessaloniki a natural connection to the emerging democracies and markets of Southeastern Europe, as well as the fact the northern Greece's firms have the necessary experience in FYROM, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania and S.E. European countries. Moreover, Mr. Burns referred to the investment climate in northern Greece, noting that remarkable improvements have been achieved during the past decade.

    "American investors are aware of the reforms enforced by the (Greek) government and the ensuing successes. They see development, low inflation, privatization, there is a different reception to foreign investment. They feel that Greece is an attractive environment for investment, may that be in industry, tourism, or the marine industry where we enjoy continuous cooperaiotn," he stated.

    Furthermore, the US diplomat assessed that US-Greece trade transactions will have doubled by the end of the year, in comparison to 1997, adding that an increasing number of US key investors are inquiring with his office on investment opportunities in Greece.

    When asked to comment on US President Bill Clinton's view on the Cyprus issue, i.e. if he feels justified over the process achieved, Ambassador Burns responded that "we think there has been progress, as we presently are in the second round of proximity talks. However, we are affected by the obstacles and are aware that there is still a lot of work to be done."

    [02] PMs OF GREECE, ALBANIA, FYROM IN PRESPES TODAY

    Coinciding with World Wetlands Day, the prime ministers of Greece, Albania and FYROM will declare a 'Balkans Park' in the area of Prespes Lakes today, a Greek initiative aimed at the creation of an international protected region in the Balkans.

    Messrs. Costas Simitis, Ilir Meta and Liuptco Georgievski will issue a joint proclamation which will set out a series of activities aimed at maintaining the quality of the waters of the lakes, protecting wildlife and bio-diversity, the need to develop an integrated and sensitive approach to tourism in the area and the improvement, maintenance and promotion of traditional architecture and Byzantine and post-Byzantine monuments in the region.

    The park will extend into the territory of the three countries and will constitute a large, integrated natural reserve. The lakes of Mikri Prespa and Megali Prespa, Greece's largest national park, are situated in a mountainous, largely forested area which attracts a vast number of migratory birds, as well as having the richest biodiversity in Greece.

    [03] TWO NEW CUSTOMS POSTS TO OPEN IN EVROS

    Two new customs posts are to be established in northern Evros, according to Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoides who visited the region yesterday.

    The Minister referred to the region's sore issue, illegal immigration, and added that the region is also burdened with imported crime, and drug trafficking.

    "Judging by the performance of the customs police at the Greek-Bulgarian borders, I believe that the results of the border controls are to become evident to the Evros Prefecture's residents very soon," he stated, adding that police patrols will intensify as of today in Alexandroupolis and Orestiada.

    [04] US ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE IN ATHENS

    US assistant Secretary of State Thomas Pickering is to arrive in Athens today where he will an address on US policy in the Balkans and Greek-US cooperation.

    Presently on a Balkan tour, Mr. Pickering met with FYROM's Prime Minister Liupcko Georgievski whom he congratulated on his country's ethnic relations, which he characterized as "an example to follow".

    In a press conference in Skopje, Mr. Pickering stated that Washington is satisfied with the high degree of cooperation enjoyed among the parties of the coalition government, which includes an Albanian minority party.

    Concerning FYROM's participation in the Stability Pact for southeastern Europe, Mr. Pickering said that it is highly significant for the country's and the region's economic development and prosperity,

    [05] EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARY CONFERENCE IN ATHENS

    The second European Parliamentary Conference on information and communication technology is to begin in Athens tomorrow, featuring the participation of 50 deputies from the European Union's member-states, as well as deputies from countries presently under accession.

    The two-day conference will be inaugurated by the President of the Hellenic Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis while PASOk deputies Theodoros Katsanevas and Dimitrios Sarris are to jointly preside over the event.

    The conference will also be attended by two deputies from each Greek party represented in parliament.

    [06] THESSALONIKI METRO, STILL A LONG WAY FROM REALITY

    Thessaloniki's metro, a coveted project which has been long talked about and much longer dreamt of, is still a long way from becoming reality due to the government's "tremendous and unjustifiable delays", according to Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos.

    In an interview with the city's daily "Thessaloniki", Mr. Tsochatzopoulos did not hesitate to place the blame on bureaucratic red tape and political bickering, albeit he was quick to emphatically add that key phases of the project's construction will begin in June.

    "I believe that Thessaloniki's metro will have been completed in 5-6 years, from the moment its construction has begun," he stated, although he added that political processes need to be expedited in order to get the metro "off the ground".

    [07] DEFENSE MINISTER ON FUTURE OF GREECE'S ARMS INDUSTRY

    The state-run Hellenic Vehicle Industry SA, (ELVO), which Greece is seeking to privatize, is a monumental investment that has the potential to be rendered as one among equals in the ranks of Europe's defense industry, according to Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos.

    He said that the state aspires to overhaul ELVO into a giant investment that will ensure over two thousand jobs, for at least a ten-year span, which would mean that EU funds would trickle in as well.

    Particularly, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos said, ELVO's strong point is the tank production, with its newest "Centaurus" model already in the works.

    Concerning the future prospects of the country's defense industry, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos stated that that joint ventures constitute the focal point of the existing development plans.

    "All our neighbors, including the Hungarians and the Czechs, are getting ready to produce NATO-used material. We managed to get a 39% Greek industry participation in the projects we sign," he said, adding that "our plan is to proceed to co-production and cooperation and thus offer a cheaper and reliable joint production."

    Moreover, he added that in addition to the 13 regional programs already existing in the defense industry, he has proposed a 14th regional program for the Balkans, which would surpass all the previous ones in size.

    [08] PRESIDENT COMMENTS ON RE-ELECTION PROCESS

    Incumbent President Costis Stephanopoulos told journalists that it is feasible for one Parliament to elect the president and another to swear him in, but noted that this would most certainly amount to a "constitutional aberration''.

    President Stephanopoulos, who is expected to be re-elected in Parliament on February 8 and sworn in on March 11, was responding to a question of whether or not Parliament will be dissolved after his re-election, but prior to his oath-taking.

    [09] SEX SURVEY: FIRST TIME NOT ALWAYS EARTH MOVING

    One out of about every four Greek women (23.7) between the ages of 20-25 is still a virgin, but only one in about ten men 11.6%) of the same age group is committed to a "chastely state", according to a recent poll.

    The survey, conducted by the Hellenic Sexological Institute on a sample of 330 women and 500 men, revealed that the average age for the first time of intercourse is 18.8 years for women and 18 for men.

    Specifically, 71 of the women polled (23.7) stated that they had never had sex, while the remaining 229 had their first sexual encounter at a median age of 18.8 years. One hundred and thirty- one women (61.6) who had at least one sexual encounter, responded that it was not enjoyable.

    As for men, 59 (11.6%) of those questioned stated that they were virgins, while the remaining 442 made love for the first time at the age of 18. For almost half of them, 47.7%, it was a "dud".

    [10] LEADING HIGH JUMP ATHLETES WILL MEET IN PATRAS

    Leading high jump athletes from all over the world will take part in an international tournament in Patras, southern Greece on February 15. In the sports event will participate among others, Cuban Xavier Satomayor making his first appearance after his disqualification from the Seville World Championship because of cocaine use.

    In the international tournament of Patras will take part a total of 12 leading athletes men and women, while a number of distinguished athletes from Greece and abroad will be honored for their contribution to the sport.

    [11] INFLATION CONTINUES TO BE A PROBLEM FOR THE GREEK ECONOMY

    The government's economic staff is in a state of preparedness in order to keep inflation under control as it appears that it will be the biggest problem for the Greek government even after the proposal for Greece's EMU membership in March.

    January's inflation rate will be announced on Friday and according to all indications it is at 2.6%.

    [12] PAPANDREOU: NO PRESENTS ARE EXPECTED FROM THE CEM VISIT TO ATHENS

    Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou, speaking before the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs and defense, stated that he expects no more than the signing of low policy agreements from the visit of his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem to Athens tomorrow.

    Mr. Papandreou stated that he expects no present or a good- will gesture because he wants to be a realist, adding that this procedure is hard and time consuming. He also said that dialogue does not mean negotiation but a presentation of views, underlining that no Greek government will ever negotiate sovereign rights.

    The same position was expressed by minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos who pointed out that the Greek side is opposed to the Turkish proposal for the creation of a military-political committee to discuss Aegean issues. Also, former foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos suggested that the Greek diplomacy should be more determined.

    [13] GAINS OF 1.31% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    The Athens Stock Exchange closed with gains of 1.31% today at 5.209,24, while the volume of transactions was 380 billion drachmas.

    ECOFIN's positive stance to Greece's renewed convergence program in combination with the statements made yesterday by national economy minister Yiannos Papantoniou that Greece will meet all the Maastricht criteria by mid February had a positive effect today on the Athens Stock Exchange.

    [14] EARTHQUAKE OF 4.1 ON THE RICHTER SCALE IN SPORADES

    An earthquake measuring 4.1 on the Richter scale was recorded at 13:41pm today and its epicenter was located at the sea region of northern Aegean, 50 kilometers north of the islands of Sporades and 120 kilometers south-west of Thessaloniki.

    Thessaloniki's Aristotle University seismologist Manolis Skordilis stated to MPA that the epicenter of the tremor was in a region with low seismic activity as it has no relation with the fault that gave the catastrophic earthquake in Almiros, Thessaloniki in 1980.

    It is a region with low seismic activity, while based on the data available so far, the wider region of the northern Aegean does not appear to have an increased seismic activity at the moment. However, he added that at least 48 hours must pass before reaching any conclusions.

    [15] REPPAS ON THE CEM STATEMENTS REGARDING CYPRUS

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas when asked to comment on the statements made by Turkish foreign minister Ismail Cem according to which, the Cyprus problem will be solved if the Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state in the Turkish occupied northern Cyprus is recognized, said that such statements can be made for domestic policy reasons and undermine the efforts for the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Mr. Reppas also stated that the solution of the Cyprus problem is high on the agenda of national priorities.

    [16] SIMITIS-GEORGIEVSKI-META AGREEMENT ON A BALKAN "DAVOS" IN LAKES PRESPES

    Prime ministers of Greece Kostas Simitis, FYROM's Ljupco Georgievski and Albania's Ilir Meta agreed with the proposal for the establishment of a Balkan "Davos" in Lakes Prespes and at noon today they signed an agreement declaring the region as the first inter-border protected area in the Balkans. The idea of a Balkan "Davos" concerns the establishment of a Balkan economic and development forum that will be held in Lakes Prespes on an annual basis.

    The signing of the agreement for the protection of the Prespes Park took place in Agios Germanos, Florina and the three prime ministers in their speeches pointed out the need for the further expansion of cooperation among their countries.

    Mr. Simitis announced that a multi-national training and research center for the environment will be established within the framework of the 3rd Community Framework of Support at the initiative of Greece. The center that will be established within the framework of the initiatives for the operation of the Balkan Prespes Park will be financed with 500 million drachmas.

    The Greek prime minister stated that the establishment of the first inter-border protected area in the Balkans has a strong symbolic character and underlines the fact that the three countries respect the principle of peaceful co-existence aimed at boosting development while at the same time the people and the environment are being respected and a better future for the generations to come is secured.

    Albanian prime minister Ilir Meta raised the issue of the free movement of the citizens of the three counties across the borders and used the comment made by a member of an environmental organization that the fish in the lakes can move freely without passports and visas, expressing the belief that this could be achieved by the people as well. He also said that the year 2000 is a promising year for understanding, cooperation and development in the region giving an emphasis to the sectors of economy and tourism.

    FYROM's prime minister Ljupco Georgievski stated that Lakes Prespes is a meeting place of three countries and three cultures and is an ideal center of the Balkan ecological culture which can attract considerable tourist and economic activities.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [17] GREECE, CYPRUS SIGN AIR TRANSPORT ACCORD

    A memorandum of cooperation in the air transportation sector was signed in Nicosia today between the General Director of Cyprus's Ministry of Transportation and Works Vassos Pyrgos and the General Director of Air Transport of Greece's Civil Aviation Authority Nicholas Kavadas.

    The memorandum allows for scheduled flights to Cyprus from Greek airports, with the exception of the Athens and Thessaloniki airports, from another air carrier aside of Olympic Airways. The memorandum will go into effect on November 1.

    Mr. Kavadas stated that the memorandum constitutes another step towards the liberalization of air transport between the two countries, which will lead to increased traffic from Greece to Cyprus.

    [18] MELBOURNE: REACTIONS TO THE CANCELLATION OF OA FLIGHTS

    The announcement by the Greek airline Olympic Airways that after March 26 there will be no flights from and to Melbourne caused the strong reaction of the Greek-Australian community. There will be three Olympic Airways flights per week via Bangog and Sidney and the passengers who want to go to Melbourne will have to take one of the flights of the airline companies Anserr or Quantas with which Olympic Airways has signed special agreements.

    Travel agents in Australia point out that the changes will have a negative effect on Olympic Airways and in addition they will serve the interests of foreign companies. However, Olympic Airways in a statement it has issued it stresses that this destination is loss-making and the changes are being made in order to become profitable.

    [19] DIMITROV: DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH CYPRUS UNDER PRE- CONDITIONS

    The decision of the FYROM government not to establish diplomatic relations with Cyprus was announced by FYROM foreign minister Alexander Dimitrov.

    According to the Skopje newspaper Dnevnik, which published his statements in a front-page article, Mr. Dimitrov announced that FYROM will not establish diplomatic relations with Cyprus if the Nicosia government does not recognize FYROM under its constitutional name, as he characterizes it.

    The statement made by Mr. Dimitrov constitutes, according to the newspaper, a response to the recent statement made by Cypriot government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou, who expressed the will of Cyprus to establish diplomatic relations with the country under the name with which it was accepted in the United Nations Organization namely, FYROM.

    [20] NEW BID FOR BKT BY OTE-KPN

    The Greek-Dutch joint venture OTE-KPN made a renewed bid to the responsible committee of the Bulgarian government for the purchase of 51% of the stocks of the Bulgarian Telecommunications Organization, BTK.

    The newspaper "24 Hours" writes that the joint venture OTE- KPN had announced recently that its new tender will meet the Bulgarian demands concerning the privatization of BTK.

    According to the newspaper, representatives of the committee have stated that it will be needed at least one week to examine if the new bid meets the demands for the buyout of BTK. Also, reliable sources mention that the bid made does not meet the 37 terms set by the Bulgarian government for the BTK buyout.


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