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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-05-04

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

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.


CONTENTS

  • [01] GREECE TO ENTER EMU WITH NO ŤANDs, IFs OR BUTsť
  • [02] US STATE SECRETARY CALLS INVESTORS TO BALKANS
  • [03] REPPAS' RESPONSE TO THE ECEVIT STATEMENTS
  • [04] THE BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION AND THE 7TH THESSALONIKI FORUM
  • [05] LOSSES OF 0.52% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE
  • [06] KAKLAMANAKIS RANKS SECOND IN THE WORLD
  • [07] THE OLYMPIC GAMES IN GREECE WILL BE ORGANIZED IN A PERFECT WAY
  • [08] MR. PAPANDREOU EXPRESSED SATISFACTION OVER THE RETURN OF A BABY-BOY TO
  • [09] THE LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK ON TERRORISM WILL NOT CHANGE
  • [10] STATE MAPS OUT NEXT MOVES IN LIGHT OF EMU
  • [11] GREEK COMPANIES STRONG ON FT500 GLOBAL SURVEY
  • [12] PRESIDENT OF SOLVAKIA TO VISIT GREECE ON MAY 8
  • [13] GREECE IS THE SIXTH LARGEST INVESTOR IN ROMANIA
  • [14] TURKISH PM OPTIMISTIC OVER TIES WITH GREECE
  • [15] GREEK, TURKISH UNIVERSITY STUDENTS GET TOGETHER
  • [16] BTC SALE TO OTE/KPN EXPECTED TO BE FINALIZED SOON
  • [17] PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS UNDERGOES OPERATION
  • [18] BRITISH ENVOY ARRIVES IN CYPRUS TODAY
  • [19] THE EURO-ZONE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE WAS 9.4% IN MARCH
  • [20] GREECE FIRST AMONG NEW MEMBERS OF UNS ECOSOC
  • [21] GREEK FM DISCUSSES CYPRUS WITH ALFRED MOSES

  • [01] GREECE TO ENTER EMU WITH NO ŤANDs, IFs OR BUTsť

    Athens, 4 May 2000 (10:20 UTC+2)

    The European Commission has recommended Greece's accession to the Economic and Monetary Union, the 12th member to enter the "euro-zone", following positive assessment reports submitted by the EU Commission and the European Central Bank.

    The EU Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Pedro Solbes, presented the Commission's assessment report on the Greek economy to the European Parliament's relevant committee yesterday and stated that the Greek economy has made great progress, while he underlined since Greece now fulfilled all EMU convergence criteria, membership should begin by January 1, 2001.

    In a subsequent press conference, National Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou stated that he was "very satisfied" with the European Commission's recommendation and stressed that the Commission's report includes no calls for structural changes.

    He stressed that Greece was entering EMU on its own merits, fulfilling all convergence criteria, with the inflation rate in March at 2.0 percent, down from a criterion of 2.4 percent; the fiscal deficit at 1.6 percent of GDP, compared with a criterion of 3.0 percent; and long-term interest rates at 6.4 percent, against a criterion of 7.2.

    A.F.

    [02] US STATE SECRETARY CALLS INVESTORS TO BALKANS

    New York, 4 May 2000 (11:24 UTC+2)

    US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright urged private investors to support the efforts of the United States and European

    governments to bring political stability to the Balkans through economic development.

    Addressing a conference organized by the East-West Institute on the theme the new geopolitics in southeast Europe and the climate for investment, Ms. Albright described the Stability Pact with Balkan countries as a two-way bargain rather than a one-way street, and said the region has agreed to do all it can to create the economic, political and security conditions that will make development possible and private investment rewarding.

    Moreover, she praised the foreign ministers of Greece and Turkey, George Papandreou and Ismael Cem respectively, for aiding development, promoting investment, and helping to turn the Balkans problem into the Southeast European opportunity.

    Mr. Papandreou referred to the increasing trade between Greece and Turkey, which is anticipated to reach five billion dollars by 2005, while he also pointed to the nine agreements already signed between the two neighbors.

    Also, the Greek FM stated that Greek-Tursih joint ventures provide the opportunity for foreign participation, such as the recent $150 energy project in Northern Greece which features the involvement of Greece, Turkey, the United States and Russia.

    Referring to regional security, Mr. Papandreou referred to the establishment of a multi-national force in S.E Europe, with its headquarters in Plovdiv.

    A.F.

    [03] REPPAS' RESPONSE TO THE ECEVIT STATEMENTS

    Athens, 4 May 2000 (17:20 UTC+2)

    Bad services to the Greek-Turkish relations are offered by anyone who makes such statements, said Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, commenting on the statements made by Turkish prime minister Bulent Ecevit, who raised an issue over the Aegean.

    Mr. Reppas stressed that the scenery in the Greek-Turkish relations is clear and pointed out that Ankara should not make attempts to make it foggy. Responding to Mr. Ecevit, he said that the only issue existing between the two countries is the legal issue of the continental shelf in the Aegean that can be settled by the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

    The Greek government spokesman called on Turkey to respect the commitments it has undertaken in Helsinki, stating that it must prove in practice that it wants to be on an equal basis with the European Union member-states. On the Cyprus problem, Mr. Reppas said that it will be handled within the framework of the United Nations.

    [04] THE BALKAN RECONSTRUCTION AND THE 7TH THESSALONIKI FORUM

    Thessaloniki, 4 May 2000 (17:20 UTC+2)

    The 7th Thessaloniki Forum opens on Monday with the participation of 9 Balkan government ministers and Stability Pact coordinator Bodo Hobach. The forum is organized by the Industries Association in Northern Greece and the US-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Organization for the Reconstruction of the Balkans.

    The Forum this time will deal with the reconstruction of south-eastern Europe and is possible to be attended by minister of national economy Yiannos Papantoniou, foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou and US ambassador Nicholas Burns.

    The proceedings of the two-day forum will be attended by FYROM government vice-president Vasil Topurkowski and 200 foreign delegates among them, four government undersecretaries and tens of businessmen and representatives of international organizations such as the World Bank, the European Bank of Investments and the SECI initiative.

    [05] LOSSES OF 0.52% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGE

    Athens, 4 May 2000 (17:20 UTC+2)

    The Athens Stock Exchange had losses of 0.52% today and the main characteristic of the session was the small purchasing interest that led the general index to 4.358,26 points, while the volume of transactions was at 73.5 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today 121 had gains and 206 had losses.

    [06] KAKLAMANAKIS RANKS SECOND IN THE WORLD

    Athens, 4 May 2000 (17:09 UTC+2)

    Greece's golden Olympic champion Nikos Kaklamanakis ranks second in the world in the "mistral" category, according to an announcement made by the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). The Greek champion, who won the gold medal in wind-surfing in the Atlanta Olympic Games, is just 11 points behind Australian Lars Klepich, who ranks first in the world. Specifically, Kaklamanakis has 5.347 points and Klepich 5.358.

    The Greek women's team in the "470" boat category is second in the world listings. Emilia Tsoulfa and Sofia Bekatorou have 4.562 points following the Taran-Paholik Ukrainian crew with 4.748 points.

    [07] THE OLYMPIC GAMES IN GREECE WILL BE ORGANIZED IN A PERFECT WAY

    Athens, 4 May 2000 (17:09 UTC+2)

    Undersecretary of sports Giorgos Floridis in statement he made after the meeting he had with prime minister Kostas Simitis in Athens today expressed the belief that Greece will manage to organize the 2004 Olympic Games in a perfect way.

    When asked to comment on the statements made by International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch, Mr. Floridis responded that they must be taken under serious consideration but he pointed out that the delays observed are not that important. Mr. Floridis also added that a better coordination of the institutions involved in the organizing of the Olympic Games is necessary.

    Meanwhile, Greek culture minister Thedoros Pangalos will meet in Brussels this afternoon with the International Olympic Committee coordinator and the meeting is expected with great interest after the recent warning issued by the IOC.

    The culture minister tomorrow will go to Paris for a meeting with the general director of UNESCO and his French counterpart.

    [08] MR. PAPANDREOU EXPRESSED SATISFACTION OVER THE RETURN OF A BABY-BOY TO HIS PARENTS

    Athens, 4 May 2000 (17:08 UTC+2)

    Greek foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou expressed satisfaction over the fact that the 20month old baby-boy, that was held by his Egyptian grandfather, was returned to his parents, his Greek father and his Egyptian mother.

    The foreign minister, who was in constant contact with the Egyptian authorities in order to find a solution to the problem, expressed satisfaction over the fact that the boy was back with his parents and added that coordinated efforts had been made to solve that problem in the best possible way, stressing that he is happy to know that the family was reunited again.

    [09] THE LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK ON TERRORISM WILL NOT CHANGE

    Athens, 4 May 2000 (17:08 UTC+2)

    Greek minister of public order Michalis Chrisochoidis responded negatively to the US demands to change the existing legislative framework on terrorism rejecting this way the allegations made against Greece in the annual US State Department report.

    Mr. Chrisochoidis in an interview with the Athens newspaper "TO VIMA" makes it clear that the Greek government does not intent to change the existing legislative framework on terrorism and states that the agreement with the United States will be a simple protocol of cooperation and therefore, no "Task Force" will be established, while he also clarifies that the anti-terrorist agency will not become "autonomous" and will be directly under the authority of the minister of public order while it will operate under the Greek Police.

    He also revealed that the United States have not requested formally the DNA of a "17 November" terrorist organization member which had been traced after the attack against the German ambassador's residence in Athens. At the same time, Mr. Chrisochoidis rejected the views expressed by US officials who maintain that there is a lack of political will to counter terrorism underlining characteristically that "the Greeks are not suicidal".

    [10] STATE MAPS OUT NEXT MOVES IN LIGHT OF EMU

    Athens, 4 May 2000 (12:48 UTC+2)

    The policy to be followed by the Greek government and the Bank of Greece is in accordance with the European Commission's recommendations, according to the B of G's governor Lukas Papademos, who added that the ultimate aim is the Greek economy' complete convergence.

    In light of the country's accession to the Economic and Monetary Union, the government will make structural and institutional changes and provide an improved regulations framework, especially in the fields of energy and telecommunications.

    In order to successfully implement the aforementioned measures, the government will expedite the privatization of 15 state-owned enterprises.

    Finally, the government will "open" "closed-shop professions" by abolishing the special licensing needed for some jobs.

    A.F.

    [11] GREEK COMPANIES STRONG ON FT500 GLOBAL SURVEY

    Thessaloniki, 4 May 2000 (11:51 UTC+2)

    Greek firms are making a strong appearance on the Financial Times' 500 Global Survey of the world's largest companies, which is probably the most comprehensive guide to corporate rankings published anywhere in the world.

    Fourteen Greek firms are on the said list, eight of which are newcomers, while the "old timers" have significantly improved their ranking.

    Greece's Telecommunications Organization (OTE) is top among the Greek firms (138th), followed by the National Bank of Greece (157th), Alpha Credit Bank (224th) and Panafon (234th).

    Earning a rank among the FT500 Global Survey is no easy feat as the list reflects the stock market's perception of a company's prospects, encapsulated in its share price, as opposed to other tables which tend to focus on sales as a measure of importance.

    A.F.

    [12] PRESIDENT OF SOLVAKIA TO VISIT GREECE ON MAY 8

    Athens, 4 May 2000 (11:25 UTC+2)

    The President of the Republic of Slovakia, Rudolf Schuster is to arrive in Athens on May 8 for a two-day official visit, following an invitation from his Greek counterpart Costis Stephanopoulos.

    Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou is to travel to the Azores on Saturday for an informal, two-day meeting of European Union foreign ministers.

    Mr. Papandreou is expected to table an initiative by the Greek government in dealing with the current issues in the Balkans.

    A.F.

    [13] GREECE IS THE SIXTH LARGEST INVESTOR IN ROMANIA

    Bucharest, 4 May 2000 (17:15 UTC+2)

    Just 620 of the 1.767 registered Greek companies in Romania are still in operation, according to the Economic and Trade Affairs Office of the Greek embassy in Bucharest.

    However, on January 31, 2000 Greece had been placed sixth among the foreign investors in Romania with a total invested capital of US$472.5 million.

    Of the above invested capital, US$119.5 million represent direct investments, while the rest US$353 million concern the buyouts of Romanian companies through the Romanian State Ownership Fund-FPS, stated Economic and Trade Affairs Office adviser Ioanna Sotirakou-Yiannarou. In the second category of investments belongs the buyout of 35% of the Romanian Telecommunications Organization ROMTELECOM by the Greek Telecommunications Organization, OTE.

    [14] TURKISH PM OPTIMISTIC OVER TIES WITH GREECE

    Ankara, 4 May 2000 (12:48 UTC+2)

    Turkish Premier Bulent Ecevit said on Wednesday that he is

    hopeful about the Aegean issue, albeit stressing that Turkey should continue to be cautious.

    In a meeting with the Chairman of the Executive Board of the

    Izmir Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Ecevit stated that dialogue between Turkey and Greece is very pleasing, adding that the whole world is interested in the developments between the two countries.

    He further emphasized that the two neighbors have recorded some concrete steps for cooperation in economy, social and cultural life, and education and several agreements have been signed.

    Nevertheless, he added, "the two countries have not taken a step in the Aegean issue, which s the most sensitive issue between two countries.

    "The Aegean issue has many dimensions like the continental shelf, territorial waters, some other rights regarding the sea, security problem, and the disarmament of the islands. These are all sensitive issues. Greece has not taken a step which will raise the hopes for discussing these issues by a peaceful dialogue," he stated and added

    "we should ensure these issues remain on the agenda because they have vital importance.

    "Most of the coastal countries solved their problems like the sea and air zone, through dialogue rather than courts."

    Regarding Cyprus, the Turkish Premier stated that the problem should be considered as different from the Aegean issue, adding that there are two separate nations on the island.

    According to Mr. Ecevit, a solution can be reached on the island through dialogue between these two nations.

    A.F.

    [15] GREEK, TURKISH UNIVERSITY STUDENTS GET TOGETHER

    Ankara, 4 May 2000 (12:48 UTC+2)

    Students from the University of Athens and Turkey's Middle Eastern Technical University met in Ankara within the framework of efforts to develop friendship and cooperation between the two schools.

    A group of 25 students from the Athens U, were invited by the Turkish university to attend a soiree of Greek-Turkish friendship at the Culture Hall of the Middle Eastern Technical University.

    The event also featured traditional folk dances from both countries.

    A.F.

    [16] BTC SALE TO OTE/KPN EXPECTED TO BE FINALIZED SOON

    Sofia, 4 May 2000 (11:51 UTC+2)

    Within the next two months, Bulgaria's parliament is expected to ratify the amendments pertaining to telecommunications, privatizations and social orders laws as required for the sale of the country's telecommunications organization (BTK) to the Greek-Dutch consortium OTE-KPN.

    In March, the consortium raised its offer for the majority stake to $600 million from $510 million, saying that was its final offer. In return, it demanded guarantees and legal changes.

    Bulgarian Ministry of Transport and Communications Secretary-General Grozdan Karadjov stated that the contract's technical preparations are expected to be finished with in about 30-40 days, and then the deal will be approved.

    Under the latest version of the deal, Bulgaria will get $460 million up front as payment, with a further $20 million set aside to cover a possible account deficit in BTC for 1999.

    The consortium will pay another $120 million if Parliament amends the privatization and telecommunications laws to enable the government by July 1 to license OTE/KPN to run BTC and a second cell phone operator.

    A.F.

    [17] PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS UNDERGOES OPERATION

    Nicosia, 4 May 2000 (11:25 UTC+2)

    The President of the Republic of Cyprus Glafcos Clerides is to undergo an intestinal operation tomorrow, which may lead to the postponement of the third round of U.N.-sponsored talks in New York on May 23.

    According to Cypriot government reports, the operation, to remove a polyps, will take place tomorrow and the President will be off duty for the next two weeks. A series of meetings with foreign envoys before have been canceled.

    According to Cypriot press reports, the proximity talks between President Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, may have to be canceled as well, depending on the former's post-operation progress.

    A.F.

    [18] BRITISH ENVOY ARRIVES IN CYPRUS TODAY

    Nicosia, 4 May 2000 (10:20 UTC+2)

    British envoy Sir David Hannay is to arrive in Cyprus today, where he will meet with Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and, separately, with Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. The visit comes in advance of the forthcoming third round of the UN-sponsored "proximity talks."

    The United Nations special advisor for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto will arrive on May 8, when he is scheduled to have meetings with the President and the Turkish Cypriot leader.

    A.F.

    [19] THE EURO-ZONE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE WAS 9.4% IN MARCH

    Brussels, 4 May 2000 (17:11 UTC+2)

    The unemployment rate in the Euro-zone countries in the month of March dropped to 9.4%, while the average in all EU member states was at 8.7%, according to data provided by the European Statistics Agency, Eurostat.

    The unemployment rate in the month of February in the Euro-zone was 9.5%, while the EU member states average was 8.8%.

    [20] GREECE FIRST AMONG NEW MEMBERS OF UNS ECOSOC

    United Nations, 4 May 2000 (13:36 UTC+2)

    Garnering the most votes, Greece ranked first in the race for the appointment of new members at the Statistical Agency of the United Nations' Economic and Social Council.

    With 42 votes, equaling France's, Greece topped the new members' list, followed by Great Britain (39), The Netherlands was not able to elect its representative due to insufficient votes (29).

    Greece's five-year term is to get underway in 2001 and will be represented by the Secretary General of Greece's National Statistical Service, Nikos Karavites.

    ECOSOC processes all the indices applied in the UN's international conference and which gauge the enforcement of UN resolutions.

    A.F.

    [21] GREEK FM DISCUSSES CYPRUS WITH ALFRED MOSES

    Washington, 4 May 2000 (13:27 UTC+2)

    The US presidential envoy to Cyprus Alfred Moses believe that Turkey, too, is committed to discovering a solution to the protracted Cyprus issue, as he stated following a meeting with Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou.

    According to Mr. Moses, US President Bill Clinton "remains committed to the process and awaits for the talks to be directed towards a comprehensive resolution which constitutes the State Department's priority."

    In turn, Mr. Papandreou stated "we are particularly interested in utilizing the present climate and the new opportunites, given Turkey's status as a candidate for accession to the European Union, as well as Cyprus's accession course, and to examine ways we can take advantage of this so that a solution will soon be found for the Cyprus issue."

    Regarding the third round of proximity talks, in light of Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides' imminent operation, political circles in Washington believe that the talks will take place, even if a postponement is necessary.

    A.F.


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