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Macedonian Press Agency

Thessaloniki always used to be the centre of theinterbalkan cooperation.During the mid-war era, between 51-2 November 1933, the city had hosted the fourth BalkanConference in which official deligations from all Balkancountries took part.

This historic conference created the preconditions forthe signing, three months later, on Februray 9, 1934, ofthe "Balkan Understanding Pact".62 yeras later, in summer 1995, Thessaloniki isagain the epicentre of a number of initiativestowards the Balkan cooperation since importantinterbalkan initiatives are developed by non-governmentalorganizations.

On June 15, the two-day meeting of the bank clerks of theBalkan countries took place after an initiative by theGreek Federation of the Bank Employees.Bank clerks form Albania, Bulgaria, the FederalRepublic of Yugoslavia, the FYROM, Romania and Turkey.

The meeting intended to the advancement of cooperationbetween the bank employees of the balkan countries.The day after, June 16, the meeting of theagricultural asscociations of the balkan countries startedafter an initiative by the General Confederation of theAgricultural Associations of Greece with theparticipation of deligations from agricultural associationsof Albania, Bulgaria, the Federal Republic ofYugoslavia, the FYROM, Slovenia and Romania.The meeting concluded in the resolution for a jointrepresentation in the most important European agriculturalbodies.

On June 23, the Lawyers Associations from Balkan countrieswill meet in Thessaloniki to sign the statute ofthe Balkan ASssociation of lawyers and discuss thecreation of a data bank through which the associationmembers will be informed on each other legal systemdevelopments.

Greek Justice Minister Mr Anastassios Peponis will bepresent while his Albanian and Yugoslav counterparts areexpected to be present at the meeting in which LawyerAssociatiosn from Albania, Yugoslavia, Romania, Athens andThessaloniki take part.At the same time, the four-day conference of the GeneralDirectors of ten national Balkan News Agencies meeting willstart.

The session is expected to sign the statute of therecentlycreated Association of Balkan News Agencies (ABNA).A deligation of the European Union DG X, responsible for themedia in Europe, will be present at the conference whichwill also discuss the functions of the data bank whichis created in Thessaloniki by the Macedonian Press Agency.Vice President of the European Socialist Party Mr YannisRoubatis will be present at the conference representingthe Greek members of the European Parliament.Since 1992, Thessaloniki has also been the base of theBalkan Press Centre of the Balkan Confederation ofJournalists which has been created after an initiativeby the Union of the Daily Newpaper Journalists ofMacedonia - Thrace.


FYROM's President Kiro Gligorov continues his intransigenceregarding the dispute with Greece. In an interview to theitallian magazine "LIMES", published every two months,mr.Gligorov categorically stressed that he will notnegotiate the issue of the name but he is willing to discussthe change of the flag or "any other problem" while heregards Italy and Turkey as "key-states" for thedevelopments in the Balkans. At the same time, he raisedagain the issue of the non-existent skopjan minority inGreece while he said that the war in Bosnia would had beenover in 1991 if the US had made a dynamic militaryintervention in the region.

Referring to the relations with Greece he reiterated oldpositions inspite of the fact that the new meeting betweenVance and Chervenkofski is already in progress and ispossible to create the necessary pre-conditions for theresumption of the negotiations.Mr.Gligorov said that the most important issue in thedispute with Greece is that concerning the name andresponding to the question if FYROM is ready to change itsflag he said that "we can reach an agreement on every otherissue but not on the issue of the name".Mr.Gligorov also stressed that his small country does notthreaten Greece while his country's Constitution rules outany territorial claim against neighbouring countries.


Mr Harilaos Florakis honorary president of the Communistparty expressed today the opinion that the case of the nameof the FYROM has been lost for Greece stressing that in therecent meeting he had with President Milosevic of Serbia hereceived the information that president Gligorov of FYROMhad expressed his readiness to withdraw the Greek symbolused in the flag of his country and change the articles inthe FYROM constitution that annoy Greece.Mr Florakis underscored that his party has always been foranother policy towards the relations with Scopje and saidthat 39% out of the territory of FYROM is a part of thegeographical area defined as Macedonia wondering who "canprevent the inhabitants of this part define themselves asmacedonians".

-------------------MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY---------------------------
The Macedonian Press Agency is a non-governmental press organizationwhich aims:- To transfer and make use of news and information about the situation inthe Balkans, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean countries mostly uponmatters which are of vital interest for the Greek business, scientific andcultural activities.- To become a "bridge" between the Greeks who live abroad and their homecountryby contributing to a more essential connection and above all toinform them about the investment opportunities as well as the intellectualand artistic movements in Greece, the Balkans, Eastern Europe and theMiddle East.- To show the achievements and the abilities of the business, scientificand intellectual world of Greece all over the world.The service provides daily news in English and in Greek also.