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MILITARY ACADEMY - ANNIVERSARY. The Georgi Rakovski Military Academy marks its 90th anniversary. Observances started with the handing of new colours by President Georgi Purvanov, who is also Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Bulgarian army. BTA photo by Anelia Nikolova
Former Serbian Police Chief Vlajko Stojiljkovic, left, is seen with former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in this undated file photo. Stojiljkovic, who was indicted for war crimes, shot himself in the head Thursday April 11, 2002, in front of the parliament in Belgrade, hours after the Yugoslav parliament adopted a law that allows arrests and extraditions to the U.N. tribunal in The Hague. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
AUSTRIAN PRESIDENT THOMAS KLESTIL IN OFFICIAL VISIT TO MACEDONIA.
Austria should be a promoter of the European values and prosperity on the Balkans and in Macedonia, and this would be proved by the ratification of Stabilization and Association Agreement signed with the European Union in the Austrian Parliament, Macedonian and Austrian Presidents Boris Trajkovski and Thomas Klestil assessed at Thursday's press conference.
Austria plays very important role for Macedonia, from historical, geographical but also from traditional aspect, Trajkovski said. He emphasized that the meeting with Klestil confirmed the high level of cooperation between the two countries.
"It was mutually concluded that Austria plays significant role in the promotion of European values and culture in Macedonia and in the region," Trajkovski said, underlining that he expects Vienna to support Macedonia on its path towards the European Union.
President Trajkovski welcomed the idea of Austrian President to visit Macedonia accompanied by the group of businessmen that would discuss the options for intensifying the bilateral economic cooperation at the Economic Forum in Skopje.
"It was jointly assessed that the legal frame for economic cooperation between the two countries should be completed by signing agreements on protection of the investments and avoiding the double taxation," Trajkovski said.
He pointed out that positive political process is underway in Macedonia and the legal state is established in the crisis regions. According to him, it is encouraging that all political and social structures are focused on realization of Ohrid agreement.
"Donors' conference is the greatest proof that there is economic and not military offensive in Macedonia," Trajkovski said, adding that favorable climate for investments is being created in the country. He urged the Austrian businessmen to invest in Macedonia as they would invest in the peace and stability.
"Macedonia can guarantee peace and stability in cooperation with the international community, which should assist to the country in its European integration and should support its economic development," Trajkovski emphasized.
Austrian President Thomas Klestil underlined that the priority of Austria's foreign policy is the relation with the Southeast European countries including Republic of Macedonia. He expressed hope that Macedonia would accelerate the process for integration within EU. "Austria is committed for inclusion of new states in the EU, especially states from the Balkan, including Macedonia," Klestil said.
He emphasized that Austria would ratify the Stabilization and Association Agreement between Macedonia and EU before the summer. As an indicator of Austria's interest for economic cooperation with Macedonia, he pointed out the arrival of the Austrian economic delegation, which would discuss the options for investments and cooperation with the Macedonian economic entities. According to Klestil, the legislature is necessary for intensifying the economic relations. He announced that he would meet again with President Trajkovski later this year, when they would continue the dialogue for intensifying the overall bilateral relations.
The Macedonian and Austrian Presidents and Ministers of Economy addressed Thursday at the Economic Forum in Skopje, organized by the Macedonian Finance Ministry and attended by businessmen of both countries.
Macedonian President Boris Trajkovski expressed hope that increasing of Austrian investments in the Macedonian economy would contribute to the country's political and economic stability.
Macedonia's projection for its economic prosperity was in establishing of the market economy and active participation in the international trade mainstream.
Foreign investments should be the driving power of the country's economic development, Trajkovski said.
"Above all, I envision the future of my country in more intensified development of the E-commerce, " Trajkovski said, mentioning the Committee "E-Macedonia for All", established under his auspices. Businessmen, bankers, professors, ministers and parliamentarians are members of this committee.
Fostering of the country's export of information technology required assistance by the Austrian Government in arranging of a tour of Macedonian IT entrepreneurs in Austria, Trajkovski said.
Austrian President Thomas Klestil said he expected for both countries to intensify their cooperation.
"Macedonia's political stability is crucial for its economic stability," Klestil said, underlying the significance of private sector, particularly in regard with the energy and infrastructure. He also referred to the significance of personnel education and development of the existing resources, expressing hope that Austrian and Macedonian companies would intensify their cooperation in compliance with the European standards.
Macedonian Minister of Economy Besnik Fetai referred to the importance of foreign investments for the country's stability.
"In order to attract foreign capital, a great part of the country's legislation is coordinated with the European standards. Several laws are also under preparation, which will enable Macedonia to become member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)," Fetai said.
The trade exchange between Macedonia and Austria was not satisfactory, reaching only US$ 50 million, while Austria participation in the Macedonia-EU trade exchange was just 3,9%, Fetai said. In that respect he underlined the necessity for privatization of the Macedonia Electric Power Supply Company, which is to be carried out by the Austrian consulting company "Maine Bank".
Martin Bartenstein, Austrian Minister of Economy and Labor, said that the Stabilization and Association Agreement presented a significant step for Macedonia's membership into the European Union. He expressed hope that Macedonia would follow China in joining WTO. He underlined the role of energy sector and small and medium enterprises in the development of Austria.
"Such companies may contribute to more intensified cooperation between Austria and Macedonia," he said.
The Forum continued with presentations of the Macedonian economy on the topics "Macedonia-Your Business Destination" and "Macedonia's Financial System".
Macedonian Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski had a meeting with the Austrian President Thomas Klestil today.
As announced from the Prime Minister's Cabinet, the two interlocutors expressed their satisfaction from the development of the political relations between Macedonia and Austria and hope that the economic cooperation would develop and enhance according to the possibilities that both countries offer.
It was concluded that the presence of the businessmen from Austria at the Macedonian-Austrian Forum, which was held in Skopje today, showed their interest for cooperation and investing in Macedonia.
At the meeting, Austrian President Klestil showed interest for the current situation in the country.
Prime Minister Georgievski, emphasizing the ongoing process of reintegration of the entire Macedonian territory and the return of the displaced persons to their homes, stressed that peace and stability are soon to be expected once again, which along with the implementation of the Donors' Conference, should create conditions for investments and economic development. The two interlocutors agreed that this would mean reestablishment of good interethnic relations, which received excellent remarks from the international community before the crisis.
Today, Klestil also met with Speaker of the Macedonian Parliament Stojan Andov.
Andov assessed the visit as a step forward towards enhancing of the mutual cooperation between the two friendly countries.
Two interlocutors reviewed the actual situation in the country as well as the democratic development in the region.
They also exchanged opinions regarding the dynamics of the implementation of the Framework Agreement.
The Austrian President, congratulating on the successful realization of the Agreement, underlined the full support of Austria in regard with Macedonian efforts for gaining full membership in the Euro - Atlantic institutions.
MINISTER SAMOILOVSKA-CVETANOVA MEETS COUNCIL OF EUROPE SECRETARY GENERAL.
Macedonian Minister of Culture Ganka Samoilovska-Cvetanova met Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer in Strasbourg Thursday.
At the meeting, Minister Samoilovska-Cvetanova signed the European convention for co-production in cinematography, thus fulfilling the conditions for entrance of the Republic of Macedonia in the European fund for support of co-productions for distribution-Euroimage.
The Macedonian Culture Minister informed Schwimmer about the upcoming Southeast Europe Ministers' Conference for the audiovisual sector, which should be held in Skopje at the beginning of September 2002.
Samoilovska-Cvetanova will attend the projection of movie "Joy of Life", directed by Svetozar Ristovski in Wiesbaden on Friday. The movie is in the official competition of the film festival "Go East", which is being held from April 10-14.
The Macedonian Minister of Culture will participate in the work of the round table on pan-European production of movies on Saturday.
The visit of Minister Samoilovska-Cvetanova at the festival in Wiesbaden is in the framework of the activities of Macedonia in the role of holder of presidency of the pan-European inter-Government organization in the area of audiovisual arts.
MINISTER SLOBODAN CASULE VISITS GERMANY.
Macedonian Foreign Minister Slobodan Casule, who pays official visit to Germany, met Thursday in Berlin with German Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.
During the meeting they shared their opinions on the relations and cooperation between the two countries as well as the situation in Southeast European region.
Thanking for the successful engagement of the German soldiers in NATO's mission "Amber Fox," Minister Casule informed Fischer on the current political-security situation in Macedonia. They also discussed the possibility for extending the international presence in Macedonia and in the region after the mandate of NATO's mission ends. They jointly stated that the decision should be made considering the developments on the ground and in accordance with the Macedonian Government's assessments.
Casule informed Fischer on Macedonia's efforts for realizing the obligations from Framework Agreement and its successful implementation. He also thanked for the German contribution at the Donors' conference for Macedonia in Brussels, what is another proof that the international community and Germany unambiguously support Macedonia.
Minister Casule stressed the necessity for successful implementation of the means gathered at the Donors' conference and the joint struggle against the generators of the crisis in SEE region, especially against the organized crime and illegal trafficking of weapons, human beings, money and narcotics.
Fischer reaffirmed German's firm support to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Republic of Macedonia, positively assessing the role of the Macedonian Government in implementing the constitutional amendments. He underlined that the successful continuation of that process as well as the fair and democratic elections would not only contribute towards the stabilization of the overall situation but would also accelerate Macedonia's integration within the European Union. In that respect, Fischer expressed Germany's determinacy to engage along with the other European countries in order to assist to Macedonia and reiterated the support for sooner integration in the Euro-Atlantic processes.
Casule reiterated the strong commitment of Republic of Macedonia for gaining fully-fledged membership in EU and NATO. In that respect he expressed his hope that Germany would ratify the Stabilization and Association Agreement between Macedonia and EU in the German Parliament.
Casule and Fischer assessed the bilateral relations as successful and underlined the necessity for enhancing the cooperation in all areas of joint interest, especially in the economy and attracting German investments in Macedonia.
Casule met with State Secretary in the Defense Ministry Walter Kolbow, president of the Committee on European affairs in the Bundestag Friedbert Pflüger and the advisor for foreign policy of the German Chancellor, Ambassador Dieter Kastrup.
Minister Casule delivered a speech in the European Academy in Berlin on the topic "Republic of Macedonia and European Union.
WORLD BANK GRANTS A CREDIT OF US$ 15 MILLION TO MACEDONIA.
The World Bank Board of Directors granted a credit of US$ 15 million, the Macedonian Finance Ministry says Thursday in a press release.
The credit, aimed at reform of the public administration, is granted under IDA terms, i.e. payment period of 35 years with 10 years of grace period.
The Macedonian Government has started the public administration reform in 2001. Reforms, which will be supported by this credit, are aimed at maintaining of long-term macro fiscal and financial stability of the country and at establishing of professional administration.
This is the first credit, granted to any government, for carrying out a public administration reform, the Ministry says.
Exhumation To Continue At Ljuboten Gravesite.
Reality Macedonia - MakFax
Skopje, (April 11) At least two bodies will be exhumed today at Ljuboten gravesite within the ongoing investigation into alleged war crimes against ethnic Albanian residents of this village. The local villagers claim 10 ethnic-Albanian civilians had been summarily executed by Macedonian police during last Augusts operation in Skopjes nearby village of Ljuboten.
Exhumation commenced last Monday upon an initiative of Macedonian law enforcement officials in co-operation with the representatives of the International War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague. The exhumation and post-mortem examinations aim to ascertain whether there are legal grounds to raise indictments for war crimes. Forensic expert team examined the two bodies exhumed last Monday in order to define the identity, age, causes of death and body injuries.
Unofficial sources said the bodies of Atula Qaili and Rami Jusufi had been exhumed last Monday. Gunpowder particles had been found on Qailis hands.
Jusufis body was decayed given that his body had been subjected to sun before it was buried. The two bodies had been buried with clothes, which is contrary to Muslim burying tradition. The body remains were re-buried at Ljubotens cemetery once the post-mortem examination was completed.
Local media say Rami Jusufi died in combat. Atula Qailis next of kin say he died in hospital. He was taken to Butel police station for questioning.
Forensic experts and representatives of The Hague Tribunal, OSCE, NATOs Task Force Fox supervise the exhumation. Interior Ministry claims the vast majority of buried persons are NLA members.
The 10 bodies had been buried during a two-day operation in Skopjes nearby village of Ljuboten in August 10 and 11, 2001. Following a land mine explosion that killed eight government soldiers, the Macedonian security forces launched attack on Ljuboten.
The Hague Tribunal announced it will conduct investigations into alleged war crimes against Albanian and Macedonian civilians during 2001 conflict.
Bulgarians demonstrate to demand referendum on reactor shutdowns.
SOFIA, Bulgaria - Fearing power shortages and an economic downturn, up to 4,000 Bulgarians demonstrated Thursday to protest the planned shutdown of four aging reactors at the country's only nuclear plant.
The European Union has demanded that the two oldest units at the Kozlodui plant be closed by the end of this year because it considers them unsafe. The government has agreed to close those units, and it has promised to negotiate a deadline for early closure of two other units.
The demonstrators handed a petition demanding a referendum on the closures signed by 500,000 Bulgarians to parliament speaker Ognyan Gerdzhikov.
President Georgi Parvanov and Prime Minister Simeon Saxcoburggotski have opposed calls for a referendum about the closures, which have been a key condition for Bulgaria to start accession talks with the EU in 2000.
The four units to be closed are 440-megawatt pressurized water reactors without safety containment. They were installed 1974 to 1982, and manufacturers say they have 30-year life spans. Two newer 1,000-megawatt units with safety containment won't be affected by the closures.
Many Bulgarians fear that the shutdowns will cause power shortages and electricity price hikes. Revenue from electricity exports are crucial for the economically weak country.
The government recently announced it would resume the construction of a second nuclear power plant near the Danube port of Belene, 250 kilometers (156 miles) northeast of Sofia. The government has already invested dlrs 1.2 million into the project, which was frozen in 1990 after pressure from environmentalists.
G. W. Bush Wants NATO Expanded to the Black Sea.
NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson declines to name the countries to be invited to join NATO in Prague.
"This is an important moment for NATO," Bush told reporters after a nearly one hour-long meeting that included Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "NATO must develop new, flexible capabilities to meet the threats of the 21st century. We must take on new members, securing freedom from the Baltic to the Black Sea," Bush said. Lord Robertson, however, declined to name the countries to be invited to NATO in advance, before the summit in Prague, fixed for the fall, was held.
USA - VISIT OF BULGARIAN DEFENCE MINISTER.
Bulgarian Defence Minister Delivers Lecture on "Southern Dimension of NATO's Expansion: Bulgarias Contribution" in Washington D.C.
Washington, D.C., April 11 (BTA) - "Bulgarian meets the political criteria for membership in NATO," Bulgarian Defence Minister Nikolai Svinarov said in his lecture on "Southern Dimension of NATO's Expansion: Bulgarias Contribution" delivered at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
Svinarov presented a detailed report on the reform in the Bulgarian Army and the latters bringing in conformity with NATO's standards. Svinarov assured those present that Bulgaria will continue to reform its armed forces after becoming a full-fledged NATO member, the Bulgarian Defence Ministrys International Cooperation Department told BTA.
"Bulgaria hopes that its effort will be duly recognized and, taking into account its strategic location, expects that NATO will conclude that the country is capable of making an important contribution in the collective security," Svinarov said. "This gives us grounds to believe that in Prague in November Bulgaria will be among the countries who will receive an invitation to join NATO," he said.
In his lecture, the Bulgarian Defence Minister outlined the geo-political and geo-strategic context of NATO's enlargement in the southern direction and Bulgarias possible contribution in the process. "By joining NATO Bulgaria and Romania will unite the Alliances Central and Southern line," he said. Svinarovs lecture was received with keen interest, reads the press release.
CONFERENCE ON TERRORISM - BULGARIAN PARTICIPATION.
Sofia, April 11 (BTA) - Foreign Minister Solomon Passy departed to Antalya to attend the 12th International Conference on Security and Cooperation devoted to terrorism as a global challenge to international security and NATOs potential and resources to maintain international peace and security.
Passys participation in the meeting is at the invitation of Ambassador Yumit Bayulken, Chairman of Turkeys Atlantic Council, which organizes the event.
On the Bulgarian delegation are also Mariana Assenova, MP of the ruling Simeon II National Movement, Chetin Kazak, MP of the ethnic Turks Movement for Rights and Freedoms, and Lyubomir Ivanov, head of NATO and International Security Directorate in the Foreign Ministry and Chairman of the Atlantic Club.
The reports and discussions during the meeting will mostly address combatting international terrorism and the role of the national governments and international organizations, NATO and asymmetric threats to international security, and the relations NATO-Russia and NATO-EU.
The conference is organized under the auspices of Speaker of the Turkish Parliament Yomer Izgi, with the support of the Turkish Parliament and Government, and NATO. The Antalya conference has become an institutionalized and respected discussion forum attended by politicians, parliamentarians, cabinet members, experts and scholars.
Agreement on Oil Pipeline Finally Reached.
The Bulgarian consortium on Bourgas - Alexandroupolis pipeline construction to be established until April 18.
Bulgarian companies have already reached an agreement to take part in the consortium on Bourgas - Alexandroupolis oil pipeline construction works, governmental sources released. There won't be majority owner in the shareholder's joint venture. The management of LUKoil - Bulgaria will meet the Premier today for final negotiations on its shares. The firm stand of the cabinet is that the share of LUKoil should not exceed 33%, the same sources said further. The shares in the Bulgarian consortium to be allotted to Minstroy, LUKoil, Glavbolgarstroy, Gasstroimontage, Techoexportstoi will be specified in a week, after the consortium is to be set up. What counts to Bulgaria now in the implementation of the Bourgas - Alexandroupolis project, is if Vice-Premier Kostadin Paskalev would succeed in negotiating on equal shares for Bulgaria in the 'Trans-Balkan Oil Pipeline' intergovernmental venture. Moscow has already backed Bulgaria officially. A month ago it transpired that Athens supported Bulgaria's equal interests, too. For now, however, Bulgaria has been allotted only a 24-percent share in the intergovernmental venture. The results from Paskalev's hard negotiations with Russia and Greece will be clear on April 23.
Skopje, April 11 (BTA) - The second international conference on "Women in the 21st century: The Role of Women in the Development of Democracy in Southeastern Europe" will be held in Ohrid over the weekend.
The conference will be held under the auspices of President Boris Trajkovski's wife Vilma and will be attended by the wives of state and government leaders of countries in the region, as well as by prominent women leaders from Southeastern Europe and from NGOs in the Balkan countries.
Bulgaria will be represented by President Georgi Purvanov's wife Zorka. The expert part of the conference will be attended by women MPs led by National Assembly Deputy Chair Kamelia Kasabova.
The participants will hear a message from Bernadette Chirac, the wife of French President Jacques Chirac, and from Antonina Stoyanova, the wife of former Bulgarian president Peter Stoyanov.
It was recalled at a news conference in Skopje on Thursday that Stoyanova hosted the first meeting of this kind in Sofia in 1998.
The three plenary sessions will focus on women's rights in the context of universal human rights, the role of women in decision-making, and their participation in socio-economic development and the building of civil society.
More than 120 participants from nine countries in Southeastern Europe and three other countries have registered so far.
BULGARIA - MIDDLE EAST - STATEMENT.
Bulgarian Foreign Ministry Calls on Palestinian Autonomous Authority, Government of Israel to Try to Overcome Crisis, Resume Peace Talks Sofia, April 11 (BTA) - In a statement released Thursday, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry voiced "deep concern" over the "unprecedented escalation of violence and terror in the Middle East."
"We deplore the bloodshed and call for its immediate cessation. We deeply regret the innocent loss of life on both the Palestinian and the Israeli side, and we express our deepest sympathies to their families. We call on the Palestinian Autonomous Authority and on the Government of Israel to spare no effort to overcome the crisis and resume the peace negotiations for achievement of a lasting solution in the best interests of their two peoples and of world peace and security," the statement reads.
It also voices strong concern over the recent Israeli incursions into Lebanese territory and calls for an end to the attacks and for respect of the UN-drawn Blue Line.
The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry welcomes the Middle East mission of US Secretary of State Colin Powell. "We support this energetic initiative, we expect it to produce a tangible result, and we insist that it get full cooperation from the Palestinian and the Israeli side," the statement says.
It notes that in its capacity as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Bulgaria is actively involved in the drafting of Resolutions 1397, 1402 and 1403 and again calls for their immediate and comprehensive implementation.
"We appreciate the peace plan of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, which was adopted by the Arab League in Beirut, as an important contribution to the efforts to achieve peace in the region, including Syria and Lebanon. We call on Israel to cease hostilities and to comply with the principles and standards of international humanitarian law and to grant access to the humanitarian organizations. We join the demand of the international community that Israel make every effort towards a ceasefire, withdraw from the Palestinian settlements, and lift the blockade of the headquarters of Palestinian leader Yassef Arafat," the statement says.
The Palestinian Autonomous Authority is urged to "do what is necessary for cessation of the terrorist acts and for dismantling of the terrorist network."
Arafat is urged "to use his political authority for prevention of new extremist actions."
Bulgaria supports the Joint Statement by the EU, the US, Russia and the UN on the escalating confrontation in the Middle East, made in Madrid on April 10, 2002. "We believe that the two sides should immediately go ahead with implementation of the Tenet security workplan and the Mitchell recommendations, envisaging specific steps for resumption of the Middle East peace process," the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry says, concluding its statement.
GREECE'S IDENTITY CRISIS.
The Wall Street Journal
Brussels Apr 11, 2002 By Matthew Kaminski
PSARADES, Greece -- As a steady drizzle beats against his whitewashed stone tavern, Germanos Papadopoulos ducks out to meet the boats coming in at dusk off the Great Prespa Lake. The evening's grilled trout comes fresh in Psarades, Greek for fishermen. The village's several dozen houses are tucked into an isolated corner of northern Greece reachable by a single, narrow mountainous road. Albania, Macedonia and Greece meet in the middle of the breathtakingly peaceful lake.
The serenity of this place disguises a dark secret. The several hundred residents of Psarades speak a Slavic language, not Greek. An indigenous Albanian minority of 50,000 lives along the land border with Albania. In the nearby village of Pili, the Vlachs speak something akin to Romanian.
The government in Athens considers all these people Greek by blood and culture. Its not always soft assimilation campaign, dating back decades, means schools and government offices use no other language but Greek. Many of the 200,000 or so Macedonian Slavs in Greece -- an estimate, by the British historian Miranda Vickers, that Greek officials dispute -- largely consider themselves Greek by now. Only the 110,000 "Muslim Greeks" are begrudgingly given constitutional protections by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne that ended a war with Turkey.
The denial of its multiethnic character is a reminder that Greece is still a relatively young state struggling to shed the legacy of the troubled Balkans. Its approach toward nationalities, as on Turkey and Europe and much else, was born of deep anxieties about Greek security.
Only now, the government of Costas Simitis has moved to confront this historical complex head on. These efforts, far from complete, deserve closer attention. The success of the Greek transition, essentially from a Balkan to a European country, is a useful case study for the other Balkan countries further to the north. (Many Greeks will bristle at the comparison.) Over dinner, Mr. Papadopoulos, speaking in low tones, says the local police used to listen for people speaking "Skopje," the local dialect that, just across the northern border, passes for the state language of Macedonia. In the village square, a Greek diaspora group from Chicago erected a plaque in 1993 calling on all "brothers" to come to Psarades to defend "the borders of the homeland," Greek Macedonia.
The Prespa region joined modern Greece only in 1913. Applying the model of the time, the Greeks strove to create a nation of "Greeks" out of the mixed peoples of the declining Ottoman empire. The ethnic strains were clear during the Civil War of 1946-49 when Greek Slavs sided with communist insurgents in the north who promised a "united Macedonia."
After the communists lost, all Slavs were removed from government posts in northern Greece in the 1950s, as Ms. Vickers points out. Athens sent up trusted functionaries to run the depopulated villages of the north and made sure the Slavs became Greeks. Years later the populist prime minister in the 1990s, Andreas Papandreou, played on all this when Yugoslavia disintegrated and another "Macedonia" came to life. He imposed a trade blockade on his poor neighbor and even a name, FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) that sticks to this day.
For all the trappings of Greece's membership in the EU and NATO, Europe's elite clubs, many Greeks believe the Slavs in the country and in Macedonia represent a continuing threat to Greece's very survival; just as serious, some say, as all the outstanding disputes with Turkey over the Aegean Sea and Cyprus.
It is in this context that the policies of Mr. Simitis, an uncharismatic leader of a center-left government, must be judged. He met his chief goal of getting Greece into the euro zone, thus symbolically confirming its place in Europe.
Similarly drastic changes are taking place in foreign policy.
Rather than actively try to undermine Macedonia, Athens now is one of the Skopje government's most vocal supporters. Greece lobbied hard for NATO to intervene last year in the brewing civil war. Its companies account for the largest share of foreign investment. Senior Greek officials say Athens consciously seeks to stand in the mainstream of NATO and EU policy in the Balkans, rather than on the margins, as during the Kosovo war.
In a twist worthy of Greek theater, a leading architect of the rejection of Andreas Papandreou's policies is his son, George. As foreign minister, he has also pursued a detente with Turkey, looking for common interests. Both countries are together pushing for their Balkan neighbors, Romania and Bulgaria, to get into NATO this year.
These are early days. Infuriating its allies, Athens refuses to sign off a deal between the EU and NATO, publicly out of concern that Turkey gets too much influence inside the EU. Cyprus remains unresolved. Angering the U.S., Greece hasn't arrested a single member of the November 17 terrorist group responsible for dozens of murders of foreigners. The Simitis people say conforming to EU and U.S. policies on these questions would carry clear political dangers. But the broader goal is to anchor Greece in Europe. Here is where identity politics fit in.
Two years ago, Mr. Papandreou upset many people by referring to the "Greek Muslim" minority by their true name, Turks. A stunning heresy, which supporters cite as evidence of the risks the foreign minister has taken to step out ahead of Greek public opinion. A senior adviser says Greece can only take its full place in Europe when it feels confident enough to abandon the fiction that it is a monoethnic nation descended directly from Pericles. "In a sense the country is still trying to find itself," he says.
The divisions run deep. Pointing to the portraits of his two sons in the Greek military, Vassilis Trajanopoulos says northern Greece must stay vigilant against any outside threats. (So far, the spillover from the Balkans is limited to Albanians stealing the nets of Psarades fishermen out in the lake.) Mr. Trajanopoulos represents the nationalist wing of Greek politics, in sharp relief to the former communist revolutionaries in the village. He says he is a Greek through and through, even if he speaks the Slavic tongue of his parents. "This is not a language, like French or German, but merely a dialect," Trajanopoulos says dismissively.