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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-02-10

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 10, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] THESSALONIKI HOSTS CONFERENCE ON EU FOREIGN POLICY
  • [02] ATHENS MAYOR, A FENCE-SITTER NO MORE, WON'T RUN FOR N.D.
  • [03] FM: CYPRUS ISSUE IS UTMOST PRIORITY
  • [04] COSMOTE, EUROBANK COOPERATE
  • [05] ISTAME, PASOK HOST THESSALONIKI CONFERENCE ON EUROPE
  • [06] MAYOR'S REJECTION A "WET BLANKET" FOR N.D.
  • [07] HOUSING WANTED FOR REFUGEES
  • [08] GREEK AND TURKISH PMs, FMs, TO MEET IN BUCHAREST
  • [09] MUSEUM STAFF THREATEN TO GO ON STRIKE TOMORROW
  • [10] CRONUS AIRLINE EYES ROUTE TO MELBOURNE
  • [11] ATHENS BOURSE BOOSTS GREEKS' WALLETS
  • [12] SIMITIS' LETTER TO HIS PORTUGUESE COUNTERPART
  • [13] INVESTORS TRUST PASOK
  • [14] 362 BILLION DRACHMAS THE PROFITS OF THE NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE GROUP IN 1999
  • [15] THRACE: GREEK-BULGARIAN-TURKISH MEETING
  • [16] LOSSES OF 1.69% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [17] BUSINESSMEN FROM QUEBEC LOOK FOR GREEK PARTNERS
  • [18] SIMITIS MET WITH PAPANDREOU IN VIEW OF THE BUCHAREST MEETING
  • [19] REPPAS DENIED TURKISH PRESS PUBLICATIONS
  • [20] THE NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL WILL BE IN ATHENS ON FEBRUARY 23
  • [21] BALKAN YOUTH FESTIVAL IN PIERIA, NORTHERN GREECE
  • [22] QUEBEC'S INDUSTRY AND FOREIGN TRADE MINISTER IN THESSALONIKI
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [23] S.E. EUROPE'S PMs TO SIGN STABILITY PACT

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] THESSALONIKI HOSTS CONFERENCE ON EU FOREIGN POLICY

    The 13th international conference titled "The European Union's unified foreign policy and the European Defense Policy" is getting underway in Thessaloniki today, organized by the House of Europe-Thessaloniki.

    Today's inaugural ceremony will be held at the History Center of the Thessaloniki Municipality and will feature salutations from European, political and state officials and other dignitaries.

    [02] ATHENS MAYOR, A FENCE-SITTER NO MORE, WON'T RUN FOR N.D.

    Putting an end to "will he - won't he" speculation, Athens Mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos announced last night that he will not run for the main opposition of New Democracy, the conservative party which first nominated him for the capital's mayoral post.

    In a televised statement, which interrupted all regular programming, Mr. Avramopoulos stated that while he will provide his support to New Democracy in the upcoming parliamentary elections, he will see out the four-year mayoral mandate he was granted for a second time in 1998.

    While Mr. Avramopoulos acknowledged that it was ND which supported him in the mayoral race and publicly thanked party leader Costas Karamanlis for inviting him to join the party's ranks, he nevertheless added that he has been assigned a mission as mayor which he vowed to fulfill.

    [03] FM: CYPRUS ISSUE IS UTMOST PRIORITY

    Foreign Minister Papandreou has reiterated that the Cyprus issue is an "utmost priority" for Greece and is presently the focus of the Greek government's foreign policy, which continues to support a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation for the island, based on the United Nations resolutions.

    Following the end of the second-round of proximity talks, held in Geneva between the President of the Republic of Cyprus Glafcos Clerides and the leader of the Turkish-Cypriots Rauf Denktash, Mr. Papandreou stated that the third round, to be conducted in New York in May, along with the UN's and the international community's will to continue their efforts in the interim, will contribute to the sustenance of the dynamics necessary for resolving the issue.

    Moreover, the Foreign Minister pointed out that the new climate in relations between Europe and Turkey, the de-escalation of tension in Greek-Turkish relations and the reassurance of the Cyprus Republic's unhindered accession to the European Union "can all be utilized towards discovering a fair and viable solution to the Cyprus issue."

    [04] COSMOTE, EUROBANK COOPERATE

    COSMOTE, the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE) cell telephone subsidiary, and EFG Eurobank are to expand their cooperation by offering new products to consumers.

    Soon customers of Cosmocard and Eurobank will be able to renew their phone cards' validity all day, seven days a week, by calling Europhone Banking at 1144. The call for Cosmocard users will be free and they will be able to purchase phone time by charging their Eurobank accounts. The two companies have issued a co-branded credit card, named CosmOTE- Eurobank VISA.

    [05] ISTAME, PASOK HOST THESSALONIKI CONFERENCE ON EUROPE

    The Institute of Strategic and Developmental Studies (ISTAME), established in the name of the late Andreas Papandreou, and the ruling PASOK party's prefectural committee in Thessaloniki are to host a two-day international conference this weekend, titled "Europe and the World at the Dawning of the New Millennium".

    The Thessaloniki-held event will be attended by the Greece's Ministers of Defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos, Development Evangelos Venizelos, Macedonia-Thrace Yiannis Magriotis the chairman of ISTAME Yiannis Souladakis, and other leading officials.

    A score of foreign officials will also participate in the conference, among them representatives of Socialist parties from Balkan countries.

    Albania will be represented by the Socialist Party's director of international relations Alexandre Abdullah and the former minister and vice-president of the Social Democrats Apostol Gogol.

    Bulgaria's former president of Parliament Bugovest Sedov will also be present, along with Socialist Party deputy Nora Ananieva.

    Romania's former president Ion Iliescu, who is also the leader of the Social-democratic party, will be attending, along with Mircea Popescu, a member of the Socialist Party' s Institute.

    FYROM will be represented by Igor Ivanovski, deputy and president of the youth chapter of the Social-democrats, as well as deputy Radmila Sekeriska.

    The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia will be represented by two professors from the University of Belgrade, while Montenegro will be represented by the President's adviser Milo Juganovic.

    Croatia will be represented by the director of Zagreb's Economic Institute.

    [06] MAYOR'S REJECTION A "WET BLANKET" FOR N.D.

    After Athens mayor Dimitris Avramopoulos dashed New Democracy's hopes of joining its ranks, a solemn mood was cast like a "wet blanket" among party circles.

    The main opposition party spokesman, Aris Spiliotopoulos, was laconic in his reaction, stating simply "Dimitris Avramopoulos is useful to the party from the position that he himself has chosen."

    N.D. President Costas Karamanlis, who was addressing a rally in Athens when Mr. Avramopoulos was giving his much-awaited answer on television, said that this election campaign was the time for every New Democracy member to stand up and be counted.

    The party's honorary president Constantine Mitsotakis merely commented that Mr. Avramopoulos made his choice. "New Democracy forges ahead."

    [07] HOUSING WANTED FOR REFUGEES

    Political asylum refugees are to be given housing by the Macedonian Labor Institute's Bureau for Refugees and Immigrants in Thessaloniki.

    According to the Institute's director Costas Pagarliotas, the housing center's base will be located at the border area of Evzoni, while the center has already made the necessary contact with officials from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

    Housing is also needed in Thessaloniki, for refugees who are in the process of being granted political asylum.

    Local officials have stated that they need a home, measuring about 120 sq.m., to house ten persons. The rent will be paid by the Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace.

    [08] GREEK AND TURKISH PMs, FMs, TO MEET IN BUCHAREST

    Greece Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister George Papandreou are to meet with their Turkish counterparts, Bulent Ecevit and Ismael Cem, respectively, on the sidelines of the Bucharest-held summit of leaders and heads of state of S. E. European countries.

    Given the rapprochement presently marking Greek-Turkish relations, the climate at the aforementioned meetings is expected to be positive.

    Mr. Ecevit had stated a few days earlier that "it wouldn't be beneficial to discuss sensitive issues in light of the imminent elections in Greece", albeit adding that "this will not lead to a loss of time."

    Moreover, the Turkish Premier had also stressed that the present climate of rapprochement enjoyed by the two neighbors "has begun to produce very positive and specific results".

    Referring to the Cyprus issue and the Aegean, Mr. Ecevit also stated that " as long as the climate of dialogue and mutual trust in developed, then the resolution of these issues will be facilitated."

    The six leaders of the Southeast European countries, namely the Premiers of Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania, Turkey and FYROM, are to meet tomorrow in order to sign the Chart of Friendship, Stability, Security and Cooperation in Southeast Europe. Yugoslavia will not be attending since, according to Romania's Foreign Ministry, the said country's participation is not feasible until its domestic situation has been resolved.

    In addition to his Turkish counterpart, Mr. Simitis will also meet privately with Bulgaria's Premier Ivan Kostov, and his counterpart from FYROM Liupcko Georgievski.

    According to diplomatic circles n Athens, the Simitis-Ecevit meeting in Bucharest will aim at maintaining the present state of G/T relations, while matters of substance are not expected to be touched upon.

    [09] MUSEUM STAFF THREATEN TO GO ON STRIKE TOMORROW

    Culture Ministry employees have called a 24-hour nationwide strike tomorrow, shutting the museums and archaeological sites throughout the country, while they have also organized a protest rally outside the Culture Ministry at 11 a.m.

    The Museum employees union is demanding special funds for staff educational bonuses, legal arrangements for their mutual aid fund, overtime payment for guards and permanency for all the ministry's seasonal staff.

    [10] CRONUS AIRLINE EYES ROUTE TO MELBOURNE

    After the national air-carrier Olympic Airways decided to ax its Athens-Melbourne direct flight, the privately-owned Cronus Airlines appears ready to seize the chance to enter the ball game, by proposing that it take the task on by itself.

    Cronus officials have approached the president of Australia's Greek community George Fountas, asking that an affiliate airline be established, with the Greek-Australian community holding a 49 percent stake.

    Olympic Airways officials have scoffed at Cronus' aspiration, since, as O.A.'s director for Thessaloniki Athanasios Dimokas told the Macedonian Press Agency, the said airline lacks the necessary infrastructure to meet such a demand.

    Faced with the ire of the Greek-Australian community over its decision, Olympic Airways officials defended the move as a way to improve the profitability of its flights to Australia.

    Meanwhile, O.A. stewards, in a sign of protest, plan to conduct a 24-hour work stoppage on March 26, the day the Athens- Melbourne route will be canceled.

    [11] ATHENS BOURSE BOOSTS GREEKS' WALLETS

    The stock market's performance, in conjunction with the economy's growth, appear to have boosted the majority of Greek households, according to a recent survey conducted by ICAP.

    On a sample survey of 1,000 households, 21.4 percent stated that its economic situation improved since last year (the same rate was 11% in 1998), while there was no fluctuation in the number of households who saw their economic condition remain at the same level. Concurrently, the number of households who saw their economic situation taking a turn for the worse has decreased.

    The benefits were especially notable in the middle class, white-collar workers living in urban centers, while more farmers and blue-collar working families reported a reduction in their economic status rather than an improvement.

    According to ICAP, the main cause of economic stagnation or aggravation was inflation, especially felt by pensioners.

    [12] SIMITIS' LETTER TO HIS PORTUGUESE COUNTERPART

    Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis sent a letter to his Portuguese counterpart Antonio Gutieres in view of the European Council meeting that will take place in Lisbon on March 23 and 24.

    Mr. Simitis points out in his letter that the goal of the European Council meeting is to form a special strategy that will take under consideration the relation of employment, technology, knowledge and social cohesion. The Greek prime minister also presented the Greek positions on employment.

    [13] INVESTORS TRUST PASOK

    The majority of investors trust the governing socialist party of PASOK for a smooth and upward course of the stock market, according to the results of an opinion poll conducted by the company ALCO on behalf of the Athens newspaper "TO ETHNOS".

    The opinion poll was conducted on January 25-February 3 on a sample of 1.950 men and women 18% of whom were investors and to the question which political party they intend to vote for in the parliamentary elections, the governing socialist party of PASOK got 34.5%, New Democracy 29.7%, the Communist Party 5.5%, the Democratic Social Movement 3.5%, Coalition of the Left 2.7%, the Liberals 2% and Political Spring 1%.

    [14] 362 BILLION DRACHMAS THE PROFITS OF THE NATIONAL BANK OF GREECE GROUP IN 1999

    The net before taxes profits of the National Bank of Greece Group were 362 billion drachmas in 1999 compared to 182 billion in 1998 with a record increase of 99%.

    According to Bank of Greece governor Theodors Karatzas, the before taxes profits of the National Bank of Greece were 229 billion drachmas in 1999 compared to 130 billion drachmas in 1998 recording an increase of 76%.

    [15] THRACE: GREEK-BULGARIAN-TURKISH MEETING

    A tripartite meeting of the Greek, Bulgarian and Turkish foreign ministers will be held in Thrace on February 19 and 20.

    In the meeting the Greek side will try to win the adoption of a joint proposal that will confirm the will of the three countries for good neighborly relations, the respect of the borders and the non use of violence.

    It should be noted that the initiative was initiated by the Bulgarian side in the Istanbul Summit meeting, while a joint visit of the three foreign ministers is being scheduled to be made in Orestiada, Andrianoupolis and Pamborovo within the framework of the effort for the establishment of a tripartite cooperation. It has not been determined yet if Turkey will lift its reservations and accept the plan for a joint statement on the good neighborly relations principles which has already been accepted by Bulgaria and Greece.

    [16] LOSSES OF 1.69% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    After seven consecutive sessions with an upward course the Athens Stock Exchange recorded losses of 1.69% today.

    It closed at 5.499,97 points, while the volume of transactions was 311.5 billion drachmas.

    The investors sold stocks for immediate gains and in the biggest part of the session the general index was characterized by nervous fluctuations, mainly at negative levels, while the strongest pressures were exerted on the bank shares that had the most gains in the last seven sessions of the Athens Stock Exchange.

    [17] BUSINESSMEN FROM QUEBEC LOOK FOR GREEK PARTNERS

    A strong interest for the development of cooperation with Greek partners was expressed by representatives of two big companies from Quebec, Canada who met today with the board of directors of the Arts and Crafts Chamber of Greece / Department of central Macedonia.

    The foreign businessmen are in Thessaloniki within the framework of the formal visit made to Greece by Quebec's industry and trade minister Guy Julien. The goal of the visit of the foreign delegation is the exchange of views and information on subjects that will be the basis for the development of cooperation with Greek companies and Greek engineers.

    [18] SIMITIS MET WITH PAPANDREOU IN VIEW OF THE BUCHAREST MEETING

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis met with foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou in Athens today in view of the inter-Balkan conference which starts in Bucharest tomorrow with the participation of the state leaders of Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, Turkey and FYROM.

    The developments in the Balkans will be examined in the EU general affairs council meeting that will be held in Brussels on Monday with the participation of foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou. The Greek minister is expected to table again the Greek proposal for the lifting of the embargo against Yugoslavia, while other issues under discussion will be the joint foreign policy and the policy of defense as well as, the establishment of a joint committee on security and defense and a joint military committee.

    Meanwhile, the Greek prime minister has sent letters to his European Union counterparts and European Commission president Romano Prodi in view of the inter-governmental meeting that will be held in Lisbon on March 23 and 24. In those letters, Mr. Simitis is in favor of the strengthening of Europe's social face and underlines the need to consider the issue of employment.

    [19] REPPAS DENIED TURKISH PRESS PUBLICATIONS

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas categorically denied Turkish press publications according to which, Greek fighter jets harassed Turkish planes.

    Mr. Reppas stated that violations of the Athens FIR by Turkish planes were recorded in the region of the islands of Lesvos and Limnos in north-eastern Aegean yesterday and the Turkish jets were intercepted by Greek fighter planes.

    Commenting on the Turkish stance, Mr. Reppas stated that the Greek government condemns Ankara's negative behavior and added that there is still a long way before the commitments undertaken by Turkey in the Helsinki EU summit are met.

    Mr. Reppas stated characteristically that Greece will continue the efforts for the consolidation of peace in the region while securing at the same time its sovereign rights.

    [20] THE NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL WILL BE IN ATHENS ON FEBRUARY 23

    NATO secretary-general George Robertson will visit Greece on February 23, according to a statement made by Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas.

    Responding to a question made by reporters, Mr. Reppas stated that the visit of NATO's general commander to Kosovo has been canceled because of the tense situation in the region.

    [21] BALKAN YOUTH FESTIVAL IN PIERIA, NORTHERN GREECE

    A new institution, the Balkan Youth Festival, will soon be a reality at the initiative of the municipalities of Katerini, Litochoro and eastern Olympus in Pieria, northern Greece, aimed at the cultural upgrading of the Balkan region. The organizers of the festival that will take place in Katerini, Litochoro and Leptokaria every year on August 29-September 3 want to give a leading role to Greece in the effort toward stronger relations among the Balkan countries and their peaceful co-existence.

    In the festival, which is under the auspices of the ministry of Macedonia-Thrace and the general secretariat for the new generation, will participate young people 16-19 years old coming from the 10 Balkan countries.

    [22] QUEBEC'S INDUSTRY AND FOREIGN TRADE MINISTER IN THESSALONIKI

    Thessaloniki's key-role to the expansion of the Canadian businesses investment activities was underlined by Quebec's industry and foreign trade minister Guy Julien who is visiting the city heading a trade delegation.

    Mr. Julien, in his visit to Thessaloniki's Commerce and Industry Chamber accompanied by Canada's ambassador to Athens David Hutton, expressed the belief that Thessaloniki mainly due to its geographic position can become the gate through which the Canadian businesses will enter south-eastern Europe, while he did not miss the opportunity to stress the need to find ways to further strengthen the cooperation between Greek and Canadian businesses.

    Mr. Julien stated that Quebec has the 10th place in the world concerning its exports mostly in the sectors of tele- communications, aircraft and aluminum, stressing that they cover 58% of its GDP.

    Commerce and Industry Chamber president Dimitris Bakatselos in his speech focused on the investment activities of the Greek businesses in the Balkans and stressed that the invested Greek capital in Bulgaria is over US$ 75 million, in Romania US$ 450 million, Albania US$ 100 million, in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia over US$ 1 billion and in FYROM over US$ 230 million.

    Mr. Bakatselos also stressed that Thessaloniki has the biggest exporting port in Greece as over 50% of the Greek exports leave the country from there. The city also has the largest industrial region covering a space of 9.000 square kilometers, the largest trade fair in the Balkans, developed money and credit sector and brokerage center, while it is also the seat of the European Center for the Development of Vocational Training and the Organization for the Reconstruction of the Balkans.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [23] S.E. EUROPE'S PMs TO SIGN STABILITY PACT

    The prime ministers of Southeastern European countries are to meet in Bucharest on Saturday in order to sign the Pact of Stability, Security and Good Neighborliness in S.E. Europe and renew regional cooperation.

    Romanian Premier Emil Constantinescu will chair the meeting, since his country presently holds the presidium of the said cooperation initiative.

    The Coordinator of the Stability Pact for the Balkans Bodo Hombach is to also attend the signing ceremony.

    Also, the foreign ministers of Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria are to meet in Thrace - the region where the three countries share borders - on February 19, according to government spokesman Dimitris Reppas.

    Mr. Reppas has called the tripartite meeting "hopeful", adding that it ushers in a new mode of communication between the three neighbors.


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