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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English (AM), 99-03-02
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From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <ert.ntua.gr/>
Today's ERA News OnlineTuesday, March 2nd, 1999
 Greek government replies to allegationsThe Greek government has launched a counter-offensive on Abdullah Ocalan's secretary Semsi Kilic Dilan for her statements about an alleged conspiracy organized by Greece against the Kurdish leader, as well as an attack on the opposition.
Government spokesman Dimitris Reppas yesterday described Dilan's statements as an anti-Greek delirium and adoption of the worst kind of Turkish propaganda, stressing that it would not prove to the Kurdish peoples' benefit if the Kurdish issue became part of a Greek-Turkish dispute. Referring to the opposition parties, he said they were not up to circumstances.
In the wake of the outcry caused by her statements, Ms Kilic Dilan adopted a milder tone and gave an additional press conference in a bid to explain her allegations on Saturday concerning the Greek government and prime minister Kostas Simitis. She stressed that the most important thing was Abdullah Ocalan's safety and the protection of human rights.
 Opposition parties' criticism continuesThe opposition yesterday once more criticized the government for its handling of the Ocalan affair.
New Democracy party leader Kostas Karamanlis reiterated his proposal for the government's resignation, but former party leader Miltiadis Evert disagreed with the party leader's demand and called for the convening of the political party leaders' council under the chairmanship of president of the republic Konstantinos Stefanopoulos or prime minister Kostas Simitis.
 Former foreign minister denies having made statementsMeanwhile former foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos has categorically denied the statements he was alleged to have made on Abdullah Ocalan's handing over to Turkey. Quoting alleged statements by the former foreign minister, the Swedish newsagency reported that Greece had indirectly supported the Kurdish leader's handing over to Turkey.
In a written statement, Mr Pangalos has described the report as fabrication, stressing that he never made any statements to Greek or foreign reporters on the Ocalan case, as he was awaiting the conclusions of the parliamentary inquiry committee.
 Investigation into Ocalan affair wound upA prosecutors' investigation into the handling of the Ocalan case and the responsibilities of non political persons involved was wound up yesterday with the marathon testimony of Greek ambassador to Kenya George Kostoulas.
Additional testimony was also given by the official in charge of the VIP lounge at Athens airport, Stefanos Evangelatos.
 European Socialist party adopts resolution on Kurdish issueThe presidium of the European Socialist Party yesterday adopted a resolution on a definite settlement of the Kurdish issue and a fair trial for Abdullah Ocalan, following a joint proposal by the Italian Democratic Party of the Left and the PASOK party - as formulated by PASOK leader Kostas Simitis.
Speaking during the congress, Mr Simitis stressed categorically that neither as socialists nor as Europeans, but not even as human beings, could we tolerate the situation created by Turkey's stand.
The president of the European Socialists' 4th congress currently taking place in Milan, Rudolf Sharping, said Turkey's European course would largely depend on its stand on the Kurdish issue. Former leader of the French May '68, Green party Euro-deputy Daniel Cohn-Benditt also launched a strongly-worded attack on Turkey and the US over the Ocalan affair. He said the European plan to get Ocalan safely to South Africa was undermined by the US which organized his abduction in Nairobi, Kenya.
Experts of the Council of Europe's committee against torture are to visit the Kurdish leader in jail today. Furthermore, the European Human Rights Court yesterday started hearings on a series of recourses by Kurds against the Turkish authorities for violations of human rights, freedom of expression and opinion, the right to life and accusations of torture. Athenians attended en masse last night's marathon concert organized in Syntagma square by scores of musicians, artists and intellectuals in a show of solidarity with the Kurdish people.
 European Socialists adopt manifesto for Euro-electionsFighting unemployment and boosting development constitute major issues for the socialists, Greek prime minister Kostas Simitis said yesterday, following the signing of the European Socialist Party's manifesto in Milan, in view of the Euro-elections. The basic slogan, he added, is: "We want a new Europe".
Mr Simitis stressed that the socialists can and must concentrate their efforts on creating new jobs, since they cannot accept the financial and mainly the human decay caused by unemployment. In parallel, he underlined that without a continuous development process, there is no prosperity, therefore the manifesto includes a commitment for closer coordination among the member-states.
Another point of the manifesto refers to the need for modernization and reform of the European social model, since the existing one, although successful, is going through a certain crisis. Economic and Monetary Union is a great achievement, Mr Simitis added, however the effort should continue, so that stability, development and employment may be secured through the euro.
Mr Simitis also said that a common foreign and security policy should be implemented by the EU, as well as solidarity with third world countries. On the sidelines of the meeting, Mr Simitis met his Italian and French counterparts, Massimo D'Alema and Lionel Jospin, and discussed the European socialists' common campaign for the Euro-elections as well as the negotiations for the Agenda 2000.
 Greek and Georgian presidents meet in TbilisiPresident of the Greek republic Konstantinos Stefanopoulos yesterday had a one-hour unscheduled meeting in Tbilisi with president of Georgia Edvard Shevardnadze. According to press reports, once Mr Shevardnadze was informed that the aircraft carrying Mr Stefanopoulos was about to land in Tbilisi for refuelling on its way to Tashkent, he asked to meet with the Greek president. Diplomatic sources said that the two men discussed bilateral relations between Greece and Georgia as well as the details of Mr Stefanopoulos' forthcoming visit to Georgia in mid-March.
 American state department says Greece friendly countryReplying to a question on whether the US would put Greece on the list of countries supporting terrorism, following recent disclosures on assistance to Abdullah Ocalan, American state department spokesman James Folley described Greece as a friendly country and an ally of the US, stressing that Washington cooperated closely with Athens on a series of regional, economic, political and military issues.
 Young Greeks living abroad are to meet in Melbourne in MarchThe Pan-Australian congress of young Greeks living abroad will take place in Melbourne on March 26th, 27th and 28th, at the initiative of the Council of Greeks living in Oceania, with the collaboration of the General Secretariat for Greeks living abroad.
Moreover, the great parade of Greek organisations to mark the March 25th Greek national holiday will also take place on March 26th in Melbourne. Chairman of the council of Greeks living in Oceania Kostas Vertzalias stated that the congress aims at strengthening the ties of the younger generations with Greece. Secretary general for Greeks living abroad Stavros Lambrinidis will attend the sessions of the congress together with other officials from Greece and representatives from other Greek organisations.
Meanwhile, festivities under the title "Antipodes", one of the most important festivals in Australia, aiming at the promotion of Greek culture in Australian society, will also culminate on March 26th.
 Talks between Greek and Skopjan state radiosBilateral contacts and discussions between representatives of the Greek and the Skopjan state radios began in Skopje yesterday. Talks will continue in Ochris today.
Participating in the Greek delegation are Greek Radio general director Yannis Tzanetakos, director of regional radio-station network Nikitas Lionarakis and the general director's advisor on international issues Filotas Yannotas.
 First round elections in Athens Bar AssociationAntonis Roupakiotis, who is backed by the Coalition of the Left Wing and Progress, and Dimitris Paxinos, who is backed by New Democracy, will be the two candidates for the presidency of the Athens Bar Association in the second round, due to be held next Sunday and Monday.
Mr Roupakiotis has the lead with 32.6% of the votes, followed by Mr Paxinos with 29.6%.
 75% participation in election for delegates to PASOK congressPASOK secretary Kostas Skandalidis said yesterday participation in the election for delegates to the PASOK party congress was over 75% He also said the party congress would be a substantial political step for the movement's future course.
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