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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 99-02-17
From: The Macedonian Press Agency at http://www.mpa.gr and http://www.hri.org/MPA.
BRIEF GREEK NEWS BULLETIN BY THE MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY
Thessaloniki, February 17, 1999
NEWS IN DETAIL
 GREEK PREMIER ISSUES STATEMENT ON OCALAN ISSUE
Athens, February 17 (MPA)Greece's Prime Minister Kostas Simitis issued a written statement yesterday evening, referring to the tragic outcome of Abdullah Ocalan's odyssey, wherein he states that the Kurdish leader opted to negotiate with third parties in order to conduct talks with the Kenyan government and the moves that ensued where of his own doing.
Mr. Simitis added that Mr. Ocalan did not inform the Greek government on the actions he took and the negotiations he engaged in. The Premier stated that this matter contains a number of gaps and traps and urged everyone to refrain from weaving covert scenarios and hurling accusations.
The Greek Premier further stressed that there is no political reason or alibi for PKK's contemptible action of seizing Greek embassies. A.F.
 PKK OCCUPATIONS END IN MOST GREEK EMBASSIES
Thessaloniki, February 17 (MPA)Occupations have ended in most of the Greek embassies where PKK protesters had burst in yesterday and took hostages, accusing Greece of complicity in their leader's , Abdullah Ocalan, arrest by Turkey.
Specifically, the embassies at The Hague and Vienna have been freed, along with the diplomats and staff members taken hostage therein. Also, one of two hostages at the Zurich embassy has been freed.
Meanwhile, a number of Kurds gathered outside Greece's embassy in Nicosia and declared a hunger strike late yesterday night. A.F.
 WESTERN GOVERNMENTS REQUEST A FAIR TRIAL FOR OCALAN
Thessaloniki, February 17 (MPA)A number of European states have now expressed their interest in the fate of PKK's leader Abdullah Ocalan and request that Turkey grant him a fair trial.
Turkish Premier Bulent Ecevit stated that no European country has the right to admonish or advise Turkey on this matter.
Meanwhile, the Turkish state security court has called for the death penalty, charging Mr. Ocalan with treason. According to reports, Mr. Ocalan's defense counsel were barred from seeing their client yesterday. A.F.
 MOST GREEK EMBASSIES IN EUROPE FREED, IN AUSTRALIA TOO
Thessaloniki, February 17 (MPA)A great number of Greek embassies and consulates in various European cities that were being occupied by protesting Kurds yesterday have been released, namely, the embassies in Vienna, Bonn, Moscow, Brussels, Copenhagen and Stockholm, as well as the consulates in Frankfurt, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Paris, Marseilles, Strasbourg and Stuttgart along with the UN mission in Yerevan.
Also, the Greek consulates embassies in Australia's Melbourne and Sydney were freed after local police raided the premises. Five Australian police officers were wounded during the raid operations.
The embassies of Sidney and Bonn and the consulates of Frankfurt, Berlin and Dusseldorf will remain closed for a small number of days due to extensive material damages. A.F.
 GREEK FM: EUROPE BEARS RESPONSIBILITY IN THE OCALAN MATTER
Athens, February 17 (MPA)Greece's Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos gave a "head-on" response to the criticism issued by the leader of the main opposition Party, New Democracy's Kostas Karamanlis, on the government handling of the Ocalan case.
Specifically, Mr. Pangalos made clear insinuations as to Italy's role in the matter, as Mr. Ocalan had requested political asylum from Rome, as well as to other countries, such as Germany and the Netherlands, the latter being Mr. Ocalan's actual destination.
Mr. Pangalos said that the PKK leader had been given "temporary residence for humanitarian reasons" at the Greek ambassador's residence in Kenya.
"But at his own responsibility and initiative, and despite the Greek advice to the contrary, he tried to go to the Netherlands," the Greek minister said.
He added that en route from the ambassador's house to the airport, which was followed by Greek embassy cars, Mr. Ocalan's car "deviated from the route, and the embassy cars lost visual contact" with the vehicle. A.F.
 UN OFFICES IN GENEVA UNDER SIEGE BY KURDS
United Nations, February 17 (MPA)A group of about 25 Kurdish demonstrators used a fake delivery vehicle to enter United Nations offices in Geneva early Tuesday morning, according to UN spokesman. Fred Eckhard.
Mr. Eckhard said that the group got through the gate at approximately 4:30 a.m., Geneva time, broke open the main entrance of the Palais des Nations building, and then moved quickly to one of the main conference rooms in the New Building.
The head of UN security in Geneva was trying to persuade the Kurdish protesters to leave the building as about 100 other Kurds demonstrated outside, the spokesman said. A.F.
 WASHINGTON POST: FBI GAVE AWAY OCALAN'S WHEREABOUTS
Washington, February 17 (MPA)Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, stationed in Nairobi, Kenya, informed the Turkish authorities of the whereabouts of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, according to the US daily "Washington Post".
According to the article, which quotes Turkish officials, Mr. Ocalan was traced through his mobile phone which he made use of without taking precautions. A.F.
 U.S. DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN OCALAN'S APPREHENSION, TRANSFER
Washington, February 17 (MPA)US State Department spokesperson James Foley has categorically denied that Washington had any involvement in the apprehension or transfer of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan to Turkey.
In the regular briefing session yesterday, Mr. Foley stated that while the United States has designated the PKK as a terrorist organization, it "did not apprehend or transfer Ocalan or transport him to Turkey."
He added that Mr. Ocalan should be brought to justice in a manner consistent with international standards of due process for the terrorist crimes of which he is accused. A.F.
 OCALAN IS IN ISOLATION OUTSIDE IZMIR, ACCORDING TO REPORTS
Ankara, February 17 (MPA)The PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is confined in isolation by the Turkish authorities at an unknown location outside the city of Izmir, according to reports.
Meanwhile, United Nations officials have expressed fears that Mr. Ocalan will be subject to torture. A.F.
 OCALAN'S TRANSFER WAS CONDUCTED BY KENYA, ACCORDING TO U.S.
Washington, February 17 (MPA)The United States have stated that the transfer of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan to Turkey was conducted by the Kenyan authorities.
On a similar note, Turkey's Bulent Ecevit stated that Greece had no involvement whatsoever in the transfer operation. A.F.
 OCALAN ISSUE: OPPOSITION CRITICAL OF GOVERNMENT'S HANDLING
Thessaloniki, February 17 (MPA)During a heated parliamentary session last night, the leader of the main opposition New Democracy (ND) party Kostas Karamanlis criticized the government's handling of the Ocalan issue, describing it as "bizarre and dangerous".
Mr. Karamanlis stated that the government could have acknowledged the presence of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in Greece and to handle the matter publicly and within the venues of the European Union.
The secretary-general of the Communist Party of Greece accused the government of "handing over" Mr. Ocalan, the President of the Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) Nikos Konstantopoulos said that the "dramatic developments constitute a disgrace for Europe and Greece," while the President of the Democratic Social Movement Dimitris Tsovolas accused the government of collaborating with the United States.
Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos responded that the Kenyan government is responsible for whatever happened to Mr. Ocalan after his departure from the Greek ambassador's residence in Nairobi and added that the Greek government acted within its powers to protect the PKK leader's life and the country's interests. A.F.
 DUTCH FINANCE MINISTER TO ARRIVE IN ATHENS TOMORROW
Athens, February 17 (MPA)The Netherlands' Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm is to visit Athens tomorrow where he will be received by his Greek counterpart Yiannos Papantoniou with whom he will discuss Agenda 2000 issues. .
The Royal Netherlands embassy in Athens, in cooperation with the Hellenic-Dutch Association of Commerce and Industry, will host a business meeting tomorrow evening at the Athens Hilton. A.F.
 US CONGRESSMEN TO VISIT GREECE TOMORROW
Washington, February 17 (MPA)A 12-member delegation of U.S. Congressmen will visit Greece tomorrow, 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, in addition to Greece, will also visit Belgium, France, Cyprus and Turkey.
The Athens talks are expected to focus on the security situation in the eastern Mediterranean, relations between Greece and Turkey and prospects for a resolution of the Cyprus issue. A.F.
 HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH APPEALS FOR A FAIR TRIAL OF OCALAN
Ankara, February 17 (MPA)The Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization has appealed that a fair trial be granted to PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan who was abducted yesterday in Kenya and transported to Turkey where he will be tried for treason.
According to the French news agency AFP, HRW has forwarded a letter to Turkish Premier Bulent Ecevit wherein it supports that Mr. Ocalan should be tried on the charges brought against him, but the trial should adhere to due process and abide by international standards.
Moreover, the HRW announced that it intends to dispatch an observer at the trial and has expressed its concern over the death penalty faced by Ocalan in Turkey. A.F.
 GREECE'S ALTERNATE FM THANKS AUSTRIAN AUTHORITIES
Vienna, February 17 (MPA)Greece's alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, who accompanied the President of the Hellenic Republic Kostis Stephanopoulos during his visit to Austria, publicly expressed his gratitude towards the Austrian authorities for the manner with which they handled the occupation of the Greek embassy in Vienna by Kurdish protesters.
Mr. Stephanopoulos is returning to Athens today, having canceled a non-official portion of his stay in Austria.
Meanwhile the Kurdish protesters abandoned the embassy after midnight last night, following negotiations carried out with the Austrian police authorities. They were unarmed and caused no damages.
President Stephanopoulos appealed to his Austrian counterpart Thomas Klestil, as well as Austria's Minister of Justice, that the Kurds not be brought to trial in case they departed from the Ministry and freed the hostages, which they did. A.F.
 GREECE'S AGRICULTURE MINISTER IN BRUSSELS
Brussels, February 17 (MPA)Greece's Agriculture Minister George Anomeritis is presently in Brussels where he will embark on a series of contacts related to Agenda 2000, in light of the imminent EU Council of Agriculture Ministers.
Mr. Anomeritis will meet with the European Commissioner for Agriculture and his German counterpart.
The Greek state aims at minimizing consequences borne by Agenda 2000 on Greece's agricultural economy. A.F.
 ALBANIA: SECURITY PUMPED UP AT GREEK, TURKISH EMBASSIES
Tirana, February 17 (MPA)Draconian security measures have been drawn at the Greek and Turkish embassies in Tirana, following yesterday's occupations of Greek embassies throughout Europe by Kurdish protesters.
Also, according to police sources, added security measures have also been taken at the Greek consulates of Koritsa and Gjirocaster. A.F.