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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-06-09

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, June 9, 2003








  • [01] THE PRESIDENT OF THE BULGARIAN SOCIALIST PARTY VISITS GREECE The leader of the Bulgarian main opposition party arrived in Thessaloniki this morning.

    Bulgarian Socialist Party President Sergei Stanichev is accompanied by 5 Bulgarian Mayors and at noon today he will be in Athens to meet at 4:30pm with Greek governing Socialist Party of PASOK Secretary Kostas Laliotis, while at 6pm in the afternoon he w ill meet with Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou.

    The President of the Bulgarian Socialist Party will return to Thessaloniki and he will meet with Macedonia-Thrace Minister Giorgos Paschalidis. He will give a press conference at the Helexpo-Thessaloniki International Trade Fair Administration Hall on Tu esday at 12pm. Later at 9pm in the evening, he will address a formal dinner given at Macedonia Palace Hotel by the Hellenic-US Chamber of Commerce, the Inter-Balkan and Black Sea Business Center (DIPEK) and Macedonian Press Agency. Greek Minister of Publi c Order Michalis Chrisochoidis will also address the event on the "Greek-Bulgarian cooperation within the framework of the Balkan European prospects".

    Also, present in the event will be Bulgarian Socialist Party Vice-President Rumen Petkov, expected to arrive in Thessaloniki tomorrow.

  • [02] TURKISH F-16 JETS HARASSED AN OA PASSENGER PLANE OVER PSARA ISLAND The Greek Air Force is very concerned with the provocative stance adopted by the Turkish Air Force over the Aegean.

    The most recent incident took place 12 minutes before 9am today when two Turkish F-16 fighter jets harassed an Olympic Airways passenger plane on flight 321 to Istanbul.

    The harassment took place at an altitude of 29.000 feet, inside air corridor G-18, over the island of Psara. The harassment was such, that the OA passenger plane's electronic system that warns in the case of an imminent collision was activated. The capta in was forced to change course immediately and move to a higher altitude.

    The Greek Air Force chiefs of staff try to deal with the situation calmly within the framework of the tension avoidance policy also followed by the Greek Foreign Ministry at a diplomatic level. The interception crews have been placed at 5minute-readiness

    status to deal with the escalating Turkish provocation over the Aegean within the framework of the "Sea Wolf" exercise held in the region by the Turkish armed forces.

    The Turkish fighter jets do not recognize the Greek sovereign rights in the Aegean sky and refuse to present flight plans to the Greek authorities violating repeatedly the Greek FIR and national airspace.

  • [03] EARTHQUAKE MEASURING 5.4 IN CENTRAL GREECE Only a few aftershocks measuring under 3.5 on the Richter scale have been recorded by the Athens Observatory since 10:07am this morning after the earthquake of 5.4 that shook the region, 20 kilometers southwest of Litochoro, central Greece.

    The region that gave this morning's strong earthquake is not registered as having a very high seismic activity. The most recent earthquake was recorded in 1995 and measured 4.5, while the strongest was recorded in 1941 and measured 6 on the Richter scale .

    The earthquake was felt in the region of Larisa and as far away as the prefecture of Kozani in northwestern Greece. No victims were reported and the damages caused were only minor.

  • [04] THE MINERS CONTINUE THEIR HUNGER STRIKE FOR AN EIGHT DAY About 100 miners continue their hunger strike locked inside the galleries of their mine at Stratoni, Chalkidiki northern Greece for an eight day. They threaten that they will not stop their mobilization unless the multinational Kinross Gold Corporation r ecalls its decision to proceed with layoffs.

    Tens of their colleagues and relatives remain outside the mine in a show of solidarity since the first day of the mobilization.

    Two more strikers fainted because of exhaustion and were taken to a hospital, while an ambulance is outside the mine on a 24hour basis to assist the miners with health problems.

  • [05] PAPANTONIOU: GREECE WILL NOT PLAY ANKARA'S GAME Greece will not play the game of tension with Turkey, said Greek Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou commenting on today's harassment of an Olympic Airways passenger plane by Turkish F-16 fighter jets.

    He stated characteristically that today's incident highlights the risks of the increased aggressiveness and provocation by Turkey, referring to the repeated Turkish violations of the Greek airspace.

    Mr. Papantoniou also stressed that Turkey should be careful to avoid incidents that could cause serious problems to bilateral relations.

    He said that the Greek Air Force pilots are extremely stable and calm and added that he has confidence in the Greek Air Force but on the other hand, he stressed that the Greek side is in a state of vigilance and a high level of readiness.

  • [06] DEMARCHES TO ANKARA AND ICAO BY ATHENS Athens will make a demarche to Ankara and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in protest for the harassment of an Olympic Airways passenger plane by two Turkish F-16 fighter jets this morning, according to a statement by Greek Foreign Mi nistry spokesman Panos Beglitis.

    Mr. Beglitis expressed the concern of the Greek government over today's incident, which violates the main principles of international law and the internationally acceptable practices of international organizations, such as ICAO. He assured that all the n ecessary actions and demarches will be made to the Turkish side and the ICAO within the following hours.

    The Foreign Ministry spokesman stated that NATO, the EU and ICAO are being informed over the repeated violations of the Greek national airspace, adding that the ICAO general director has expressed concern over the situation.

    Mr. Beglitis also underlined that the attitude and practice adopted by the Turkish military establishment is in direct opposition with the expressed will of the Turkish government to strengthen its European prospect and adjust its policy to the obligatio ns of an EU candidate state.

  • [07] INFLATION ROSE TO 3.8% IN MAY Inflation in Greece rose to 3.8% in May, recording an increase compared to April when it was at 3.4%. This increase is mainly due to the big increases in the prices of fruits and vegetables, based on the Greek National Statistics Agency.

    Specifically, the big increases in the prices of fruits and vegetables more than covered the positive effect the drop of fuel prices could have on inflation.

    An increase was recorded in the harmonized consumer price index in May, at 3.5% on an annual basis, compared to 3.3% in April.

  • [08] LOSSES IN THE ASE Losses were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -0.44% at 1.868,46 points, while the volume of transactions was at 185 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, 202 recorded gains and 131 had losses, while the value of 45 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [09] THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE CHALKIDIKI MINES The government will exhaust every effort to find a solution to the problem of the Chalkidiki mines, stated Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas. He pointed out that the government treats the miners, who make their living in the worst possible c onditions, with sensitivity and a sense of responsibility.

    The government spokesman reminded that the government for a number of years is trying to secure the future and viability of the mines and above all the jobs of hundreds of people but it has been met with reactions. He stressed that the investment in ques tion was cancelled after court appeals made by local residents.

  • [10] PROTOPAPAS ON THE HARASSMENT OF AN OA PLANE BY TURKISH JETS Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas condemned the provocative stance of the Turkish establishment in response to the harassment of an Olympic Airways passenger plane, en route from Athens to Istanbul, by two Turkish F-16 fighter jets.

    He said that Greece does not intend to play the game of the Turkish military establishment, which is trying to create a fabricated tension aimed at bringing Turkey out of international isolation. He said that Greece remains firm to the main problems name ly, the Cyprus problem and the solution of differences based on International Law. He added that the Greek policy has been successful and will be continued until the desired outcome is achieved, stressing that the EU and NATO have been informed on today's

    incident over the Aegean and the ICAO will also be briefed during the day.

    Responding to relevant questions, Mr. Protopapas pointed out that the Turkish generals continue the provocation on purpose, adding that the Turkish military establishment does not want their country's European course and creates secondary fronts. Greece defends its national interests and naturally, it will not follow Turkey on this path, said Mr. Protopapas.

    In conclusion, the Greek government spokesman stated that the Turkish leadership should make its choices and decide whether it wants the European course or not and whether it wants to be identified with the military or not.

  • [11] THE PREPARATIONS IN VIEW OF THE THESSALONIKI EU SUMMIT MEETING Greek government officials on Monday said preparations to host the hordes of protesters expected to converge on the northern Greek port-city of Thessaloniki (June 19-21) for the European Union summit were "nearing completion".

    EU leaders will meet in a resort further to the east, Chalkidiki prefecture, to discuss the situation in Iraq, the Middle East and, of course, the future of Europe.

    Speaking at a press conference, Macedonia-Thrace Minister Giorgos Paschalidis told reporters that a hospitality project, dubbed "Hospitality-Respect", was set up to host some 30,000 people, although he clarified that this doesn't mean the number of demon strators cannot be higher.

    "We are not going to intervene in the political context of the demonstrations that will be staged, but we are asking for the self-evident, namely, that visitors also respect the city," Mr. Paschalidis said.

    He said construction work at two camps located at the Thessaloniki municipalities of Aghios Pavlos and Polichni had already started and that preliminary contracts valued at 320,000 euro had been signed for the installation of necessary infrastructure.

    Some of the demonstrators will be hosted on the grounds of the Thessaloniki University in tents provided by the Macedonia-Thrace ministry, as well as at organised camping facilities at the nearby village of Epanome.

    Mr. Paschalidis said that multiple-route cards would be issued to facilitate city travel for demonstrators and that all medical units in Thessaloniki would be on alert between June 19 and 21.

    The minister urged for everyone's contribution so that demonstrations and other events are carried out in a peaceful manner, adding that he had been given assurances on this point by the leaders of the activists' movements.

  • [12] STANICHEV'S CONTACTS IN ATHENS Bulgarian Socialist Party President Sergei Stanichev in statements to MPA underlined the fact that his party had adopted a different position regarding the war in Iraq from that of the Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha government. He also stressed that there is a

    need for the EU and the US to cooperate in the effort against terrorism. He avoided to make any predictions on whether the government of former King Simeon will complete its term in office, stating that a lot will be judged in the imminent municipal elec tions to take place in Bulgaria in the fall.

    Specifically, Mr. Stanichev said that the stance of the Bulgarian Socialist Party was different from that of the Bulgarian government during the crisis and the war over Iraq. The Bulgarian government should have looked for a greater balance in its behavi or, mainly during the period when the situation in Iraq was under discussion in the UN Security Council, said Mr. Stanichev. He also said that during that time, the stance adopted by Bulgaria was unilateral and this, according to his opinion, had created an unfavorable atmosphere regarding Bulgaria's incorporation into the EU.

    He also pointed out that there is a need for a "damage control", as he called it, regarding Bulgaria's relations with the EU, while a new boost should be given to the negotiations with the EU and course of the country's preparations toward EU accession.

    He said that the mutual interest is to restore the bridges between the EU and the US because the first victim of this war was the global alliance against terrorism. Common approaches are needed because the challenges remain common, he said and referred t o the series of terrorist attacks recorded over the past month in Casablanca, Saudi Arabia, and Chechnya, as well as elsewhere. He said that terrorism knows no borders and for this reason, only the united Europe and the US can deal with this challenge. He

    said that after the new UNSC decision on Iraq, the Bulgarian Socialist Party backed the deployment of Bulgarian troops in Iraq to contribute to the stabilization and democratization of the country.

    Responding to the question if the Saxe-Coburg Gotha government will complete its term in office, Mr. Stanichev stated that the biggest enemy of the government is the government itself. He said that very often it causes instability in the country because of its internal contradictions and scandals.

    He said that he cannot make categorical predictions, but in the past few months the government very often surprised everybody with moves that were damaging to itself. The stance of the Bulgarian Socialist Party is clear, he said. It is an opposition pol itical force and until now it has backed two votes of censure which were rejected.

    He also said that there are two serious political tests laying ahead for all political powers in Bulgaria that will reveal their strength, among them the local elections in the fall.

    Mr. Stanichev also met with Greek Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou and governing Socialist Party of PASOK Secretary Kostas Laliotis.

    Bulgaria's European prospect, bilateral relations, the situation in Southeastern Europe and the preparations for the EU Summit in Thessaloniki, were the issues discussed in the meeting Mr. Stanichev had with Mr. Papandreou, who characterized bilateral re lations as "very good", while Mr. Stanichev said that bilateral relations are "excellent". The Bulgarian Socialist leader expressed his country's gratitude for Greece's support to Bulgaria's efforts for EU accession and characterized Bulgaria's EU accessi on in 2007 as a realistic goal.

    Mr. Laliotis stated after the meeting with Mr. Stanichev that PASOK and the Bulgarian Socialist Party, as well as Greece and Bulgaria share strong cooperation relations. He said that the Bulgarian Socialist Party played a significant role in the politica l developments of the past decade in Bulgaria, while he stressed that the party's future prospects are promising.

    On his part, Mr. Stanichev expressed the belief that Greece and Bulgaria, being two important countries in the region, can work together in a much more active way for stability and development in Western Balkans.


  • [13] GREEK WOMAN BRUTALLY KILLED IN MADRID A Greek woman, Chrisanthi Papadopoulou, a mother of four, lost her life in Madrid last night when two young thieves tried to snatch her handbag. Her husband, Thomas Papaioannou, an eye doctor, was with her when the tragic incident occurred. The woman was

    in Madrid accompanying her husband on the occasion of a scientific conference.

    The woman resisted when the two thieves tried to steal her bag and one of them attacked her with a knife causing the deadly injury.

    Police arrested the two assailants, identified as Moroccans under the age of 18. One of them was on leave from the Madrid juvenile prison where he was held.

    Madrid faces a serious crime problem given the fact that based on Spanish Sociology Studies Institute figures, a total of 55 people have been murdered on its streets since the beginning of the year.

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