|Sunday, 20 October 2019|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English (AM), 99-02-25
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
Today's ERA News OnlineThursday, February 25th, 1999
 Greek prime minister visits Bonn and MilanGreek prime minister Kostas Simitis will visit Bonn today to take part in an informal EU summit meeting. He will have contacts with German officials about a common position on the Ocalan affair. Mr Simitis will visit Milan afterwards to attend the conference of the European Socialist Party.
Meanwhile the inner cabinet and PASOK's political secretariat held a joint session yesterday under the chairmanship of prime minister Kostas Simitis to discuss Greece's strategy on a political and diplomatic level in connection with the Ocalan case.
After the meeting, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas said Greece would not allow Turkey to speculate politically or nationally on the issue as part of its effort to make itself a regulator of domestic political developments.
Both the government spokesman and the finance minister gave assurances that there is political and economy stability in Greece.
 Deliberations for transfer of Kurdish women from NairobiDeliberations have been in progress for the safe transfer from the Greek embassy in Nairobi of the three women who were accompanying Abdullah Ocalan and of Greek Intelligence Service officer, major Savas Kalenderidis .
Foreign minister Yorgos Papandreou yesterday briefed president of the republic Konstantinos Stefanopoulos on the recent developments.
However, the opposition yesterday again strongly criticized the government and the way it handled the Ocalan affair.
 Turkish allegations deniedThe deputy director of the office of the UN high commissioner for refugees, Marion Hoffman, gave a strong reply to Ankara's allegations about the training of Kurdish terrorists in Greece and specifically in Lavrio, stressing very clearly that the repeatedly inspected camp in Lavrio was merely a hosting center for people seeking shelter.
The Greek foreign ministry has issued an announcement stressing that Greece refuses to follow the tactics of groundless accusations Turkey is using against it.
Meanwhile, a musical event will take place in Athens today, as well as a protest rally and a march to the American embassy by well-known Greek artists, in a show of solidarity with the Kurdish people. The Mikis Theodorakis orchestra and other artists will participate in the concert.
 European parliamentarians address Kurdish issueGerman foreign undersecretary Luger Wolfmer has told the European parliament's plenum that the settlement of the Kurdish issue in a climate of democracy and human rights will help Turkey come closer to the EU. Mr Wolfmer clarified that the Kurdish people's right to self-rule did not mean the creation of an independent state.
The head of the Socialist group, Pauline Green, claimed that the latest developments in the Kurdish issue following Abdullah Ocalan's arrest proved that the Kurdish issue was not Turkey's domestic problem but an international one, adding that terrorism could be combatted only if the reasons causing it were eliminated.
Ms Green also said that a fair trial for Abdullah Ocalan could not be considered a sufficient step on the part of Turkey which should also proceed to an extensive revision of its constitution recognizing the existence and the rights of the Kurds.
Yesterday, Abdullah Ocalan was placed "under provisional detention" which according to Turkish law may last six months. In any case, the court will meet on the island of Imrali, because according to the law trials involving state security are held at the place of the suspect's detention.
In a letter, Amnesty International has called for Ocalan's fair trial, while the British prime minister Tony Blair has also made an appeal for a fair trial.
 National economy minister says Greece on steady EMU courseNational economy minister Yannos Papantoniou yesterday reiterated that economic stability was the cornerstone of the government's policy which is aiming at Greece's equal entry into European economic and monetary union.
Mr Papantoniou assured all those expressing concern over Greece's course towards economic and monetary union that the government would not let anyone undermine that course.
Mr Papantoniou admitted that the Ocalan affair was not handled correctly and added the government had assumed its responsibility on the issue. He then called on the Greek people not to let anyone, inside or outside Greece, destabilize the country's national course or jeopardize its present and future.
 Defence minister calls for PASOK unityNational defense minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos yesterday called for unity, a new course and a new composition for PASOK, with the participation of all with no exclusions.
Outlining his point of view on the course towards the party congress, Mr Tsohatzopoulos called on all members to assume their responsibilities in order to overcome the crisis, but clarified he would not challenge the leadership of PASOK.
Speaking to reporters he hinted there was a danger of turning the Ocalan affair into a national shame and pointed out the real circumstances should be fully clarified, mistakes pinpointed and blame apportioned where due.
 New Democracy leader challenges governmentThe opposition New Democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis yesterday said that the New Democracy party is a guarantor of the country's European orientation.
He added that the government was deliberately trying to create the impression that the country's entry into economic and monetary union was jeopardized.
The New Democracy party leader cannot claim that he is a co-guarantor of the country's course towards economic and monetary union and at the same time call for the resignation of the prime minister, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas replied.
 Social dialogue starts on taxation systemSocial dialogue on reforming the taxation system in Greece started today with the participation of the Public Servants' Union but not that of the General Confederation of Greek Workers whose executive committee decided by majority vote to abstain from the dialogue.
Nevertheless, president of the Confederation Christos Polyzogopoulos said the union was losing an opportunity for workers to impose on the government changes in the taxation system in accordance with the positions of trade unions.
 Greece proclaimed first shipping power in the worldGreece was proclaimed the largest shipping power in the world in 1998, with a carrier capacity of 123.8 million tons, occupying 17.6% of the world total, the Journal of Commerce has said in a report from Geneva.
The same newspaper said international shipping trade increased by 2.2% in 1998, while in 1997 it went up by 1.7% only because of the Asian crisis.