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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2003-06-25

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, June 25, 2003








  • [01] IN THE WAITING ROOM The second results of the examination a Chinese businessman underwent after exhibiting typical SARS signs and being placed in a negative pressure chamber in the Thessaloniki's Papanikolaou hospital, are expected to arrive from Germany tonight. His Greek business partner is also in a negative pressure chamber in Drama, and all other parties who came into contact with them are under observation. All measures that had been decided on for a SARS case in Greece have been put into effect. Minister of Health K.

    Stefanis gave his assurance that all measures have been taken to avert a spreading of the disease, while he noted that according to research, the virus is only transmitted when the symptoms are exhibited, not during gestation.

  • [02] BALTIC SKY IN VIOLATION OF SAFETY RULES "Greece applied international rules and proved that it can guarantee safety in the region" stated Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou regarding the Baltic Sky freight ship case, which had entered Greek territorial waters without having given information on the 680 tons of explosives in its hold as it should have. The Tunisian government attributed the two month wandering in the Aegean to the ship owner's demand for an additional $10,000 for the transfer of the explosives.
  • [03] EQUAL COOPERATION FOR STABILITY AND PEACE The message that the EU-US dialogue on an equal basis will have positive and beneficial results for both sides, as well as for international stability and peace, will be given to President Bush today by the leadership of the EU, through the President of the European Council, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, and the President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi. The US will ask that the EU lift the ban on American mutated products. Immediately following the meeting, President of the EU Council of

    Ministers of Justice Philippos Petsalnikos and Mr. Ashcroft will sign the EU-US extradition agreement.

  • [04] EUROPEAN COMMISSION ON EU-US SUMMIT "Despite the recent crisis in EU-US relations, it is a common goal to extend our cooperation and strengthen our inter-Atlantic relation, in order to convince public opinion that this relationship functions properly and can have positive results for the c itizens of the EU and the US, while responding to global and regional challenges." The above was mentioned by the European Commission in its announcement in view of the EU-US Summit in Washington today.

    According to the announcement, during the upcoming EU-US Summit international issues will be discussed such as the Middle East and Iraq issues, dealing with international terrorism, non-proliferation of WMD, the EU-US extradition agreement, and EU-US fin ancial relations.

    The European Commission expects clear results on a series of important issues. Specifically, they expect agreements to be signed on mutual extradition between the EU and the US, the initiation of negotiations on an agreement for an "Open Inter-Atlantic A irspace", a joint statement on a joint initiative regarding non-proliferation of WMD and the coordination of both sides' actions in promoting the "Hydrogen Economy" (the promotion of hydrogen as an alternative power source).

    According to the schedule, the Summit will begin with a private meeting between US President George Bush and Prime Minister and President of the European Council Costas Simitis, and the President of the Commission Romano Prodi. This discussion is expecte d to concentrate on the coordination of the two sides' actions in the application of the Road Map of the Quartet (EU, UN, US, Russia) for peace in the Middle East.

    Discussions between the two delegations will follow, to be completed with a working lunch. The meeting between the two delegations will begin with the Greek Presidency's presentation of the Thessaloniki Summit's results, mainly concerning the EU Constitu tion and the strategy for a common defense and security strategy.

  • [05] 6 MORE PROTEST INCIDENT SUSPECTS TO EXAMINER The last 6 suspects arrested in connection to the incidents and ensuing destruction that took place during Saturday's protest march in downtown Thessaloniki, will be taken to the Thessaloniki Examiner today.

    The 6 suspects are to be prosecuted by assistant DA Argyris Dimopoulos for felony charges, and after they state their case and enter their pleas they will either be released or detained awaiting trial.

    The charges against the 21 first suspects were specified yesterday, and they are now facing felonies, not misdemeanors, and they were released on terms by after the agreement of the DA and the Examiner.

  • [06] POSSIBLE SARS VICTIM IN STABLE CONDITION The condition of the 36-year-old Chinese national, who is in the "Papanikolaou" hospital ICU with what may be a SARS case, is stable.

    Pneumonologist Ioannis Kioumis who is monitoring the patient, supported: "The patient's clinical condition is good and he does not have any major respiratory problems. He is still running a fever and has certain auscultation findings. The basic measure w e have taken for the patient now is that we are keeping him in a negative pressure chamber and we are waiting to see the development of his condition, in a accordance with worldwide guidelines".

    As far as the Chinese businessman's partner is concerned, who is also being kept at the hospital mainly as a precaution, Mr. Kioumis mentioned: "His partner has exhibited no symptoms of the illness. He is considered clinically healthy, but will remain in

    hospital as a precaution".

    The hospital has not been quarantined despite the possible SARS case, as the doctors support that there is no reason to worry and that there should be no fear in the citizens.

    Final results on the case are expected in 15 days, when there will be a blood test in checking for the virus itself.

  • [07] BALTIC SKY WAS ORDERED TO ASTAKOS BAY The captain of the Baltic Sky attributed the ship's presence in Greek territorial waters, specifically sailing towards the Astakos bay, without giving the proper information on its cargo of 680 tons of explosives, to orders from the shipping company. "Gr eece proved that it can guarantee security in the region", stated Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou . No one has shown an interest in the ship so far stated Minister of the Merchant Marine, G. Anomeritis, who added that it is now a matter left to Justic e.
  • [08] MYSTERY SURROUND BALTIC SKY Mystery still surrounds the "Baltic Sky" cargo ship, after 680 tons of explosives and thousands of detonators were found in its hold. The case took on international dimensions as the Sudanese authorities characterized the seizure of the cargo as illegal,

    claiming that the recipient company exists, and is not a "ghost", as stated by the Ministry of the Merchant Marine.

    During a press conference held today, the Minister of Merchant Marine, Giorgos Anomeritis, supported that Greek justice will decide on the fortune of the confiscated cargo, i.e. whether it will remain in the storehouses of the Greek Army or whether it wi ll be returned to its country of origin, Sudan.

    Mr. Anomeritis also repeated that there are still open questions on why the ship was wandering the Mediterranean for 41 days, and why the captain and crew refused to provide information on their cargo and its destination.

    The Minister mentioned that the port authorities took clearly legal actions, arresting the crew, as they had violated maritime law. "From the moment that the ship entered Greek territorial waters without abiding by the laws and procedures foreseen, we we re obliged to act according to the law and that is what we did. Nothing more", he supported.

    However, he did not provide an explanation as to why the Sudanese government was disturbed.

  • [09] BALTIC SKY CAPTAIN'S STATEMENT VAGUE There was much vagueness in the statement given by the captain of the "Baltic Sky" cargo ship to the Mesologi Examiner, to whom he was led after 680 tons of explosives were found on his ship. The captain said that he often communicated with the ship owne r, 30-year-old Christian McNoulty, via telex, receiving directions on the course the ship was to follow.

    According to his statements, he contacted with the ship owner when the ship was in Istanbul and was told to travel to Astakos and contact the Greek Coast guard in order to receive directions on what to do with the cargo. When asked why the ship had no pa pers, he responded that the owner had come to an understanding with the Greek authorities.

    In any case, the captain of the "Baltic Sky" insisted that he had no terrorist intentions, but believed that he was taking the cargo to a recipient who would use the materials, always according to the directions given by the owner.

    The crew, who will soon present their case to the examiner, claim that the captain was the only one who knew what the cargo was.

    Meanwhile, as was made known, the captain will send a letter to the Ukrainian Embassy asking for help so that his crew gets a lawyer and responds to the charges against them.

  • [10] SAVVAS XEROS TO APPEAL TO EUROPEAN HUMAN RIGHTS COURT Savvas Xeros, defendant in the trial of the "17 November" terrorist organization members, announced that he will appeal to the European Court for Human Rights, in protest of the conditions under which his preliminary statements were received.

    Savvas Xeros accused DA Ioannis Diotis, characterizing him as perjurer. He also made mention of illegalities and repeated his accusations on being administered drugs that affected his mental state.

    Civic prosecutor Stavros Georgiou raised the issue of the tapes which the defendant claims were made during his preliminary statements in the hospital. Mr. Margaritis said that if there are tapes and Savvas Xeros agrees, they can be brought to court.

  • [11] POSSIBLE SARS VICTIM'S CONDITION IMPROVING The clinical image of the Chinese national who presented SARS symptoms is better than it was yesterday, according to the statements of the Minister of Health Costas Stefanis, who stressed however that the results of the second molecular test being carrie d out in Germany will be known by this afternoon or evening.

    It should be noted that the tests at the microbiology lab of the Thessaloniki University gave two positive results and one negative result, and was thus the samples were sent to Germany for further testing.

    Mr. Stefanis stressed that the case is being handled as if it was SARS and he noted that a team from the Control Center of Special Contracting Diseases was sent to Drama and tested all the people the Chinese businessman came into contact with.

    He also stressed that there is no reason to worry because the measures that were taken are such that make further contraction impossible.

  • [12] THE EU IS CONCERNED WITH THE MASS MEDIA SITUATION IN BELARUS The EU follows with great concern the worsening media situation in Belarus and expresses its preoccupation at the suspension of the independent newspaper "Belaruskaya Delovaya Gazeta" and the publication "BDG-for internal use only" on May 28, 2003. The E U is also concerned about certain provisions in the draft media law and the continued harassment of the independent and opposition newspapers and journalists.

    The EU wishes to see Belarus take its rightful place in Europe, as a country with functioning democratic institutions and a prosperous market economy. Nevertheless, the EU is forced by the recent developments to express its disappointment for the above-m entioned restrictions and underlines that freedom of press and freedom of expression are essential elements in a country that wishes to take its place among the European nations. The improvement of the media situation will be an important step forward as far as the EU-Belarus relations are concerned.

    The EU urges Belarus to step up its efforts to ameliorate the media situation in the country by bringing into force a draft media law that will have been positively evaluated by OSCE and COE experts. Moreover, it urges Belarus to take immediate, remedial

    action to reverse the temporary closure of the "Belaruskaya Delovaya Gazeta" and the publication "BDG-for internal use only", and to refrain from taking further restrictive action against the independent media or journalists in the country.

    The Acceeding Countries Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, the Associated Countries Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, memb ers of the European Economic Area align themselves with this declaration.

  • [13] GAINS IN THE ASE Gains were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index rose to +1.34% at 1.906,51 points, while the volume of transactions was at 188.8 million euros.

    Of the stocks trading today, 158 recorded gains and 148 had losses, while the value of 69 stocks remained unchanged.

  • [14] THE GOV'T SPOKESMAN ON THE EU-US JUDICIAL ASSISTANCE AGREEMENT Greek government spokesman Christos Protopapas cited the statements made by Justice Minister Philippos Petsalnikos saying that the judicial assistance agreement is not a bilateral one between Greece and the United States but refers to the EU relations an d therefore, it will not have to be ratified by the Greek Parliament.

    The government spokesman added that the EU-US agreement does not create any problem to the Greek citizens because the 1932 Greek-US agreement remains in effect.

    Mr. Protopapas stated that it is a good agreement reiterating that nothing changes regarding the Greek citizens.

  • [15] THE LAB TEST RESULTS ON THE SARS SUSPECT CASE WERE NEGATIVE The results of the molecular tests made by a specialized laboratory in Hamburg to detect the SARS virus in the 36yearold Chinese man, who remains hospitalized at "Papanikolaou Hospital" in Thessaloniki with SARS symptoms, came out negative, according to the NET state-run television station.

    However, this does not mean that the state of alert will end as the final results on the antibodies tests will be ready in 15 days to put an end to any doubt.

    The 36yearold is at a negative pressure chamber at "Papanikolaou Hospital" as well as one of his partners who was also tested for SARS and the results were negative.


  • [16] OPEN LINE TO MOSCOW An open line of communication with Moscow on Turkish violations in the Aegean, which were characterized as "a dangerous turn in Turkish foreign policy", was agreed on during the meeting between Minister of National Defense Giannos Papantoniou and Russian

    Prime Minister M. Kasianof. During their meeting they also looked into Russia's relationship with the EU and NATO, dealing with international terrorism and the Cyprus issue, and Mr. Papantoniou characterized Russia as NATO's 20th member.

  • [17] PAPANDREOU STATEMENTS ON EU-US SUMMIT His appreciation that today's EU-US Summit in Washington will give both sides of the Atlantic the chance to promote many fields in which they could cooperate for the benefit of all, was expressed by Foreign Minister Giorgos Papandreou.

    In his statements from the US capital with Minister of Justice Philippos Petsalnikos, Mr. Papandreou underlined the special importance tomorrow's meeting holds, after the Iraq crisis, through which important differences were pointed out, both among EU me mbers and between the EU and the US.

    "During our Presidency, the EU realized the need to form its own separate view and policy on major international issues, whether they are current, or whether they create or are future or present challenges to a society that is becoming all the more globa lized, in combination with global developments which affect us Europeans on our own continent", underlined Mr. Papandreou.

    "It is therefore an achievement of the Greek Presidency that we European partners managed to formulate the Security Strategy of the European Union - Security Concept Strategy, which marks security priorities for us Europeans, our role, the ability of the

    EU to contribute to security for us, and internationally", he stated.

    The Foreign Minister appreciated that a very strong basis has already been formed, which the President of the European Council and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis will fully utilize at tomorrow's Summit and in his discussions with US President George

    Bush on an equal basis with the US.

    He stressed that the spirit around EU-US relations can be basically broken down to the following: "Yes, we had differences on Iraq, but there are important areas where we can cooperate. Political areas or geographic regions, such as the Middle East, such

    as the need to make peace around the Palestinian issue, where close EU-US cooperation is required for a positive result." "We, the US and the EU, will have our differences in sectors, but I believe that we will prove there is room for progress", he said.

    "Furthermore, our message is that on an equal basis, an EU-US dialogue will have positive and beneficial results, for both our sides, as well as for international stability and peace", he pointed out.

    Mr. Papandreou noted that "inter-Atlantic cooperation, does not mean that we will always agree", but it can serve as an important stand, a structure to support multilateral institutions and in dealing with new challenges around the world, such as terrori sm or WMD and other important issues, such as poverty, inequality, the environment or conflict in various regions.

  • [18] PAPANDREOU-GROSSMAN-COX WANT A CLIMATE OF COOPERATION IN THE EU-US RELATIONS Greece's Foreign Minister and EU Council of Ministers' President Giorgos Papandreou, European Parliament President Pat Cox, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Mark Grossman, and US House of Representatives subcommittee on Europe chairman D oug Bereuter said in Washington today that it was necessary for the US and EU to return to a climate of cooperation, on the eve of this year's annual EU-US Summit.

    During an open discussion on trans-atlantic relations organised by the German Marshall Fund, Mr. Papandreou presented the conclusions of last week's EU summit held in Halkidiki, northern Greece, and noted Europe's desire for a relationsip with the US on an equal footing, since both sides of the Atlantic, despite any difference, generally held the same goals.

    Mr. Grossman said that Washington has for decades been a staunch supporter of the EU, and its enlargement, and described as a "positive development" the recent "strategy for the security of Europe" presented to the EU leaders by EU High Representative fo r Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, sayng it indicated that the EU had the political will to confront international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

    Mr. Grossman congratulated the Greek EU Presidency for earnestly supporting the need for trans-atlantic dialogue and for advancing the discussion of the "real issues" of concern to humanity today, which he said were the problems of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. He added, however, that the pronouncements needed to be followed by actions.

    Mr. Papandreou said that the EU did not rule out the use of violence, but maintained that such action must have authorisation from the UN, and added that the European countries were determined to exhaust all diplomatic and economic means before being obl iged to resort to the use of the "extreme solution" of violence.

    Mr. Grossman spoke of "necessary flexibility" to follow a multilateral approach wherever possible, but added there must in tandem be preparedness for the use of violence when that was deemed necessary.

    He further noted the importance of the common values that united the US and Europe.

    Mr. Cox, in turn, maintained that the two sides of the Atlantic needed to cooperate more, and called on the US to accept Europe as an equal partner. He proposed close parliamentary cooperation so as to achieve common confrontation of issues arising and a void the compicated procedures and distortions that follow the adoption of laws, which frequenly lead to clashes.

    Mr. Cox said that the US was the most powerful war machine the planet has ever known, adding that this was a reality that would not change, but he warned that despite its strength, the US "cannot do everything on its own".

    The four officials condemned the "extremist voices" on both sides of the Atlantic. Mr. Bereuter, speaking on behalf of the US Congress, endorsed a more substantive EU role in the Middle East.

    Noting that he came from a farming state, Mr. Bereuter also urged Europe to accept GM (genetically modified) products, while on the multilateral confrontation of crises, he said that the majority of US legislators of both parties did not see the UN as a necessary organisation for the preservation of peace and security, "and this is a reality that the Europeans must realise and take into consideration".

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