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Athens News Agency: News in English (PM), 99-02-18

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


Athens, Greece, 18/02/1999 (ANA)


  • Three ministers resign over Ocalan affair
  • Ocalan should have listened to Greece - Pangalos
  • Inquiry into Ocalan's movements
  • Opposition calls for PM to step down
  • Greek, Slovak ministers meet
  • Weightlifter Dimas in US for treatment
  • Three arrested in drug haul
  • Greek equities recover
  • Weather
  • Foreign exchange


Three ministers resign over Ocalan affair

Prime minister Costas Simitis today asked for the resignations of three of his key ministers in the wake of an uproar over the capture of rebel Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan. Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos, public order minister Philippos Petsalnikos and interior minister Alecos Papadopoulos had tendered their resignations, which were accepted by the premier. Informed sources told ANA that Simitis was planning to announce a cabinet reshuffle within the day.

Ocalan should have listened to Greece - Pangalos

Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos said in an interview today that if rebel Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan had listened to the Greek government, he would have been safe today. "I insist on believing that if he had followed our advice, most probably he would have been safe and unharmed today," Pangalos said in an interview with the Athens mass-circulation afternoon daily "Ta Nea" newspaper published today.

Inquiry into Ocalan's movements

An Athens prosecutor said on Thursday he was calling an urgent preliminary investigation into how Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan entered the country. First Instance prosecutor Vassilis Piliotas will conduct the inquiry. He is expected to question Greek citizens who have admitted to bringing Ocalan to Greece from Russian on their own initiative and without informing the Greek government. Political figures are not expected to be called to testify in the inquiry.

Opposition calls for PM to step down

The main opposition New Democracy party said Prime Minister Costas Simitis should resign over goverment's handling of the Ocalan affair. "Mr. Simitis is the main person responsible for the country's disgrace and if anybody has to resign, it is he," ND leader Costas Karamanlis told a meeting of his party's MPs on Thursday morning. Karamanlis said his party could not "impose elections" but that it could ensure that ruling party PASOK would lose the next elections. Earlier, New Democracy MP Dora Bakoyianni said the prime minister had to stop hiding and "get up and call elections now".

Greek, Slovak ministers meet

Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos had talks on Thursday with Slovakian Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan on the prospects of Slovakia joining NATO and the European Union and bilateral issues. Sources said the two sides noted an identity of views on all issues. The two ministers discussed possibilities of the two countries cooperating to help resolve the crisis in the strife- torn Yugoslav province of Kosovo and prospects for further strengthening bilateral defence cooperation.

Weightlifter Dimas in US for treatment

Greece's two-time Olympic gold medalist weightlifter Pyrrhos Dimas will be going to the US for treatment of an injury suffered during the world championships in Finland in November, it was announced today. Dimas leaves Saturday for New York, where he will be examined by orthopedic surgeon David Alcek, who specialises in shoulder injuries. The decision was taken after Dimas complained that his right shoulder still bothered him three months after the injury.

Three arrested in drug haul

Three Bulgarians were remanded in custody in Komotini, northern Greece on Thursday after being charged with attempting to sell 6.5 kilos of hashish to undercover narcotics agents for 2 million drachmas. The three were identified as Arso Alentarov, 23, Ivo Ivanov, 32 and Stenov Vosnakov, 32. They were arrested when they met with two narcotics agents at Xiropotamo, Drama. During questioning by the police, the three Bulgarians said they had entered Greece illegally at a point near Nevrokopi.

Greek equities recover

News of a cabinet reshuffle hit stock prices on the Athens Stock Exchange although the market managed to end sharply off the day's lows helped by bargain-hunting activity. The general index ended 2.08 percent off to 3, 359.22 points, after losing as much as 7.0 percent early in the day following the Prime Minister's decision for a cabinet reshuffle. Dealers said domestic institutional investors were buyers while private investors were sellers. Turnover was a record 174.1 billion drachmas and volume 37, 122,879 shares.


Overcast weather and sporadic showers will prevail in most parts of Greece today with snowfall in the mountainous regions. A drop in temperatures expexcted tomorrow. Winds variable, moderate to strong. Partly cloudy in Athens with temperatures between 7-12C. Same in the morning in Thessaloniki with temperatures from 3-7C.


Thursday's rates (buying) U.S. dollar 283.682 Pound sterling 463.720 Japanese yen (100) 239.469 French franc 48.680 German mark 163.268 Italian lira (100) 16.492 Irish Punt 405.459 Belgian franc 7.916 Luxembourg franc 7.916 Finnish mark 53.707 Dutch guilder 144.903 Danish kr. 42.954 Austrian sch. 23.206 Spanish peseta 1.920 Swedish kr. 35.898 Norwegian kr. 36.766 Swiss franc 199.893 Port. Escudo 1.593 Aus. dollar 179.542 Can. dollar 189.373 Cyprus pound 548.576 euro 319.325


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