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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 99-02-19

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.


MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY NEWS IN ENGLISH
Thessaloniki, February 19, 1999

SECTIONS

  • [A] NATIONAL NEWS
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] NEW MEMBERS OF CABINET HAVE BEEN SWORN IN
  • [02] NEW CABINET OF THE GREEK GOVERNMENT, AS OF FEBRUARY 19, 1999
  • [03] CABINET RESHUFFLED, MINISTERS TO BE SWORN IN THIS AFTERNOON
  • [04] MAIN OPPOSITION PARTY ASKS FOR GOVERNMENT TO RESIGN
  • [05] PRESIDENT OF HELLENIC PARLIAMENT RECEIVES US CONGRESSMEN
  • [06] FM DESIGNATE PAPANDREOU CALLS FOR EU'S AID ON KURDISH ISSUE
  • [07] DEFENSE MINISTER AND OUTGOING FM MEET WITH SLOVAKIAN FM
  • [08] KURDS HOLD RALLIES THROUGHOUT EUROPE
  • [09] BORDER ZONE TO INCREASE DEVELOPMENT IN N.E. GREECE
  • [10] THE PRIME MINISTER REQUESTED AND GOT THE RESIGNATION OF THE NATIONAL INFORMATION SERVICE CHIEF
  • [11] THE PRIME MINISTER UNDERTOOK INITIATIVES ON OCALAN IN THE EU
  • [12] THE GREEK PRESIDENCY ISSUED A STATEMENT ON THE OCALAN ISSUE
  • [13] PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT KAKLAMANIS MET WITH THE SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER
  • [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

  • [14] KENYAN AGENTS ARRESTED OCALAN, NAIROBI PRESS REPORTS
  • [15] EURODEPUTIES DELEGATION TRAVELS TO TURKEY
  • [16] EU GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL TO BE HELD ON MONDAY
  • [17] GREECE'S OTE NOW OWNS 35% OF ROM TELECOM
  • [18] KOSOVO: NATO WILL RESORT TO VIOLENCE IF TALKS FAIL
  • [19] YELTSIN, CLINTON TALK ON PHONE OVER KOSOVO CRISIS
  • [20] WASHINGTON: YELTSIN, CLINTON DID NOT SPEAK ON THE PHONE
  • [21] COUNCIL OF EUROPE SUMMIT TO BE HELD IN TURKEY
  • [22] IMPORTANT FACTS ON THE OCALAN AFFAIR ARE PUBLISHED BY A SPANISH NEWSPAPER
  • [23] TENS OF KURDS STILL REMAIN OUTSIDE THE GREEK EMBASSY IN LONDON

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] NEW MEMBERS OF CABINET HAVE BEEN SWORN IN

    The Cabinet's new Ministers and undersecretaries have been sworn in a ceremony officiated by the Archbishop of Athens and all of Greece Christodoulos.

    The ceremony was attended by the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos and the Prime Minister Kostas Simitis.

    The Premier is presently chairing a new Cabinet meeting.

    [02] NEW CABINET OF THE GREEK GOVERNMENT, AS OF FEBRUARY 19, 1999

    Prime Minister: Kostas Simitis

    Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization Minister: Vasso Papandreou Undersecretaries: George Floridis, Leonidas Tzanis

    National Defense Minister: Akis Tsochatzopoulos Deputy Minister: Dimitris Apostolakis

    Foreign Minister: George Papandreou Alternate FM: Yiannos Kranidiotis Undersecretary: Grigoris Niotis

    National Economy Minister: Yiannos Papantoniou Undersecretaries: Christos Pachtas, Alekos Baltas

    Finance Minister: Yiannos Papantoniou Undersecretaries: George Drys, Nikos Christodoulakis

    Development Minister: Evangelos Venizelos Undersecretaries: Anna Diamantopoulou, Yiannis Haralambous

    Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister: Kostas Laliotis Undersecretaries: Theodoros Koliopanos, Christos Verelis

    Education and Religious Affairs Minister: Gerasimos Arsenis Undersecretary: Yiannis Anthopoulos

    Agriculture Minister: George Anomeritis Undersecretaries: Kostas Vrettos, Paraskevas Fountas

    Labor and Social Security Minister: Miltiades Papaioannou Undersecretaries: Fivos Ioannidis, Christos Protopapas

    Health and Welfare Minister: Lambros Papadimas Undersecretaries: Nikos Farmakis, Theodoros Kotsonis

    Justice Minister: Evangelos Yiannopoulos

    Culture Minister: Elizabeth Papazoi

    Sports Deputy Minister: Andreas Fouras

    Merchant Marine Minister: Stavros Soumakis

    Public Order Minister: Michalis Chrysohoidis

    Macedonia-Thrace Minister: Yiannis Magriotis

    Aegean Minister: Stavros Benos

    Transport and Communications Minister: Tassos Mantelis Undersecretary: Nikos Salayiannis

    Press and Media Minister: Dimitris Reppas

    Minister to the PM: Costas Geitonas Undersecretary: George Pashalidis

    [03] CABINET RESHUFFLED, MINISTERS TO BE SWORN IN THIS AFTERNOON

    Following yesterday's resignations of the ministers of foreign affairs, Interior and Public order, at the Premier's request, the cabinet has been reshuffled with the swearing-in ceremony taking place this afternoon.

    The cabinet, in its new formation, will convene immediately thereafter, under the heading of Prime Minster Kostas Simitis.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will now be headed by George Papandreou, formerly alternate FM, while Vaso Papandreou, formerly Minster of Development, will now head the Ministry of the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization. The Ministry of Public Order will be headed by Manolis Chrysochoides.

    The Ministry of Development will be headed by former Minister of Culture Evangelos Venizelos, the Ministry of Culture will be headed by former Minister of the Aegean Elizabeth Papazoi, the Minister of the Aegean will be headed by Stavros Benos, who served until now as deputy interior minister.

    Yiannos Kranidtiotis, formerly undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, will now serve as alternate FM.

    The parliamentarian of the district of Magnesia Leonidas Tzanis is to serve as undersecretary of the Interior, Grigoris Niotis will serve as undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, and Yiannis Haralabous will serve as undersecretary of Development.

    [04] MAIN OPPOSITION PARTY ASKS FOR GOVERNMENT TO RESIGN

    Greece's opposition parties are demanding that the government resign and the country be led to early elections, in spite of the resignations of three misters believed to be involved in the Ocalan case.

    Specifically, the main opposition party New Democracy holds Prime Minister Kostas Simitis responsible, a view held by the other parties as well, since all three ousted ministers stated that he was indeed informed of their actions.

    [05] PRESIDENT OF HELLENIC PARLIAMENT RECEIVES US CONGRESSMEN

    The President of the Hellenic Parliament Apostolos Kaklamanis received 12-member delegation of U.S. Congressmen who visited Greece yesterday in order to meet with Greek government officials on political and economic affairs and defense and security issues.

    The delegation, led by Nebraska Republican Douglas Bereuter, is on a six-day tour of the region and, after Greece, will also visit Turkey.

    Following the meeting, Mr. Kaklamanis expressed "feelings of bitterness" by the Greek people and Parliament in relation to Washington's ties with Ankara.

    According to the announcement issued by Mr. Kaklamanis' office, the United States was inactive towards the continuing Turkish invasion and occupation in Cyprus.

    Several US Congressmen responded that the United States wishes for a peaceful and stable Mediterranean and the best possible relations between Athens and Ankara.

    [06] FM DESIGNATE PAPANDREOU CALLS FOR EU'S AID ON KURDISH ISSUE

    Greece's Foreign Minister designate George Papandreou has requested that the European union form a common position regarding the Kurdish issue, following his Bonn-held talks with Germany's former chancellor Helmut Kohl.

    "The EU must at last take a position and formulate a common stance on the Kurdish problem and also ensure, by any means possible, that Ocalan's integrity will be guaranteed at his trial, which should be conducted in a European manner," Mr. Papandreou stated.

    Mr. Papandreou stated that his talks with Mr. Kohl focused mainly on the Kurdish issue, as well as Greek-Turkish relations. He hailed the former German chancellor as "one of Europe's most historical figures."

    [07] DEFENSE MINISTER AND OUTGOING FM MEET WITH SLOVAKIAN FM

    Slovakian Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan was received yesterday by Greece's outgoing FM Theodoros Pangalos and National Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, during his visit to Athens.

    Msgrs. Kukan and Pangalos discussed Slovakia's prospects of joining NATO, and the European Union, which Athens supports, as well as bilateral issues.

    During the talks between Mgrs. Kukan and Tsochatzopoulos, the two officials discussed the various forms of cooperation between the two countries in order to help resolve the crisis in the strife-torn region of Kosovo, as well as for further strengthening bilateral defense cooperation.

    [08] KURDS HOLD RALLIES THROUGHOUT EUROPE

    Thousands of Kurds throughout Europe marched in rallies yesterday, held in protest to the arrest of their leader Abdullah Ocalan who is presently incarcerated at a remote prison-island in Turkey.

    Meanwhile, the Greek embassy in London was freed yesterday when the Kurds occupying the premises departed peacefully.

    At the same, Europe, the United States and Canada have called on Turkey to ensure a fair trial for Mr. Ocalan. Turkey's Premier Bulent Ecevit stated yesterday that the prisoner is been treated well.

    [09] BORDER ZONE TO INCREASE DEVELOPMENT IN N.E. GREECE

    The Ministry of Macedonia-Thrace has drawn a plan called "Border Zone", which aims at increasing development in northeastern Greece, including the border region, working with local authorities.

    The program, presented yesterday in the city of Xanthi by the ministry's secretary-general George Lyssaridis, includes infrastructure projects and administrative improvements.

    [10] THE PRIME MINISTER REQUESTED AND GOT THE RESIGNATION OF THE NATIONAL INFORMATION SERVICE CHIEF

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis requested and got the resignation of National Information Service chief Charalambos Stavrakakis according to a statement made by Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas, who stressed that there will be a top to bottom restructuring of the Greek secret service.

    Commenting on the statements made by Turkish foreign minister Ismail Cem, who said that every time Bulent Ecevit becomes a prime minister of Turkey something good happens in Greece, Mr. Reppas said that the tragic conditions under which democracy in Greece was restored are known, adding that democracy in Greece is healthy and functioning contrary to the situation in Turkey.

    The government spokesman reiterated that the policy of Greece toward the Kurdish problem was and is the right one, admitting however, that there were mistakes made in the handling of the Ocalan affair.

    On the fate of Ocalan's comrades, who are still in the Greek embassy in Kenya, Mr. Reppas said that every effort is being made to deal with the problem and expressed the certainty that everything will go well.

    Referring to the initiatives undertaken by the government and the prime minister, he said that Mr. Simitis had telephone conversations with his counterparts in Germany, France and Austria and that the European leaders have admitted that a solution should be found to the Kurdish problem.

    [11] THE PRIME MINISTER UNDERTOOK INITIATIVES ON OCALAN IN THE EU

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis addressed the Greek people after the swearing-in ceremony of the newly formed cabinet saying that the government and himself are fully aware of the situation and realize the deep disappointment the Greek people feel. He said that the final development distorts completely the picture of Greece, adding that Greece did its duty to the fullest as a country that respects the European culture and human rights.

    The prime minister also said that unfortunately neither the EU nor the other European countries undertook initiatives for the handling of this case, and this is clear taking under consideration that Ocalan was looking for months for an EU airport to land.

    Mr. Simitis said that it would have been a strategic mistake if Greece had decided to grant a political asylum to Ocalan. He said that Greece was faced with a fait accompli and already a detailed investigation is underway to find those responsible. Mr. Simitis said that Ocalan came to Greece illegally and the country was at risk of becoming the target of a huge Turkish propaganda over an alleged relation between Greece and PKK and the armed struggle taking place in Turkey.

    Mr. Simitis said that the top obligation was to protect the country's interests but this does not mean that there were no mistakes in the handling of the situation. He said that the international community and specifically the EU have an obligation to safeguard the implementation of the generally acceptable judicial procedures and the protection of Ocalan's human rights, adding that those countries have a responsibility over the developments. He said that the European Union should be the guarantor for the fair treatment of Ocalan.

    Mr. Simitis stated that the Greek people will be informed of the initiatives that will be undertaken by the Greek government saying that he has already spoken with German chancellor Mr. Schroder, French prime minister Mr. Jospen and Austrian prime minister Mr. Klima over the need for initiatives aimed at the implementation of the rule of law and the protection of Abdullah Ocalan's human rights.

    Prime minister Kostas Simitis also announced during the cabinet meeting that he is undertaking initiatives on the Kurdish problem.

    Specifically, Mr. Simitis stressed that certain nationalist circles are responsible for bringing Ocalan to Greece and underlined that the bad climate should not affect the course of the government. He also called on the cabinet members to continue the initiatives they each undertake in their sector.

    The prime minister stated that he has sent a letter to his counterparts in the European Union in which he describes the events that led to the arrest of Ocalan, adding that Greece will raise the issue at the European Union Council meeting and will intensify the efforts for the promotion of human rights in Turkey.

    A governmental committee meeting at the prime minister's office followed the cabinet meeting. In statements he made afterwards, Mr. Simitis stressed that Greece did its duty to the fullest as a country that respects civilization and human rights and he also spoke of irresponsible people and idiots who created a fait accompli for Greece. He pointed out that there will be a detailed investigation and those responsible will be accountable for the actions.

    Mr. Simitis admitted again that there were mistakes in the handling of the issue. The prime minister stressed that Greece undertakes international initiatives and announced that he has already talked with his counterparts in France, Germany and Austria.

    [12] THE GREEK PRESIDENCY ISSUED A STATEMENT ON THE OCALAN ISSUE

    The Greek presidency issued a statement on the Ocalan case. Greek president Kostis Stephanopoulos issued an appeal to the leaders and governments of the EU member states as well as, to the United States and Russia calling for their effective intervention to the Turkish authorities in order to secure the humane treatment of Ocalan and the holding of a trial in accordance with the generally acceptable legal procedures.

    The way the prisoner is paraded in front of the television cameras brings revulsion to every human being and creates sad thoughts regarding what could follow, stresses president Stephanopoulos.

    In the statement it is added that the European states had the right not to accept Ocalan to their territory but they have the obligation to demand from Turkey to abide by all the rules providing for the protection of the human rights of every individual guilty or innocent, terrorist or fighter.

    [13] PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT KAKLAMANIS MET WITH THE SLOVAK FOREIGN MINISTER

    Greek parliament president Apostolos Kaklamanis met with Slovak foreign minister Eduard Kukan.

    In the meeting the friendly relations between the two countries were confirmed and was expressed the common wish for the further development of bilateral relations in all sectors.

    [B] INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [14] KENYAN AGENTS ARRESTED OCALAN, NAIROBI PRESS REPORTS

    Nairobi newspaper "Daily Nation" has reported that it was Kenyan agents who apprehended PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan on Monday in Kenya, thereby refuting widely-published claims that he was captured by Turkish commandos, while also contradicting the statements made by Kenya's Foreign Minister and confirming what has been stated by the Greek Embassy in Nairobi.

    The journalist who wrote the article, Steven Muiruiri, spoke to the BBC and, quoting a Kenyan police official, gave an account of Mr. Ocalan's arrest.

    "Last Monday, officials from Kenya's information agency went to the Greek ambassador's residence in Nairobi and in turn departed with Mr. Kostoulas (the ambassador) and the Kurdish leader to an unknown direction. They later returned to the ambassador's residence, but this time only with Mr. Kostoulas, remained for a short while and left again. Mr. Kostoulas returned to his house after many hours."

    The Kenyan journalist stressed that "everything which the Kenyan Foreign Minister Dr. Godana said on the Ocalan affair does not correspond with the truth."

    Moreover, according to Mr. Muiruiri, the chief of police Frank Kuinka, who has been dismissed, revealed that it was Kenyan officers who ordered that Mr. Ocalan leave the country, while he also confirmed that Kenyan officers transported the PKK leader to an airplane at the Gemoniata airport.

    "The reports of police chief Frank Kuinka correspond with what has been stated by the Greek embassy in Nairobi. Therefore, rumors that Turkish agents arrested Ocalan while en route to the airport are untrue," Mr. Muiruiri said.

    Furthermore, the Kenyan reporter told the BB that the four Kurds who escorted Mr. Ocalan to Kenya are now being held by the Kenyan security forces at an unknown location, while he did not rule out the possibility that they may no longer be in the country.

    [15] EURODEPUTIES DELEGATION TRAVELS TO TURKEY

    A delegation of European Parliament deputies is presently in Istanbul, in order to present the EU parliament's resolutions on the Abdullah Ocalan case.

    Greek Euro-MP Alekos Alavanos, representing the Coalition of the Left and Progress, will represent the European Parliament at the joint committee meeting with the Turkish national assembly. Mr. Alavanos said that Turkish officials avoided a meeting with the deputies.

    The committee calls for Mr. Ocalan's trial to be fair and public, for the accused to be given the right to choose his own lawyer and that European Parliament members be allowed to visit him.

    It also reminds Turkey of its obligations as a member of the Council of Europe not to apply the death penalty.

    [16] EU GENERAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL TO BE HELD ON MONDAY

    The European Union's General Affairs Council will be held in Brussels on Monday and discussions are expected to focus on the Ocalan affair, the EU's stance of the EU and relations with Turkey

    Greece will be represented by Foreign Minister designate George Papandreou who has stated that he plans to raise the Kurdish issue "about which there is, unfortunately, a great deal of hypocrisy in the EU. We have not confronted the problem with strength and determination."

    [17] GREECE'S OTE NOW OWNS 35% OF ROM TELECOM

    Greece's state-owned Hellenic Telecommunications Organization (OTE), now owns 35 percent of Romania's Rom Telecom and has 51 percent of voting rights, OTE president Vassilis Rapanos announced yesterday in Bucharest.

    Furthermore, a 2.7 billion dollar investment plan for Rom Telecom is being discussed with the country's government.

    [18] KOSOVO: NATO WILL RESORT TO VIOLENCE IF TALKS FAIL

    NATO's secretary-general Javier Solana has stated that if the Rambouillet-held talks over the Kosovo crisis fail, then the Alliance will very soon resort to violence.

    Mr. Solana stressed that there is a need to sign a political accord calling for the deployment of peacekeeping forces in the region, which would ensure the enforcement of the agreement.

    The NATO chief met with FYROM's premier Liupsko Georgievski whom he briefed on NATO's plans in Kosovo.

    The FYROM Premier denied published reports that claim his country will allow the deployment of NATO forces if the need arises.

    [19] YELTSIN, CLINTON TALK ON PHONE OVER KOSOVO CRISIS

    Russian president Boris Yeltsin had a telephone conversation with the president of the United States Bill Clinton during which he reiterated that Kremlin is determined not to allow NATO to hold military maneuvers in Kosovo.

    Mr. Yeltsin stated that he emphasized Russia's opposition to air strikes against Yugoslavia, even if Belgrade should not manage to reach a compromise with the Albanian side.

    [20] WASHINGTON: YELTSIN, CLINTON DID NOT SPEAK ON THE PHONE

    A U.S. State Department spokesperson has denied claims made by Russia's president Boris Yeltsin, who said that he and US President Bill Clinton had a telephone conversation concerning the Kosovo crisis.

    The State Department official stated that the two heads of state have not had any recent communication, while he added that Russia's position on any potential air strikes by NATO in Kosovo is known.

    [21] COUNCIL OF EUROPE SUMMIT TO BE HELD IN TURKEY

    The European Council will hold its Summit on "Democratic Stability, Peace and Sustainable Growth in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions", on February 25-26 in Turkey.

    Also, the joint meeting the C of E's Parliamentary Assembly and the congress of Local-regional Authorities of Europe, which will feature the participation of 40 countries, will take place at Marmaris, off the Sea of Marmara, precisely where PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is being held prisoner by the Turkish state.

    EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek will visit Istanbul on February 24-25, at a time when Ankara is requesting that EU funds allocated for Turkey be freed.

    [22] IMPORTANT FACTS ON THE OCALAN AFFAIR ARE PUBLISHED BY A SPANISH NEWSPAPER

    Important facts were published by the Spanish newspaper "El Mundo" on the Ocalan arrest in Nairobi.

    According to the newspaper correspondent to Ankara, Ocalan's arrest was made with the help of the US secret services as the CIA had informed Turkey that he was in Kenya, the US government pressured Greece not to grant him political asylum and finally, Kenya handed him over to the Turks at the orders of the United States.

    The newspaper writes that based on statements made by German lawyer Britta Boehler, Ocalan was taken to Nairobi by the Greek authorities who had promised that they would issue an open residence permit in South Africa for him, also she stated that in the afternoon of the February 15th the Greek foreign minister telephoned the Greek embassy in Kenya and presented Ocalan with an alternative solution namely, to take a KLM passenger flight to the Netherlands and not risk a Kenyan security forces attack at the Greek embassy.

    Ms. Boehler also stated that Ocalan accepted to leave with KLM after intense pressures but she did not reveal from whom.

    At another point the newspaper points out that the Greek prime minister admitted that there were many gaps in the case of Ocalan's arrest in Kenya and his transfer to Turkey and that many traps were set for Greece and the Kurds. In a report signed by Alfonso Rojo the newspaper writes that the United States have many secret agents in Nairobi with high-tech surveillance equipment capable of phone-tapping, checking the inflow of foreign visitors to the country and having access to the local police files.

    The report mentions that Ocalan was proved to be careless in his actions as he used a mobile phone to communicate and this made it easy for the secret services to locate him. The FBI agents in Nairobi, who listened into all the communications made through the Kenyan mobile phone company, soon discovered that the mystery person who had passed through the airport controls together with the Greek ambassador without presenting any travel documents on February 3 was Ocalan. Among the telephone conversations taped by the FBI was a long and intense conversation between Ocalan and a Greek government minister, who was threatened by the Kurdish leader fearing that Athens will stop protecting him.

    The next step was to force Ocalan to abandon his hideout and the decisive role here was played by the Americans. They used third parties to persuade the Kurdish leader that the Netherlands was going to give him political asylum, while they also pressured the Greeks forcing the Kenyan foreign minister to request explanations over the presence of an individual in the residence of the Greek ambassador, who had not presented the necessary travel documents while entering the country as he could well be a terrorist.

    With Ocalan staying at the Greek ambassador's residence for a period of 12 days, pressured by time and unaware of what was going on, the Greeks decided to take him to the Nairobi airport and send him to the Netherlands, but they could know that the FBI knew all about their plan. They knew, writes the "El Mundo", that the car with Ocalan would be driven by Kenyan private police. The report concludes that for the commandos, who possibly made a deal with the Kenyan driver of Ocalan it was a piece of cake to locate the car, neutralize the scared Greek diplomats and disappear in the streets of Nairobi with the Kurdish leader.

    [23] TENS OF KURDS STILL REMAIN OUTSIDE THE GREEK EMBASSY IN LONDON

    Tens of Kurds remain outside the Greek embassy building in London waiting to be informed on whether their 77 comrades, who had occupied the embassy building after the arrest of their leader Abdullah Ocalan by the Turks, will be charged.

    About 100 people were today outside the embassy grounds calling for the release of their comrades who are in police custody. A decision is expected to be reached today or tomorrow.

    Meanwhile, Turkish judges are expected at the island of Imrali in the Sea of Marmara, who will interrogate the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan for 4-5 days, while the trial is expected to take place based on summary procedures and the sentence that could be imposed on him could be from 20 years imprisonment to 22.000 times to death.


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