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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2002-02-13

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, February 13, 2002








  • [01] GREEK-TURKISH COOPERATION AND MEETINGS Foreign Ministers Papandreou and Cem of Greece and Turkey, decided to begin exploratory meetings at political directors level of their two Ministries. Their meeting took place yesterday, in the margin of the Istanbul Forum, where members of the EU and th e Islamic Convention Organization are participating.

    Mr. Papandreou pointed out that a date for the beginning of these meetings has not yet been decided on, since MR. Cem has not appointed a discussant for Mr. Skopelitis, the political director of the Greek Foreign Ministry. Furthermore, he pointed out tha t the object of these exploratory meetings will be finding a framework for a substantial discussion, while he stressed that all commitments made by the Parliament will be observed.

    Meetings for cooperation between Greece and Turkey, however, have already begun. The works of the 1st Meeting of the Greek-Turkish Ministerial Committee for Financial Cooperation, which is an attempt to solve a number of issues concerning the financial a nd commercial relations of Greece and Turkey, are continuing today in the "Zappio Megaro".

    The works were declared open by deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andreas Loverdos, and Kursat Tuzmen, Turkish deputy Minister, responsible for Foreign Trade issues. After Mr. Loverdos stressed that this Meeting is a very important event, he pointed out

    that "the political atmosphere is very positive. This political environment, the European Union. The fact that Greece has been a member of the Financial and Monetary Union since 1/1/2002, that it is part of the Euro-zone, and at the same time Turkey is t aking its first steps towards incorporation, which are welcomed by Greece. These parallel activities, each of us depending on our goals, in the European Union, create a lively and positive atmosphere, favorable to cooperation on a financial and commercial


    The Ministerial Committee is the continuation of discussions that started in 1999 and completed "low policy" issues with 9 agreements, between Foreign Ministers Papandreou and Cem. Today, however, problems have risen, which the Foreign Ministries are try ing to solve. Mr. Loverdos referred to the inability to sign an agreement on avoiding double taxation, characterized bilateral cooperation on tourist issues a "great challenge" and stressed the need to encourage entrepreneurial activity.

    Mr. Tuzmen called Greek businessmen to invest in Turkey, - since as he said there are only 58 businessmen active in Turkey at this time - noting that the government will contribute to the liberalization of Turkish economy. Specifically he spoke of cooper ation in the field of construction and energy. "In a common course and joint ventures that could be formed between Greek and Turkish construction companies, I believe we could expand our activities to the broader region of the Balkans and Southeastern Eur ope".

    As far as the energy sector is concerned, Mr. Tuzmen stated that he is very pleased that Greece has been appointed to the Presidency of the Energy Committee at a European level. It is very important for the natural gas imported from countries of Central and Southeastern Europe, towards western markets, to pass through Greece and Turkey, just as important as the construction of such a network. Very important steps have been taken in this direction". Two more issues touched upon by Mr. Tuzmen are the crea tion of common road networks, and cooperation in tourism.

  • [02] M. GORBACHEV, LEADER OF THE 20TH CENTURY The award for Leader of the 20th century was given to the last President of the Soviet Union, Michael Gorbachev, in an event organized by the Municipality of Athens yesterday, in honor of his contribution.

    Leaders in politics, business, the arts and the media were also awarded during yesterday's ceremony.

    New Democracy MP Dora Bakoyanni, was chosen as woman of the year. Regarding Mr. Gorbachev, Mrs. Bakoyanni pointed out that he is a politician to whom history has been impartial, who left his mark and taught the lesson that when one goes against the grain , he can make history.

    The vote was carried out by the viewers and the night ended with singer Vicky Leandros, accompanied by the Athens Municipal Orchestra.

  • [03] BRITISH-GERMANS FLIRTING WITH GREECE Greece is the second most preferable vacation destination of the two most important sources of tourism in Europe, England and Germany.

    Data from the World Tourism Organization, processed by Arthur Andersen for SETE (Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises), showed that in the year 2000, Greece attracted 2.45 million German tourists and 2.43 million British tourists, while it holds the same position in the Austrian market, after attracting 501,000 Austrians.

    The first most preferred tourist destination of most countries is Spain, followed by Portugal, Turkey, Cyprus and Egypt.

    Part of the main data showed that the Russia has also entered the tourist market, showing great interest in Turkey and Cyprus.

    It should be noted that the Arthur Andersen study is expected to be presented on February 28, at a special meeting on "Tourism & Development: A Strategic Approach".

  • [04] SIMITIS-STEFANOPOULOS MEETING Developments on Cyprus issue, and other interior and foreign policy affairs were discussed by Prime Minister Simitis and President of the Republic Kostis Stefanopoulos, during their meeting this morning.

    Immediately following their meeting, Mr. Simitis madde the following statemetn to the press:

    "Our discussion with the President, Mr. Stefanopoulos, as always during our regular meetings, regarded developments in interior and foreign policy, progress related to the economy and the various issues under discussion in Greek society at present.

    As far as foreign policy issues are concerned, I would like to point out the developments in the Cyprus issue. Discussions are progressing, but there is no definite answer at this point on whether or not there have been any positive developments.

    Nonetheless, Greece, Cyprus, anyone else interested in Cyprus' participation in the European Union and solving the political problem, must prove, throughout this course, that they are steadily aiming at applying the decisions of the United Nations, Inter national Law and have the right on their side.

    This issue was discussed at the last Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the European Union, as well as when I visited Brussels. I believe that the atmosphere is positive as far as our strategy is concerned, we must follow the same course of action we have d one so far on this issue.

    Regarding issues of the interior, I would like to stress that the government is dealing with the major issues and problems of the Greek people decisively, just as it is occupied, concerned, and looks to the everyday problems that trouble our people."

  • [05] PAPANTONIOU VISIT TO BULGARIA Minister of National Defense Giorgos Papantoniou's visit to Bulgaria, during which he met with the Bulgarian Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense, will be completed today.

    Referring to Bulgaria's accession to NATO, Mr. Papantoniou stated that Greece "supports the accession of Bulgaria, as well as that of Romania, because it believes that this will strengthen the Southeastern Wing of NATO, which Greece is a part of". He als o noted that: "The Balkans have many problems and threats in the sector of security. We believe that with Greece and Bulgaria both as members NATO, they will be able to cooperate more effectively in order to deal with these problems".

    He also repeated "the willingness of the Greek government to strengthen this cooperation even more, in the framework of further harmonizing the function of the Bulgarian Armed Forces' organization, as well as their equipment, according to NATO". This fra mework includes the presence of a Greek military advisor in Sofia, who, according to the Bulgarian Minister of Defense "will give advice regarding compatibility, regarding our accession to NATO", while regarding the information made public that 5 Turkish F-16 fighter aircraft will be sent to Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Minister stated that he had no information in that issue.

    After Mr. Papantoniou's meeting with Prime Minister Simeon Saxecoburggotski, he stated that "as a member of the EU and NATO, Bulgaria will be able to cooperate more effectively with Greece, both in the sector of Defense, as well as in the financial and p olitical sector". As he mentioned they also discussed the Burgas-Alexandroupoli oil pipeline, and ascertained a common wish and ambition of seeing this work becoming a reality, since "it is of great interest to both countries to realize this work for fin ancial, as well as broader geopolitical reasons".

  • [06] PIANIST BERNARD RINGEISSEN IN THESSALONIKI Internationally acclaimed French pianist Bernard Ringeissen will be a guest of the Thessaloniki Orchestra(KOTh), at a concert to take place on Friday, February 15, at the Thessaloniki "Megaro" Music Hall. The famous musician will perform Brahms 2nd Conce rto for piano and orchestra in si flat major.

    The concert's program includes the first performance of Arnold Schoenberg's "Transfigured night".

  • [07] SIMITIS: THE EURO WAS SUCCESSFULLY INTRODUCED IN GREECE Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, speaking with President Kostis Stephanopoulos in front of the television cameras during their meeting at the Presidential Building, referred to the progress of the Greek economy and the approval of the stabilization and dev elopment program by the ECOFIN yesterday.

    Mr. Simitis pointed out that the European Union ministers in ECOFIN and the European Commission confirmed yesterday that Greece made successfully the big step to the Euro and faces the recession phenomena that appeared in Europe in a successful manner.

    Referring to the discussion made on the issue of the implementation of the European community policies by Germany, the Greek Prime Minister stated that the specific fact shows that the criteria are strict enough for all but they are also flexible to take

    under consideration the existing circumstances.

  • [08] GREECE IS 59TH ON FIFA'S LIST Small changes were recorded in the world football listing issued every month by FIFA. Greece dropped two places to 59th place with 554 points, while Cyprus is 82nd with 499 points.

    The countries forming the ten-member group topping the list are France (809), Argentina (799), Brazil (791), Portugal (738), Colombia (737), Italy (731), Spain (727), Holland (720), Mexico (720) and Britain (709).

  • [09] YUKOS OIL WITHDREW ITS BID FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE HELLENIC PETROLEUM COMPANY The Russian oil company Yukos Oil announced formally to the Greek government its decision to withdraw its bid for the purchase of the Hellenic Petroleum company.

    Its president Nikolay Bychkov stated that the withdrawal of the Russian company had been announced since last week and it is linked with the Yukos Oil decision to turn its attention toward central Europe.

  • [10] THE GREEK GOVERNMENT SUGGESTED RESTRAINT OPTIMISM ON THE GREEK-TURKISH DIALOGUE Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas suggested restraint optimism on the Greek-Turkish dialogue when he was asked to comment on the meeting of Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou with his Turkish counterpart Ismail Cem, adding that the co ntacts agreed upon will be of exploratory nature.

    During those contacts, he added, the continuation of dialogue will also be examined within the framework of the international community, the international law and treaties, and the European standards.

  • [11] THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION APPROVED THE "EUROPEAN HEALTH CARD" The European Commission approved yesterday, at the initiative of European Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, the action plan for the improvement of the movement of workers inside the European Union, including the adoption of a "European health card".

    This card will replace the existing E111 social security certificate and it is aimed at lifting the obstacles blocking the movement of EU citizens by establishing that they will have medical care everywhere in the EU.

    The new European health card will not replace the national social security card but it will be used to prove that the bearer has the right to medical care in every EU country. In addition, all expenses will be refunded by the social security fund in the bearer's country.

  • [12] LOSSES IN THE ASE Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.31% at 2.494,71 points, while the volume of transactions was at 71 million Euro.

    Of the stocks trading today, 148 recorded gains and 142 had losses, while the value of 81 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [13] PRESIDENT OF THE ARAB-GREEK CHAMBER IOANNIS KASSIMATIS DIED TODAY Arab-Greek Chamber President Ioannis Kassimatis died in Athens today at the age of 78, while speaking in an event organized by the Chamber.

    He felt ill and collapsed on the podium while addressing an audience and the physicians present were unable to save him in spite of their efforts. A few minutes later he was rushed to the Onasion Cardiology Center where it was certified that he had died.


  • [14] MEETING OF THE FOREIGN MINISTERS OF GREECE, TURKEY, ROMANIA AND BULGARIA A meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Greece, Romania, Turkey and Bulgaria was held in Istanbul this morning on the sidelines of the EU and the Islamic Conference Forum which will be completed today.

    The meeting focused on the Bulgarian and Romanian bid for NATO membership that has the backing of Greece and Turkey. A joint declaration was issued after the meeting, pointing out the need for NATO's enlargement toward the Balkans.

    Commenting on the issue, Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou stated that today's meeting is placed within the framework of the initiative concerning the NATO membership of Romania and Bulgaria. The four ministers will meet again in Athens before th e Prague Summit meeting in November.

    On the Greek-Turkish exploratory contacts, Mr. Papandreou stated that they are aimed at reaching an agreement on a common framework for a broader dialogue. He underlined that there will be no negotiation on sovereign rights concerning the airspace, the r ocky islets in the Aegean and the right to extend the territorial waters to a distance of 12 nautical miles.

    Yesterday, the Greek Foreign Minister raised to his Turkish counterpart the issue of the national airspace violations and the violations of the Athens FIR by Turkish jets.

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