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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2000-06-12

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, June 12, 2000

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] GREEK GOVERNMENT SENDS CONDOLENCES TO SYRIA
  • [02] PM TO MEET WITH POLITICAL LEADERS THIS FRIDAY
  • [03] BREMER CONTINUES WITH HIS ANTI-GREEK TIRADE
  • [04] POSING AS COPS, FOUR FOREIGNERS DEFRAUD TOURISTS
  • [05] COMMERCIAL, CREDIT AGRICOLE DEAL TO BE RATIFIED
  • [06] THESSALONIKI'S INTERBALKAN MEDICAL CENTER OPENS
  • [07] BRIG. SAUNDERS' KILLER BELIEVED TO BE LEFT HANDED
  • [08] STATE CONSIDERS 10 NEW ANTI-TERRORISM MEASURES
  • [09] PM: ACCESSION TO EMU IS NOT ARRIVAL AT ITHACA
  • [10] FM PROPOSES EU'S INPUT IN COMBATING TERRORISM
  • [11] STATEMENTS BY TSOCHATZOPOULOS ON TERRORISM
  • [12] GREEK-TURKISH COOPERATION IN THE BANKING SECTOR
  • [13] LOSSES OF 1.29% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [14] DE-ESCALATION OF THE PRESSURES EXERTED ON THE DRACHMA
  • [15] THE GOLD AND IVORY THRONE OF ZEUS IN CRETE
  • [16] PAPANTONIOU: PRIVATIZATION WILL BE COMPLETED BY THE SUMMER OF 2001
  • [17] REPPAS' STATEMENTS ON TERRORISM
  • [18] THE FUNERAL OF GIORGOS TZITZIKOSTAS WAS HELD TODAY
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [19] GREEK INITIATIVE TO COMBAT TERRORISM AT A EUROPEAN LEVEL
  • [20] LETTER OF PROTEST BY THE PAN-MACEDONIAN ASSOCIATION OF MELBOURNE AND VICTORIA

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] GREEK GOVERNMENT SENDS CONDOLENCES TO SYRIA

    Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas extended the Greek government's condolences on the death of Syrian President Hafez Al- Assad.

    "We express our sorrow on the death of Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad. We extend our condolences to the Syrian people on the loss of their leader, which comes at a very crucial moment for developments in the region", Mr. Reppas stated.

    Hafez Assad, the Syrian president who dreamt of a united Arab front, died Saturday at the age of 69 after a long illness. "The Lion of Damascus" - his family name means lion in Arabic - was one of the Middle East's longest-serving leaders. He was credited with bringing political stability to a country of 9 million that saw repeated coups after independence from France in 1946.

    [02] PM TO MEET WITH POLITICAL LEADERS THIS FRIDAY

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis is expected to bring up the issue of terrorism during this Friday's meeting with political party leaders to discuss Greece's entry into the EU's Economic and Monetary Union next year.

    According to numerous reports, the government plans to intensify its battle against terrorism through the introduction of legal changes, such as allowing terrorist crimes to be judged initially by a three-member appeals court and then, in the second instance, by a five-member court of appeals, in order to rule out the use of jurors, who are believed to be more vulnerable to fears of retribution.

    Also, the changes call for a re-organization of the police force, while additional measures are to be taken that will facilitate the task of the anti-terrorism squad.

    The Premier is expected to undertake initiatives that will achieve consensus with other political parties with regard both to the measures themselves and their means of implementation. Especially in light of the Olympic Games that will be held in Athens in 2004, the government is expected to make security the central axis of its policy.

    [03] BREMER CONTINUES WITH HIS ANTI-GREEK TIRADE

    The Chairman of the Republican National Committee, former ambassador Paul Bremer, pressed on with his anti-Greek tirade during yesterday's segment of "Meet the Press", where not only did he stress that sanctions should be imposed upon Greece, asking Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to reconsider her refusal to do so, but also repeated his proposal that all foreign students in the United States be monitored through a computerized program.

    At the same time, "TIME"'s U.N. correspondent William Dowell writes that "Greece has been very lax on terrorist groups, and for a long time was a jumping off point for a number of Palestinian terror attacks.

    "Unless they're seen to be taking effective steps in response to this attack, that may raise questions about plans to hold the Olympics there."

    Moreover, the correspondent noted that "the Olympic Games have long been a favorite target of terrorists, from Munich in 1972 to Atlanta in 1996. And Thursday's assassination of a British diplomat in Athens is a reminder that the city's 2004 Olympiad may be an explosion waiting to happen."

    [04] POSING AS COPS, FOUR FOREIGNERS DEFRAUD TOURISTS

    Posing as policemen in downtown Athens, four "clever" foreigners scammed unsuspecting tourists with the pretense of wanting to review their travel documents and, in the process, withhold some of their money too.

    Greek police arrested two Romanian nationals, a Slovak and a Frenchman who had staked out at an archaeological site in central Athens's Syntagma Square. The suspects were found to be carrying 600,000 drachmas, 5,500 dollars and 400 German marks.

    [05] COMMERCIAL, CREDIT AGRICOLE DEAL TO BE RATIFIED

    Commercial Bank, Greece's second largest state-owned financial institution, and France's Credit Agricole are expected tomorrow to ratify their agreement, where the latter acquires a 6.7 percent stake in the Greek bank for a 100 billion drachmas.

    Share ownership will be transferred by the end of the month and Credit Agricole will have two representatives on Commercial's board.

    The five-year agreement between Commercial and Credit Agricole can be extended should the two parties agree to the move at the end of the period.

    Credit Agricole is the largest bank in France in terms of stockholder equity. Its network of 8,000 branches services some 15.5 million customers.

    [06] THESSALONIKI'S INTERBALKAN MEDICAL CENTER OPENS

    Michael Gorbachev, the last leader of the former Soviet Union, will be in Thessaloniki on June 17 to inaugurate the city's "George Apostolopoulos" Inter-Balkan Medical Center.

    In addition to Mr. Gorbachev, the event will attended by dignitaries from around the world, including the Premier of Montenegro Filip Vujanovic, Cypriot Health Minister Frixos Savvides, Albanian Health Minister Leonard Solis, Armenia's Minister of Health and Social Security Artak Zeynalyan, the mayors of Athens and Thessaloniki, Dimitris Avramopoulos and Vasilis Papageorgopoulos, respectively, as well as and the deans from the following universities: Thessaloniki's Aristotle University Michalis Papadopoulos; Istanbul University Kemal Halendaroglu, Damascus U. Medical School Hani Mourtada and Sofia U. Medical School Vladimir Ovtscharoff.

    The Inter-Balkan Medical Center has a 450-bed capacity and has an intensive care unit, cardiology department and a pediatric clinic.

    [07] BRIG. SAUNDERS' KILLER BELIEVED TO BE LEFT HANDED

    The November 17 hitman who killed the British embassy's defense attache Brigadier Stephen Saunders on Thursday is believed to be a left handed individual who is behind only a handful of the notorious terrorist organization's attacks.

    According to reports published in the Athens daily "Ta Nea", this suspect made his first "hit" 16 years ago, on April 3, 1984, when US Sergeant Robert Chad was shot by the same gun that killed Brig. Saunders on June 8, 2000.

    The article refers to members of Greece's anti-terrorism squad who are said to have come to this finding following crime scene analysis and eyewitness reports.

    [08] STATE CONSIDERS 10 NEW ANTI-TERRORISM MEASURES

    The government plans to intensify its battle against terrorism through the introduction of legal changes, such as creation of a "special" court, without a jury, to try terrorist cases, where the magistrates would be exclusively engaged to preside over such cases.

    The measures also include rewards for witnesses who turn in terrorists and the creation of a witness protection program.

    Also, the changes call for a re-organization of the police force, while additional measures are to be taken that will lead to improved public awareness.

    While these measures are to include cooperation with the U.K's Scotland Yard, they are not to include the State Department's proposal for team work at an operational level.

    The Premier is expected to undertake initiatives that will achieve consensus with other political parties with regard both to the anti-terrorism measures themselves and their means of implementation.

    [09] PM: ACCESSION TO EMU IS NOT ARRIVAL AT ITHACA

    In an article he penned for an Athens daily, Prime Minister Costas Simitis referred extensively to the new challenges faced by Greece, stressing that the country's accession to the eurozone is not an arrival at Ithaca, but, rather, it is the start of an optimistic and hopeful course for the country, the society and its people.

    Writing for "Ta Nea", Mr. Simitis stressed that the adoption of the common currency holds a high political significance as Greece now is part of the European Union's tough nucleus, as a strong, democratic country, with a robust economy and international recognition, as well as a strong role in Southeastern Europe.

    "Europe is presently at a critical crossroads. While noteworthy recovery has been noted in the sector of development in recent years, the rate of unemployment continues to remain at high levels. As a result, in spite of the high standard of living enjoyed by the average European, Europe is experiencing phenomena of social isolation. The challenge for the European Union and each of its member-states is the achievement of dynamic development with concurrent social cohesion."

    The Premier outlined the government's macro-economic program, emphasizing that it will remain committed to ensuring economic stability, a prerequisite of development.

    "In the future, fiscal and income policy will have to be consistent with achieving the target of containing inflation. The policy of expenses will have to contribute more to fiscal adjustment. Income policy will have to follow the development of productivity.

    Real income increases will not adversely affect the businesses' competitiveness, as long as productivity is similarly increased."

    In combating unemployment, the Premier calls for simplifications in the job market, albeit without sidestepping the employees.

    Specifically, he called for incentives that will lead to the development of initiatives in the sector of small-to-medium-sized enterprises; allowing for on the job training; strengthening the sectors of basic and applied research.

    Lastly, the Premier stressed the state's regulating role in propelling competitiveness among firms, safeguarding the fiscal and monetary system's stability, promoting transparency and meritocracy and servicing the citizen.

    [10] FM PROPOSES EU'S INPUT IN COMBATING TERRORISM

    Greece's Foreign Ministry is to undertake an initiative to discuss anti-terrorism measures within the framework of the European Union, to be tabled during the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg.

    Either Foreign Minister George Papandreou or alternate FM Elizabeth Papazoi will attend the Council meeting. If Mr. Papandreou attends, he is expected to meet with his British counterpart Robin Cook.

    Greece is reportedly oriented towards the development of closer cooperation with both the United Kingdom, and the other European countries.

    [11] STATEMENTS BY TSOCHATZOPOULOS ON TERRORISM

    The book of condolences opened by the British embassy for its military attache Stephen Saunders, who was assassinated in Athens last Thursday by "17 November" terrorists, was signed this morning by Greek minister of defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos.

    In his statements the minister stressed the need for international cooperation in the effort to combat terrorism and said that Greece has an obligation to promote the necessary measures toward this goal.

    The body of Stephen Saunders will be taken to his country tomorrow after a special ceremony at the Athens airport.

    [12] GREEK-TURKISH COOPERATION IN THE BANKING SECTOR

    The Turkish Finansbank will launch a cooperation with Greece's Alpha Credit Bank and National Bank. According to its president, Husnu Ozgegin the cooperation with the two banks will have the form of personnel exchange and its goal will be to transfer know-how in the banking system.

    In the contacts Mr. Ozgegin had with representatives of the Alpha Credit Bank and the National Bank of Greece was also discussed the issue of cooperation with third countries. The Finansbank president pointed out that in countries like Romania, Bulgaria and Albania the presence of Greek banks is notable, while there are Turkish banks as well, adding that instead of antagonizing each other the Greek and Turkish banks can cooperate and increase their share.

    [13] LOSSES OF 1.29% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Significant losses of 1.29% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today and the general index was at 4.379,32 points, while the volume of transactions was at 92 billion drachmas, the lowest recorded in the past few weeks.

    Of the stocks trading today, 57 had gains and 281 recorded losses.

    [14] DE-ESCALATION OF THE PRESSURES EXERTED ON THE DRACHMA

    The improvement of the drachma compared to the rest of the currencies was the most important issue that prevailed in the foreign currency markets' sessions last week, while since last Monday the Greek national currency has been strengthened by 0.11% toward the Euro.

    Economic analysts believe that the positive climate will continue for a considerable time and the de-escalation of the pressures exerted on the drachma will become more notable as the EU summit meeting in Portugal will approach in which Greece's accession into the EMU will be be made official.

    [15] THE GOLD AND IVORY THRONE OF ZEUS IN CRETE

    Among the findings of the archaeological excavations, both old and new, conducted at mount Psiloritis in the southern Aegean island of Crete a big secret has been hiding namely, Zeus's throne that was made from gold and ivory and was built in the 8th century BC.

    The small ivory pieces found at the archaeological site of Ideon Andron by archeology professor Yiannis Sakelarakis, as well as those found in earlier excavations, led him to look for their origin and their use.

    According to the Athens newspaper "TO ETHNOS", prof. Sakelarakis reached the conclusion that many of the ivory pieces belonged to a glorious throne made of gold and ivory that was inside the cave-temple. It is a significant archaeological finding that reveals another aspect of the worship in ancient Crete.

    [16] PAPANTONIOU: PRIVATIZATION WILL BE COMPLETED BY THE SUMMER OF 2001

    The privatization process of 17 companies, except from the Bank of Commerce, is expected to be completed by the summer of 2001, stated Greek minister of national economy Yiannos Papantoniou.

    The head of the Greek government's economic staff in a press conference he gave in Athens today responded to press publications speaking of a 6month delay in the privatization program reiterating that the statement he had made on May 3 referred to a 12month timetable.

    On the cooperation agreement between the Greek Bank of Commerce and the French Credit Agricole the minister of national economy characterized the terms of the agreement as favorable, adding that they form a model that can be followed by the Telecommunications Organization, OTE, and every Greek company that choose to have a strategic ally in the future.

    Mr. Papantoniou underlined that Credit Agricole, the biggest bank in Europe in terms of assets, accounts and number of customers, has a lot to give to the Bank of Commerce at a know-how level, competitiveness and openings to new markets. He also said that the benefits of the Bank of Commerce will be many as the French bank has purchased 6.7% of the share capital of the Greek bank for the sum of 94.1 billion drachmas.

    [17] REPPAS' STATEMENTS ON TERRORISM

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, responding to the US allegations that Greece has received a list with names of terrorist suspects, stated that the Greek government is not aware of such a list.

    Mr. Reppas stated that anyone who has such evidence must place them at the disposal of the Greek authorities and added that the court assistance request procedure aimed at inviting the former CIA chief to testify on everything he knows on terrorism in Greece is in progress.

    Regarding the statements made by former public order minister Stelios Papathemelis, Mr. Reppas underlined that Mr. Papathemelis probably refers to his own term at the public order ministry when he received certain evidence on suspects by his predecessor and he forwarded them to the responsible state authorities. He said that the Supreme Court prosecutor has taken the necessary court action but there was no further developments and no results.

    The Greek government spokesman did not avoid to point out that the ineffectiveness on the issue of terrorism is a negative fact but it has no relation whatsoever with the firm and strong will of the government to wipe out the plague of terrorism.

    When called to comment on British press publications according to which, Athens is one of the most dangerous cities in the world the Greek government spokesman stressed that the government does not feel the need to respond to such publications. Mr. Reppas said that the government feels, as all the Greeks do, that there is security in Greece and isolated incidents should not lead to generalized conclusions.

    [18] THE FUNERAL OF GIORGOS TZITZIKOSTAS WAS HELD TODAY

    The political world, friends and colleagues, family members, relatives and simple people, said their last goodbye to former parliament deputy and government minister of the right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy Giorgos Tzitzikostas in Thessaloniki .

    In spite of the rumors that circulated in the past few days, deposed King of Greece Konstantinos did not attend the funeral but he sent a wreath, while his representative in Greece retired admiral Giorgos Karamitsos read a condolences message on his behalf. According to press information, the deposed King had expressed the wish to attend the funeral and an agreement had been reached with the Greek government to allow him to stay for 4 hours on Greek territory. However, according to his supporters, no such issue was ever raised.

    Giorgos Tzitzikostas had been elected in parliament for 25 consecutive years and had served as undersecretary in the ministries of agriculture and coordination and as minister of Macedonia-Thrace. He died last Wednesday of cancer at the age of 59. He was married and had three sons.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [19] GREEK INITIATIVE TO COMBAT TERRORISM AT A EUROPEAN LEVEL

    Greece will raise the issue of the fight against terrorism at a European level today at the general affairs council meeting in Luxembourg, expressing the view that there are mechanisms that can be exploited in a joint cooperation.

    The Greek side's intention is to undertake a joint initiative with the British to combat terrorism at a European level.

    For this purpose, either foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou or deputy foreign minister Elesavet Papazoi, will represent Greece in Luxembourg and will have a meeting with British foreign minister Robin Cook depending on who will attend the funeral of Syrian president Hafez al-Assad in Damascus.

    According to diplomatic circles there is already a European Union convention framework on terrorism which is at its initial stage but there is always ground for the strengthening of state agreements.

    [20] LETTER OF PROTEST BY THE PAN-MACEDONIAN ASSOCIATION OF MELBOURNE AND VICTORIA

    A letter of protest addressed to Australian minister of immigration and cultural affairs Philip Rudock was sent by Pan- Macedonian Association of Melbourne and Victoria president Dimitris Minas on the occasion of the funding by the Australian state of a Slav-Macedonian publication under the title "The Macedonians in Victoria: The profile of the Community".

    The Pan-Macedonian Association president underlined in his letter that a group maintaining that it is the Macedonian Social Workers Network in cooperation with the Diversita e Sapienza Consultants have co-written the publication in question which has been rejected by the Greek community in Melbourne as "provocative propaganda material" and its goal is to disturb the peace and harmony between the ethnic communities.

    Mr. Minas pointed out that the book refers to the people from FYROM as "Macedonians" instead of Slav-Macedonians in violation of the decisions and directives issued by the federal government on February 15 and March 14, 1994 and constitutes propaganda against Greece's sovereignty as even on the book's cover there is a map of "Greater Macedonia" with territorial aspirations against Greece.

    The specific book according to Mr. Minas, also violates the UN decisions regarding the name issue as it uses the term "Macedonia" instead of FYROM as well as national symbols from the Greek history and heritage.

    Mr. Minas called on the Australian immigration and cultural affairs minister to withdraw the publication and confiscate and destroy all the copies because of inflammatory and provocative propaganda, while at the same time he called for an end to the funding of the publication and its renunciation as an act of violence against the Greek community.


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