|Tuesday, 28 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 00-10-17
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
 NATO EXERCISES GREEK WARPLANES STILL GROUNDEDThessaloniki, 17 October 2000 (11:09 UTC+2)
Six Greek jet fighters F-16 participating in NATO's military exercise Destined Glory 2000 remain grounded due to the Turkish demand not to include the airspace over the Aegean islands of Limnos and Ikaria Consultations continue in Eski Sehir, Turkey.
Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos has stated that the Alliance must abide with what has been agreed upon, otherwise the planes will remain grounded.
Greece temporarily ordered the six warplanes to withdraw from the exercise last week after Ankara requested changes in pre-determined flight corridors and the exclusion of two passing over strategically placed Greek islands.
According to the Greek general staff, the flight corridors in which NATO fighters were to operate during the exercise, had been agreed upon during the planning stages of the exercise without any objection.
 ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH IN ATHENS TOMORROWAthens, 17 October 2000 (11:05 UTC+2)
Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos is to embark on a seven-day private visit to Athens on October 18, where he will arrive by private plane from Istanbul.
On Thursday, the Patriarch will inaugurate a patriarchal representation office in Kolonaki, while in the evening of the same day he will give a speech at Athens University's school of theology.
During his stay, Mr. Vartholomeos will also visit the Athens suburbs of Peristeri and Nea Smyrni, the cities of Patras and Thebes, the town of Megara and the island of Salamis.
The Ecumenical Patriarch is arriving in Greece at a time when the Church of Greece is locked in a dispute with the government over whether religion should be mentioned on the state-issued identity cards.
 THE OSCE CERTIFIES ELECTION VIOLATIONS IN HIMARAAthens, 17 October 2000 (19:45 UTC+2)
Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas referred today to the violations recorded in the second round of the municipal elections in Albania, stating that in the OSCE report on the municipal elections in the country, it is certified that the electoral process was violated in the town of Himara.
The government spokesman stated that Albania's expectations from the European Union (funding, European orientation) can not be satisfied under such circumstances, adding that the issue of the violations will be raised in the EU foreign ministers council.
He also stated that the report, submitted by the international observers, speaks of a Greek-speaking minority, while responding to a question on the state of war that existed between the two countries, he said that the Greek side has lifted the state of war with a cabinet decision that was reached when Andreas Papandreou was in government and this decision is still respected.
Finally, when asked to comment on the statements over "cries of patriotism" made yesterday by Greek foreign ministry spokesman Panagiotis Beglitis, he said that the statements made by Mr. Beglitis were clear and it is obvious that we should not go back to past times, as the policy followed then had offered negative services to Greece.
 REPPAS: THE HELSINKI DECISIONS MUST BE INCLUDED IN THE EU-TURKEY RELATION TEXTAthens, 17 October 2000 (19:44 UTC+2)
The Helsinki decisions must be included in the European Union-Turkey partnership relation text, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas.
He underlined that the text must also include the Copenhagen criteria that concern the Greek-Turkish relations and the way of co-existence for neighboring states based on the international law principles and the implementation of the international treaties. Finally, he stressed that the Cyprus issue must be mentioned as well as the solution of the political problem in Cyprus.
 COMMENTS BY REPPAS ON THE EUROSTAT REPORTAthens, 17 October 2000 (19:43 UTC+2)
The government makes great efforts in the sector of unemployment, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas. Responding to a question by reporters on the Eurostat report based on which, 2.150.000 Greeks live below the poverty line, Mr. Reppas stressed that the efforts will continue aimed at improving the standard of living for the Greeks.
Mr. Reppas pointed out that there are still problems, adding however, that there is a clear improvement of the standard of living and stated that measures supporting the financially weaker part of the population have been adopted since September 1999.
 THE 2004 OLYMPIC GAMES ARE A NATIONAL AFFAIRAthens, 17 October 2000 (19:41 UTC+2)
Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis, speaking in the ministerial committee meeting in Athens today, stated that the 2004 Olympic Games are a national affair. Mr. Simitis stressed that a new period has been launched after the Sydney Olympiad as now the Games belong to Greece. He also pointed out that the Olympic Games concern every Greek and they are beyond political parties.
"Athens 2004" Organization president Ms. Yianna Angelopoulou referred to the experience of the Greek delegation in Sydney.
Undersecretary of press Tilemachos Hitiris briefing the reporters stated that no changes are needed in the way "Athens 2004" is organized, at least for the time being. Regarding the village, where the journalists covering the Athens Olympics will be staying, he said that there are some new proposals on the exploitation of certain state-owned spaces and announced that the issue will be closed in November.
The responsible ministers participating in the meeting also referred to the course of the projects they have undertaken. Minister of environment, land planning and public works Kostas Laliotis stated that before the end of November he will announce the dates on which the five Olympic projects undertaken by his ministry will be ready and appeared certain that those projects will be ready long before 2004.
 REPPAS COMMENTED ON GREECE'S PARTICIPATION IN THE NATO EXERCISE IN TURKEYAthens, 17 October 2000 (19:40 UTC+2)
Greece uses every way of consultation within the framework of NATO aimed at promoting the Greek positions, stated Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, referring to the issue of the participation of the Greek fighter jets in the NATO exercise in Turkey.
Mr. Reppas pointed out that the withdrawal from an exercise of that kind could create fait accompli that in the future could take the form of problems.
 LOSSES OF 1.76% IN THE ATHENS STOCK EXCHANGEAthens, 17 October 2000 (19:39 UTC+2)
Losses of 1.76% were recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index was at 3.724,26 points, while the volume of transactions was small at 46,5 billion drachmas.
Of the stocks trading today the overwhelming majority of them namely, 295 had losses, 57 recorded gains and 26 remained unchanged.
 TOURISM HAS DROPPED IN GREECEThessaloniki, 17 October 2000 (19:35 UTC+2)
Tourism in Greece in 2000 was essentially at the same levels with last year contradicting the scenarios on an increase of 8-10%, according to data provided by the National Statistics Agency.
Specifically, the overnight stops in the month of August were 2.776.346 compared to 2.823.419 in the same period last year, presenting a drop of 1.67% which means that tourism in Greece did not stabilize but on the contrary it declined.
Also, the National Statistics Agency announced that the tourist arrivals on chartered flights recorded in the country's main airports in the month of August were 1.004.304, compared to 1.000.465 in the same month last year.
The figures on the overnight stops come from a sample research conducted in 291 hotels across the country.
 INFLATION IN THE EURO-ZONE IS AT 2.8%Brusells, 17 October 2000 (19:33 UTC+2)
The sharp increase in the fuel prices led inflation to 2.8% in the Euro-zone in the month of September, compared to 2.3% in the previous month., according to a statement issued by the European Union Statistics Agency, Eurostat.
In all EU member-states, consumer prices were increased by 2.5% in September, compared to the same month last year, while in the month of August they were at 2%.
The energy sector was the one that ignited the inflation rise in September compared to the previous year, while it must be noted that if the specific sector could be excluded inflation in the Euro-zone would have been at 1.6%.
 ONE IN TEN GREEKS LIVES IN POVERTY, GROUP REPORTSAthens, 17 October 2000 (19:29 UTC+2)
One million Greeks, approximately ten percent of the country's total population, live in persistent poverty, unable to enjoy a minimum standard of living, according to the special-interest group Greek Anti-Poverty Network.
According to the Network, which gave a press conference yesterday in light of today's International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, homeless people and street beggars have become a common sight in large Greek cities.
Rising unemployment levels, particularly among women and youth, was cited as the chief reason for people falling below the poverty line. They said that women, youth and the elderly are most vulnerable to poverty.
The Greek Anti-Poverty Network called on the government to ensure that all its citizens have access to basic physical needs such as food, housing and clothing. The solution, it said, does not merely involve job creation but also protecting workers from exploitation.
 FEW GREEK FIRMS ON MIGA POLITICAL RISK INSURANCEThessaloniki, 17 October 2000 (19:27 UTC+2)
A scant number of Greek firms have taken advantage of the technical assitance in the form of political risk insurance, as provided by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) concerning high-risk investments in the developing markets of the Balkan and Black Sea regions.
More specifically, in the regions of Europe and Central Asia MIGA acquired a mere three contracts from Greek firms, according to the fiscal year report of June 30, 2000. MIGA has issued two guarantees amounting to $2.7 million each in coverage to the Commercial Bank of Greece for its equity investment in the establishment of subsidiary branches in Armenia and Moldova.
Greece's TITAN cement company has also benefited from MIGA's services in order to safeguard its investment in FYROM, where it is involved in a joint venture with Cyprus's Balkcem, and Switzerland's Holderbank.
 THE FOREIGN OBSERVERS CALL FOR AN INVESTIGATION ON THE ELECTION IRREGULARITIES IN HIMARALondon, 17 October 2000 (19:38 UTC+2)
The head of foreign observers in the second round of the municipal elections in Albania that were held last Sunday issued an appeal to the Albanian authorities to open an investigation on the irregularities witnessed in the region of Himara.
Speaking on the BBC radio, Ms. Hena Ferley pointed out that the most serious irregularities in the election process were recorded in Himara, stressing that there were cases of intimidation targeting returning board members, while in one case a ballot box was destroyed and in at least 3 polling stations there were established cases of election fraud.
Ms. Ferley also stated that contrary to what the Albanian government officials and mass media say the presence of Greek parliament members in Himara did not affect the climate. She said that the deputies did not come to Albania illegally, adding that even though they were not official election observers there is no information that they had entered polling stations and caused problems to the election process, as according to information, they were outside the polling stations throughout the election process.
 ALBANIA: PERSISTENT CHARGES OF VIOLATIONS IN VOTETirana, 17 October 2000 (13:43 UTC+2)
In the midst of widespread charges of violence, ballot-tampering and other irregularities, the Albanian government has adopted an inconsistent stance over Sunday's second round of municipal elections, where numerous reports claim that the election of Greek minority mayors in southern Albania's municipalities was obstructed.
The leader of the ruling Socialist Party Fatos Nano, who made a nationalist appearance during the pre-election campaign in Himara, refused to comment on Europe's persistent criticism.
During a press conference last night, the Albanian government spokesperson thanked the Organization for Security and Cooperation, as well as the Bureau for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, over their contribution to the smooth elections process, albeit avoiding comment on resounding criticism over the serious violations in the elections at Himara.
Nevertheless, he did state that the government will press on with its task to establish a democratic elections process and to improve the "few" irregularities noted in this round.
However, the Socialist Party's public affairs secretary was more severe in regards to Himara.
"I find strange the statement of the Bureau for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights regarding the existence of a Greek minority in Himara. I have nothing else to say, except that this point of view is the reflection of some tale fed to the European observers by those who violated the voting procedures," he stated, implicating the Greek deputies who observed the elections.
"I think that the Europeans are under the pressure of Greek deputies and that such a statement is a provocation," he added.
The Greek government said yesterday that it will table the issue of human rights violations against the Greek minority of Albania at the next meeting of EU foreign ministers.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated that "the Greek government states once again that it will ensure the rights of the Greek minority in our neighboring country. There are no discounts on this issue.
"Our message is that we desire the further improvement of our bilateral relations, but this is not a one-way street."