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FYROM fears the Balkan route is still active

Refugee camps in FYROM’s southern border with Greece are almost empty now, say activists of the Red Cross, but they still fear a possible new wave of refugees.

FYROM is on the so called Balkan route, which two years ago was used by many illegal refugees from Syria, Iraq and countries of Middle East.

FYROM’s Interior minister, Oliver Spasovski says that although the intensity of refugees on this rout has fallen, it is still active.

According to him, although this route has been officially closed, there are many smugglers who exploit victims of trafficking.

Tamara Pogusev, regional head of the Migration, Asylum, Refugees Regional Initiative (MARRI), sdays that measures will be taken for a possible new wave of refugees.

“I truly believe that the EU has long term objectives to stop a possible new wave of refugees, like the one we saw in 2015, because this is not a problem for Europe, but for the entire world”, Pogusev said.

During 2015 and first half of 2016, the number of refugees who went through FYROM was between 800 thousand to 1 million and according to the ministry of Interior, only 200 of them have applied for asylum in the country. /balkaneu.com/

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FYROM-Macron: The agreement is crucial for your country’s future, I am FOR

In a video message to the citizens of fYRO Macedonia ahead of upcoming referendum, French President Emmanuel Macron said that agreement with Greece secures the future of the country and believes in wisdom of the citizens.

“Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I will take up a little of your time to address you directly. Our two countries have fostered diplomatic relations for 25 years. Twenty-five years of common past and linked destinies among our nations, whose roots are deeply embedded throughout the centuries.

In this regard, a lot of things have been done in recent years, however a major step forward was made on June 17, 2018. The step was made with the courage of your leaders, between your country and Greece, which ended the 27-year-old dispute.

The “Prespa Agreement” of June 17, 2018 ensures progress and preparation of the future. September 30 referendum refers precisely to this agreement.

I am acquainted with all the controversies that are taking place and are part of the democratic debate in the country. But from here, because I believe in our continent, in the power of Europe in the power of collective strength and in mutual cooperation, I would like to tell you what I believe. I know that there is perfect agreement. I know that for one it is not enough long-term, and for others that they would otherwise negotiated it. I hear all the criticisms that have been said.

Nobody hoped this deal would be reached until a several months ago. But, this agreement has been waiting for 27 years. This agreement was achieved because of the courage of your and the Greek leaders. That's why I support it. Totally! Strongly!

I consider that agreement has a central place in the plans for the country's future. It is also the essence of the ambitions of your young people and what we can do together in the years to come" said French President.

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Mass arrests in the Turkish Air Force

Fifty months after the attempted coup against Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which, according to the Turkish government, was a work of the Guilenists (FETO), the cleansing within the Turkish armed forces is proceeding at unimpeded pace.

On Friday, arrest warrants were handed over to 110 Turkish Air Force officers on duty, accused of being affiliated with Imam Gülen, who lives in self-exile in the US. The Turkish authorities argue that even today there are nuclei of the "Fethullah Gülen (FETO) terrorist organization, and this is the reason for the continuation of the operations. Among the arrested are three policemen and five pilots, as well as officers serving at Incirlik air base.

By Friday night, 85 officers had been arrested and the authorities were looking for the rest in 15 Turkish cities.

Since July 2016, when the coup against the Turkish president was attempted, more than 77,000 people have been arrested and 150,000 have been removed from office or have been suspended indefinitely, in the context of these operations of the Turkish authorities which, according to Ankara, are necessary to eliminate any risk of mutiny. Among the arrested are also many journalists.

"We'll hunt them wherever they are"

Turkish Presidential Speaker, Ibrahim Kalin, spoke of the continuation of the abductions of Gulenists in foreign countries, by the Turkish secret services, and stressed that Turkey is determined to punish them.

"The operations of Turkish intelligence services (MIT) and the Armed Forces abroad will continue with the same determination. Those who have committed crimes against Turkey know that they will be brought to justice and, whether in a year or five years, will be punished.

The Republic of Turkey will not allow the members of the FETO (Gulenists) to draw breath. All of them will feel the breath of Turkey on their neck", Kalin said.

MIT has made kidnaps in 18 countries and has captured 80 FETO members, whom they have brought back to Turkey./IBNA

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fYROM: Gjorge Ivanov will abstain from the referendum

His decision to abstain from the referendum about the name issue announced the President of fYROMacedonia, Gjorge Ivanov.

The country's president, speaking at a rally in New York, reiterated the claim that the Prespes Agreement is detrimental to the national interests of the country and added that in assuming his duties he has vowed to abide by the Constitution and the laws.

"The mandate I received from the citizens of the country, twice, is to prevent a change of the Constitution in order to change the constitutional name and not to accept ideas and suggestions that will threaten the Macedonian national identity, the Macedonian language and the Macedonian cohabitation model. I will keep these promises in full, and for this reason I will not vote", Gjorge Ivanov said.

The President of fYROMacedonia is in New York to take part in the works of the 73rd UN General Assembly.

The question of the referendum to be answered on September 30 by the voters of fYROMacedonia will be worded as follows: "Are you in favor of joining the EU and NATO by accepting the Agreement between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece?"./IBNA

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Cyprus lures London investors as ExxonMobil stands defiant in face of Turkish warnings

A full spectre of opportunities and incentives that Cyprus is offering investors were presented at Bloomberg’s London headquarters on Friday at an event organised by the Cyprus Investment Promotion Agency.

The lead speaker was the President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades, in London on a stopover on his way to the New York UN General Assembly.

His speech focused on the “comparative advantages” Cyprus is offering. He said that along with “the positive repercussions of an ambitious reform programme and the careful management of state finances”, these advantages have already resulted in renewed substantial investments in a wide range of sectors.

He added that a testament to the fruit borne by his government’s efforts and “a confirmation of our economic management, with obvious positive repercussions as regards the country’s financial potentials and the investors trust in Cyprus” is the return of the country’s economy to investment grade ratings.

“The challenge now is to keep up the momentum and ensure that Cyprus remains on the path of sustainable growth,” commented President Anastasiades, pledging to continue with the sound governance of public finances.

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades followed suit, saying that “Cyprus has recovered, but we are not complacent.”

The well-attended forum stroke a chord with potential investors and brought smiles to the Cypriot officials’ faces as big names like ExxonMobil, Melco and Columbia Ship Management described in enthusiastic tones how easy and rewarding is to do business in Cyprus.

ExxonMobil Exploration’s Vice-President for Europe Tristan Aspray also provided the quote of the day, making clear that the energy giant soon to drill on Block 10 of Cyprus’s EEZ is “happy to be in Cyprus” despite Turkish noises.

He added that ExxonMobil was aware of the “particular” geopolitical conditions from the beginning and that dealing with Turkey’s reactions is a matter for governments, not for a commercial entity…. / IBNA

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Athens is looking forward to an energy co-operation between Greece and fYROMacedonia

Next week, the Greek Minister of Environment and Energy, Giorgos Stathakis is expected to visit the fYROMacedonian capital Skopje with the purpose of his visit being an energy co-operation between Greece and fYROMacedonia.

"There is a framework of agreements and prospects for the energy sector that are absolutely beneficial for both countries", the Greek minister noted, considering that new important energy agreements between the two sides will follow.

The construction of a natural gas pipeline from the Thessaloniki region to Negotino is underway on the initiative of the National Gas Transmission System Operator (DESFA).

Athens and Skopje have been in contact since October 2016 for the interconnection of the two countries' Natural Gas Systems.

The two sides had even signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote this project. DESFA's goal, as pointed out, is to create an "energy bridge of co-operation" with fYROMacedonia, while creating new jobs in both countries.

At the same time, priority is given to diversifying sources of gas supply and opening new gas routes in the Balkans and Southeast Europe.

The project of interconnection with fYROMacedonia is included in the DESFA Development Programme 2017-2026 under approval.

Meanwhile, in April, PPC's Board of Directors approved, after the completion of all the necessary financial and legal actions, the acquisition of EDS Electricity Trading and Supply Company in fYROMacedonia, at a price of € 4.8 million.

"This acquisition, as the company said in a statement, is part of the PPC business strategy in the Balkan region and the forthcoming integration of the energy markets promoted by the European Union."

The EDS Group was established in 2012 and has subsidiaries in Serbia, Slovakia and Kosovo.

It is a member of the Hungarian Electricity Exchange (HUPX) and holds electricity trading licenses in Serbia, Kosovo, Croatia, Bulgaria and Hungary….. / IBNA

Main Photo (File): Environment and Energy Minister, Giorgos Stathakis

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