|Wednesday, 29 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-01-22
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 PAPANDREOU SAYS HE HAS BEEN DISTORTEDIstanbul, 22 January 2000 (14:56 UTC+2)
Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou denied the "Turkish Daily News" report according to which, in the meeting he had with Turkish newspaper directors he had stated that the Greek government has decided to recognize the Muslim minority in Thrace, north-eastern Greece, as a Turkish minority.
Mr. Papandreou responding to a question by a reporter on that issue this morning, stated that his statements were totally distorted. He said that the Muslim minority will maintain this name, adding that Greece as a member of the Council of Europe has the obligation to recognize the right of the individuals to self-identification.
Mr. Papandreou also stated that the rights of the minorities are respected in accordance with the Treaty of Lausanne.
Greek foreign ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis characterized the report published on the English-speaking Turkish newspaper "Turkish Daily News" as a complete distortion and misinterpretation of the statements made by foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou.
According to the newspaper, Mr. Papandreou during the meeting he had with Turkish newspapers directors allegedly stated that the Greek government has decided to recognize the Turkish identity of the Muslims in Thrace in order to be able to live without discriminations like the rest of the Greek citizens.
Mr. Beglitis speaking to MPA pointed out that Mr. Papandreou during the briefing of the Turkish newspaper directors referred to the obligations the countries have toward the minorities based on international agreements which are binding for all states, while at the same time he referred to the moves already made by Greece for the improvement of the situation of the Muslim minority in Thrace, north-eastern Greece.
 ROYAUMONT PROCESS COUNTRIES ÔÏ MEET IN TIRANAThessaloniki, 22 January 2000 (16:32 UTC+2)
The labor ministers of the Royaumont process countries will meet in Tirana before the end of the year to assess the progress achieved in the democratization front and in the strengthening of social dialogue in the countries of south-eastern Europe.
The establishment of the forum is included in the declaration of principles text signed in Thessaloniki today by the labor ministers of Greece, Albania, FYROM, Hungary, Portugal, Romania, Russia and Turkey.
The decision for the establishment of the forum which will meet in Albania this year was made after a proposal tabled by Albanian labor minister Ms. Makbule Ceco, according to the statements made by Greek labor minister Miltiadis Papaioannou in a press conference today.
The proposal by Ms. Ceco was submitted within the framework of the two-day conference on the Society of Citizens, democratization and the implementation of the Stability Pact organized in Thessaloniki by the European Economic and Social Committee and the Royaumont process at the initiative of the Economic and Social Committee of Greece.
Meanwhile, the action plan with a budget of 600.000 Euro that was drawn up by the European Training Institute aimed at strengthening social dialogue and democratization in south-eastern Europe, got the "green light" in the conference.
Greek European Commissioner Ms. Anna Diamantopoulou, responsible for issues of social policy and employment, pledged that she will table a proposal to the European Commission to back the action plan in order to make its goals easier to meet. Referring to the conference, Ms. Diamantopoulou stated that it has both political and social significance. She said that the political significance of the decisions reached during the conference is traced to the fact that the cooperation framework of the Royaumont process labor ministers has been created based on the declaration of principles that was adopted.
According to Ms. Diamantopoulou, the basis for a joint action of the countries in the region has been adopted through the approval of the action plan. Outlining its priorities, Ms. Diamantopoulou stated that the institutions for the support of social dialogue will be strengthened, social partners will be trained, there will be an exchange of information and experience among the countries in the region, while reports will be drawn up and research will be conducted on the situation in the region.
 THE GREEK LABOR MINISTER WILL VISIT TIRANAThessaloniki, 22 January 2000 (16:32 UTC+2)
Greek labor minister Miltiadis Papaioannou will be on a formal visit to Albania in February or March at the invitation of his Albanian counterpart Ms. Makbule Ceco. In the contacts the two ministers will have in Tirana are expected to reach a new agreement on the issue of immigration as it was announced in a press conference in Thessaloniki today by Mr. Papaioannou.
The two ministers had the opportunity for contacts in the two-day conference on the Society of Citizens, democratization and the implementation of the Stability Pact in south-eastern Europe organized in Thessaloniki by the European Economic and Social Committee and the Royaumont process at the initiative of the Economic and Social Committee of Greece.
Ms. Ceco stated that the discussion focused on immigration issues and generally, on issues concerning the future relations and cooperation of the two ministries. She also thanked the Greek ministry of labor for the reception, registering and legalization of the Albanian immigrants in Greece.
 GREEK LABOR MINISTER ÔÏ VISIT ANKARAThessaloniki, 22 January 2000 (17:00 UTC+2)
Greek minister of labor Miltiadis Papaioannou will make an official visit to Ankara as soon as the responsible ministry directors make the necessary preparations. Mr. Papaioannou met with his Turkish counterpart on the sidelines of the Royaumont process labor ministers meeting that was held in Thessaloniki today and accepted the invitation extended to him by Turkish labor minister Yasar Okuyan to visit Ankara.
In statements he made after the meeting, Mr. Papaioannou stated that it coincided with the meeting of the Greek and Turkish foreign ministers in Turkey where they signed important agreements for progress and the strengthening of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
Mr. Papaioannou stated that in the discussion he had with his Turkish counterpart it was established that there are differences between the two countries but in any case they can be resolved as a new framework is being created in a very good climate. The Greek minister stated that he has also invited his Turkish counterpart to visit Greece and the time of that visit will be decided through the diplomatic route.
Mr. Okuyan characterized as positive the talks he had with his Greek counterpart and referring to the agreements signed by the Greek and Turkish foreign ministers he stressed that they guarantee the beginning of a new era in the Greek-Turkish relations. He also stated that with the signing of agreements by the Greek and the Turkish foreign ministers a process of contacts will be launched for all the ministries in the two countries aimed at making steps toward a sincere cooperation.
 COOPERATION OF ELECTRICITY UNIONS IN SE EUROPEAthens, 22 January 2000 (16:26 UTC+2)
Greece will host and organize the first conference of the Federation of Electricity Organizations Unions in south-eastern European countries that will take place in Athens on January 30-February 2.
The preparations for the conference were made in Cyprus and in the federation participate unions from Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria.
 PAPANDREOU AND CEM CANDIDATES FOR THE NOBELAthens, 22 January 2000 (16:25 UTC+2)
According to a report on the Athens newspaper "Ependitis" which cites reliable information, the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey Giorgos Papandreou and Ismail Cem are likely to share the Nobel Peace prize.
The newspaper writes that international factors, among them the US ambassador to Athens, appear willing to promote the joint candidature of Papandreou-Cem for the Nobel Peace prize if the efforts by the two politicians for rapprochement and the solution of the problems between the two countries are successful.
 EARTHQUAKE OF 4.2 IN THE CORINTHIAN BAYCorinth, 22 January 2000 (14:56 UTC+2)
An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale shook northern Peloponesse in southern Greece.
The epicenter of the tremor, that was recorded at 1:15am in the early morning hours today, was located at the Corinthian Bay.
No damages were reported by the police.
 PROPOSAL TO ÅU TO BACK DEMOCRATISATIONThessaloniki, 22 January 2000 (14:22 UTC+2)
Greek European Commissioner Ms. Anna Diamantopoulou, speaking in the closed meeting of the labor ministers of the Royaumont process states today, announced her intention to submit a proposal to the European Commission backing the action plan for the promotion of social dialogue in south-eastern Europe. Ms. Diamantopoulou hopes that through her proposal additional community funds will be secured for the more effective implementation of the plan"s goals the initial budget of which is 600.000 Euro.
The visit of the Greek European Commissioner to Thessaloniki is placed within the framework of her participation in the two-day conference on the Society of Citizens, democratization and the implementation of the Stability Pact in south-eastern Europe organized by the European Economic and Social Committee and the Royaumont process at the initiative of the Economic and Social Committee of Greece.
In the meeting of the labor ministers Ms. Diamantopoulou stated characteristically that in the era of globalization Europe is called to combine competitiveness with social cohesion. She also said that the end of the decade must find Europe with fewer inequalities and stressed the significance of legislation, institutions and training of social partners in the countries of south-eastern Europe.
Turkish labor minister Yasar Okuyan, who is meeting in Thessaloniki today with his Greek counterpart Miltiadis Papaioannou, praised the significance of social dialogue in the countries of south-eastern Europe, stressing that absence of a dialogue will unavoidably lead to social conflicts and unrest as well as to political instability. Within this setting the implementation of the action plan that was approved today acquires a more urgent character, pointed out Mr. Okuyan, stressing that the governments of the Royaumont process countries should encourage the social partners to have an active participation in national, economic and social policies taking always under consideration democracy, the protection of human rights and the state of law.
The establishment of a permanent forum of the region"s labor ministers was suggested by Albanian labor minister Makbule Ceco who proposed that the first meeting of that forum take place in Tirana before the end of the year. She also thanked the Greek labor ministry for legalizing the Albanian immigrants in Greece and stressed that the consolidation of a climate of cooperation among the neighboring countries in the region is imperative through the signing of bilateral agreements. She said that contacts toward this direction have already been inaugurated with Greece, Turkey and FYROM, while the Albanian draft law facilitating the operation of the non governmental organizations will be ratified in the immediate future.
FYROM"s labor minister Ibraimi Bedredin stressed that his country and Montenegro have shared the weight of the Kosovo refugees after the war and therefore, they need economic support in order to meet their target for their gradual harmonization with the European community structures. He concluded expressing the hope that those issues will be settled through the Stability Pact.
 CONCLUSIONS OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEEThessaloniki, 22 January 2000 (14:21 UTC+2)
The need for dynamic social organizations in order to meet the goals of the Stability Pact in south-eastern Europe was underlined by George Wright, head of the European Economic and Social Committee foreign relations.
Summarizing the conclusions reached yesterday, first day of the two-day conference on the Society of Citizens, democratization and the implementation of the Stability Pact in south-eastern Europe, organized in a central hotel in Thessaloniki by the European Economic and Social Committee and the Royaumont process at the initiative of the Economic and Social Committee of Greece, Mr. Wright pointed out that the goals set are feasible adding that it is of decisive importance to avoid shallow imitations.
He also stressed that it is necessary to achieve the strengthening of the economic and social organizations in the Royaumont process countries, pointing out that both the economic and social partners must contribute decisively to the implementation of reforms.
Furthermore, he underlined that the necessary timetable and the safeguarding of the action plan"s budget must be finalized, while in conclusion he suggested the establishment of a committee which will secure the implementation of the action plan.
The establishment of a managing committee in which all the key factors for the coordination and materialization of the proposed action plan will be represented, was suggested by Charalambos Frangoulis program manager of the European Training Institute. Mr. Frangoulis stressed that the plan will focus on the strengthening and improvement of the needs that exist in the states benefiting from the plan, the coordinated exchange of experience and the creation of a network of discussions and contacts.
The action plan will be implemented with the assistance of the European Union, while efforts will be made to secure the cooperation of other sponsors as well that will assist in the funding of the effort, concluded Mr. Frangoulis wrapping-up the meeting yesterday, first day of the two-day conference that is co-financed by the European Commission and the National Economy ministry.