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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 99-02-18
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 18, 1999
NEWS IN DETAIL
 THREE MINISTERS DISMISSED FROM POSTS OVER OCALAN AFFAIR
Athens, February 18 (MPA)Greece's Minister of Foreign Affairs Theodoros Pangalos, Minister of the Interior Alekos Papadopoulos and Minister of Public Order Philippos Petsalnikos have been removed from their posts by Prime Minister Kostas Simitis who asked for their resignation during today's Cabinet and PASOK Political Secretariat meeting.
After the three ministers submitted their resignations, the Premier thanked them for the up-to-date cooperation.
Following the shake-up, government spokesperson Dimitris Reppas said that the government will look into attributing responsibilities to all those who, beyond any sense of responsibility , brought the PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan to Greece.
A press briefing will follow later in the day. A.F.
 PANGALOS: I HANDLED OCALAN CASE THE BEST WAY I COULD
Athens, February 18 (MPA)Greece's Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos, who resigned earlier this morning from his post following the Prime Minister's request, stated that the Ocalan matter was a very difficult case "which I handled in the best way I could.
"It had subjective parameters which were beyond my control and concerned the existing international reactions and Ocalan's own choices," Mr. Pangalos added.
The Minister made the aforementioned statement immediately following his scheduled meeting with Slovakia's Foreign Minister and prior to his departure from the Foreign Ministry.
When asked if, and to what degree, the Premier Kostas Simitis was aware of the handling of the Ocalan case, Mr. Pangalos responded "of course, it was done with his knowledge", while, commending on alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou, he stated that he was not briefed since he was outside the country at the time and added that "it would be best if he didn't speak on matters which he doesn't know."
Regarding the statement made by interior Minister Alekos Papadopoulos (he also resigned) who said that he had made a different recommendation for the handling of the case, Mr. Pangalos stated that at that point there was no one and nothing to handle, and pointed out that there was no difference of opinion.
He further referred to those who brought the PKK leader to Greece and stated that they acted criminally against the nation and are responsible for Mr. Ocalan's present plight.
Mr. Pangalos had one piece of advice for his not-as- of-yet-named successor: "watch your back". A.F.
 OCALAN INCARCERATED AT THE ISLAND OF MARMARA
Ankara, February 18 (MPA)The PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is being incarcerated at the island of Marmara, off the coast of Turkey, according to Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, who also added that the prisoner will soon be tried and will have Turkish counsel.
Meanwhile, a Turkish lawyer representing Mr. Ocalan was arrested last night in Istanbul, according to the French news agency AFP.
At the same time, Turkey's President Suleiman Demirel thanked those involved in Mr. Ocalan's capture operation and called on the county's youth who have "fallen into the traps of terrorism, to seek shelter with the Turkish state's system of justice." A.F.
 GREEK FM: IF OCALAN HAD LISTENED TO US, HE WOULD BE SAFE NOW
Athens, February 18 (MPA)Abdullah Ocalan would be safe now if he had listened to us, stated Greece's Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos during an interview with an Athens daily.
Mr. Pangalos, who was removed from his post by the Prime Minister today, defended his policy and expressed his surprise over certain choices made by the PKK leader.
Moreover, Mr. Pangalos insinuated that the United States secret services traced Mr. Ocalan through is mobile phone. He also referred to Kenya by stating that "that country was a stopover, it was other African countries with which we negotiated for the granting of political asylum (to Mr. Ocalan)." A.F.
 VIDEOTAPE RELEASED OF OCALAN, HANDCUFFED AND WRETCHED
Ankara, February 18 (MPA)A videotape was released yesterday by Turkey, showing the leader of the PKK Abdullah Ocalan handcuffed and wretched, with his eyes taped shut.
The video, which was taken inside the plane transporting Mr. Ocalan to Turkey after his capture in Kenya, is obviously edited; it shows him wincing, responding to his masked captors who politely prompt him to speak and repeatedly ask him if there is anything he needs. The Turkish commandos informed the PKK leader that the tape is rolling.
"You can tape me and broadcast it since you haven't tortured me," Mr. Ocalan said. "I love my country. My mother was a Turk. If there is anything I can do, I will do it. Don't ask me anything else."
Speculation abounds that the PKK leader was drugged during the videotape. A.F.
 DUTCH FINANCE MINISTER ARRIVES IN ATHENS TODAY
Athens, February 18 (MPA)The Netherlands' Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm is to embark on an official visit to Athens today 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.
 DELEGATION OF US CONGRESSMEN ARRIVES IN GREECE TODAY
Washington, February 18 (MPA)A 12-member delegation of U.S. Congressmen is to visit Greece today, 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.
 GREEK PARLIAMENT RATIFIES TREATY OF AMSTERDAM
Athens, February 18 (MPA)The Hellenic Parliament ratified the Amsterdam Treaty with 246 votes in favor, 19 against and nine abstaining, wrapping up a five-day debate.
Deputies from both the ruling PASOK party and the main opposition New Democracy agreed that the Treaty constitutes a step ahead, which should be followed by other moves in the Common Foreign Policy and Defense Policy sectors. A.F.
 KURDISH PROTESTERS STILL OCCUPY GREEK EMBASSY IN LONDON
London, February 18 (MPA)The Greek embassy in London continues to be occupied for as third day, with a clerk being held hostage, by Kurds who are protesting -the capture of their leader Abdullah Ocalan.
The protesters said they have began a hunger strike and were prepared to set themselves on fire if police tried to force them out.
According to London's police Chief Superintendent Anthony Wills, storming the building is not an option the authorities are considering at the moment.
The hostage, Haralabos Patsouris, is reportedly well, albeit anxious to go home. A.F.
 EURODEPUTIES DELEGATION TRAVELS TO TURKEY
Athens, February 18 (MPA)A delegation of European Parliament deputies is to travel to Istanbul today, in order to present a 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.
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. A.F.
 CHRISTODOULOS: I DON'T BELIEVE WE HANDED A MAN OVER TO THE ENEMY
Athens, February 18 (MPA)The Archbishop of Athens and All of Greece Christodoulos stated that he doesn't believe Greece "handed a man over to the enemy", referring to PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan who was captured in Kenya by Turkish commandos.
Following his meeting with the Minister of National Defense Akis Tsochatzopoulos, the Archbishop also stated that if things happened just as a section of the press reports, "then this is really a strike against our credibility, tradition and human rights." A.F.
 ALBANIAN PREMIER SPEAKS TO THE MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY
Tirana, February 18 (MPA)Albanian's Prime Minister Paskal Milo told the Macedonian Press Agency that a positive outcome of the Rambouillet talks between Serbs and the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo will be the onstart of a process that would lead to a final closure of the Kosovo issue.
Moreover, Mr. Milo told the MPA that his country will view Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic as the main party responsible should the talks fail, and stressed that Albania will accept the international community's resolutions and choices.
The Albanian premier views the presence of NATO in Kosovo as a fait accompli, since NATO in Kosovo would serve as a warranty not only for the enforcement of a potential Rambouillet agreement, but also as a means that would ensure peace and stability in the region throughout. A.F.
 MACEDONIA-THRACE JOURNALISTS UNION ISSUES APPEAL OVER OCALAN
Thessaloniki, February 18 (MPA)The Journalists' Union of Daily Newspapers of Macedonia and Thrace has issued an announcement concerning the recent capture of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan by Turkish commandos, wherein it expressed the concern that his life could be in danger, and that he will not be afforded a fair trial.
The announcement was forwarded to the International Journalists' Federation, prompting it to demonstrate its concern for the maintenance of fundamental humanitarian principles and for the respect of democratic and human rights, especially in the Ocalan case and, overall, the plight of the Kurdish people.
It was also sent to international organizations and the United Nations, calling on them to declare "that the observance of these fundamental principles is the very least demand the world has of Turkey", and to journalists of Turkey and their unions, urging them to honor their profession by surrounding Ocalan's fate with publicity and maintaining a constant and unwavering focus on this case.
"We believe that the leadership of Turkey itself should also receive this message, as it now stands before the opportunity to prove that it does not succumb to revengeful impulses but, rather, it opts to serve those humanitarian principles which befit civilized countries," the announcement also read. A.F.
 PAPANDREOU: RECENT EVENTS HAVE COMPROMISED NATIONAL PRIDE
Bonn, February 18 (MPA)Greece's alternate Foreign Minister George Papandreou has issued a written statement wherein he challenges all those involved in the Ocalan case to undertake their responsibilities publicly, a move that has been construed as a call for the resignation of Foreign Minister Theodoros Pangalos.
Moreover, Mr. Papandreou asked that the National Council of Foreign Policy be convened and stressed that the recent turn of events have compromised the country's authority and undermined the hospitable Greek people's sense of dignity and pride. A.F.
 MERRIL LYNCH: OCALAN AFFAIR WILL NOT HURT GREEK MARKET
Thessaloniki, February 18 (MPA)Greek markets are not expected to be negatively swayed by the Ocalan case that has rocked the country's political world, according to Merril Lynch, which does not forecast any substantial or long-term effect in the economy.
Moreover, the financial organization advises that any temporary "weakness" in the national currency's parity should be seized as an opportunity by investors, as the state's economy continues its "upward climb" in light of the Economic and Monetary Union convergence. A.F.