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Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English, 99-02-20

Cyprus Mail: Press Review in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus Mail at <>

Saturday, February 20, 1999

'Simitis axes ministers to save his skin'

YESTERDAY's papers gave most of their attention to the resignation of three Greek minsters over their role in the arrest of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Simerini said "The Ocalan tragedy has become a torment to the Greek Nation and a hell for Costas Simitis' government."

The paper said that Greek Prime Minister Simitis, "in the face of a complete government collapse," had been forced to ask for the resignations of Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, Interior Minister Alecos Papadopoulos and Public Order Minister Phillipos Petsalnikos.

Politis said "Simitis took three heads and kept his own."

The paper said that public outcry over Ocalan's capture had forced Simitis to axe three of his Ministers. Politis noted that two had been the Prime Ministers' close associates.

The paper added that "the Prime Minister's problems have just begun", since his party Pasok will soon be holding an assembly.

Alithia said that Simitis had also issued orders for investigations into finding the persons - besides the three Ministers - responsible for the way the Ocalan case was handled. The paper said Simitis had already sent a letter to new Foreign Minister George Papandreou, at the time in his capacity as deputy Foreign Minister, asking for all those responsible to be removed from the government.

Haravghi gave focused on those taking over the outgoing ministers' positions. The paper said that Vasso Papandreou had become Interior Minister and George Papandreou was the new Foreign Minister, while the office of the Public Order Minister had been filled by Michalis Chrysochiodes.

Phileleftheros said "American officials are trying to link us to the Ocalan issue." The paper said that Nicosia was in a state of "worry and waiting" over the fiasco. Phileleftheros added that Cyprus was closely watching developments in Greece and Turkey following Ocalan's arrest and keeping a look out for tension raising actions on the Turkish side. According to Phileleftheros, the government was also studying ways of dealing with the possibility of foreign countries accepting Turkey's claims that Cyprus had been involved in the affair.

Machi said that there were serious international concerns over Ocalan's safety while it was virtually certain that Turkey would execute the Kurdish separatist leader. According to Machi, Ocalan would actually be tried at Imrali, a small Marmara sea island jail. The paper said Ocalan had asked the European Court of Human Rights to intervene.

© Copyright Cyprus Mail 1999

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