|Monday, 20 January 2020|
Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in Engish, 99-02-26
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 26, 1999
NEWS IN DETAIL
 GREEK PREMIER'S LETTER TO HIS EUROPEAN UNION COUNTERPARTS
Athens, February 26 (MPA)Greece's Prime Minister Kostas Simitis forwarded a letter to his European Union counterparts, wherein he refers to the Ocalan case, and Greece's involvement, and the Kurdish issue.
"The Ocalan matter is an issue which the European Union is obliged to deal with in a humanitarian spirit and above all with respect for human rights," the letter says.
"Abdullah Ocalan, after he failed to secure refuge in another country, illegally entered Greece. This occurred despite the fact that my government had clearly underlined that for many important reasons our country was not the most appropriate to extend him political asylum. Extending political asylum, due to the nature of Greek-Turkish relations, would have transformed the Ocalan matter into an additional Greek-Turkish dispute.
"The government, faced with the fact of the illegal presence of Mr. Ocalan on Greek territory, had no other option but to help him leave Greece for a country which could give him political asylum, in accordance with the established process and rules of international law. For this reason, Greece undertook great efforts under extremely adverse conditions.
"Unfortunately, our efforts failed. As everybody knows, Ocalan was arrested under as yet undetermined and legally dubious circumstances. To my great regret, Greece was not able to promptly inform its partners in the European Union in relation to these developments, due to the extremely sensitive nature of the entire matter and the declared reluctance of certain member- states to involve the Union in this issue.
"It is nevertheless my steadfast conviction that the European Union should have already dealt with this issue, from the first moment that Mr. Ocalan entered the Union's territory, in Italy. Political and humanitarian reasons, but also the respect for fundamental human rights, demanded a more decisive stance.
"Today it is an obligation of the European Union to exert its influence to ensure a fair and open trial for Mr. Ocalan. A trial in accordance with the rules of due process, by an independent court, with the ability (for Mr. Ocalan) to choose his own lawyers and, of course, in the presence of international observers. The related declaration adopted by the last EU General Affairs Council is a step in the right direction."
"The EU, while unequivocally condemning all forms of terrorism, must use all the means at its disposal to pursue every initiative designed to assist the Kurdish population in gaining full respect for their fundamental rights and to contribute towards finding a political solution to the Kurdish problem," the Premier concluded in his letter. A.F.
 GREEK PREMIER IN BONN TODAY FOR EU SUMMIT
Bonn, February 26 (MPA)Although discussions are to focus on the Agenda 2000, the European Union Summit, which begins today in Petersberg, is to also address the Ocalan affair and the Kurdish issue.
The Greek Premier forwarded a letter to his EU counterparts, wherein he called on the EU to deal with the Kurdish issue that has arisen in the wake of Turkey's capture of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan in a spirit of "humanitarianism and with respect for human rights."
The European Parliament has ratified a resolution on the Kurdish issue, acknowledging the international dimensions of the matter and pointing out the risks emanating from the problem for the region throughout. A.F.
 INTELLIGENCE SERVICE AGENT TO TESTIFY BEFORE PROSECUTOR
Athens, February 26 (MPA)The National Intelligence Service agent who remained at the Greek embassy in Nairobi along with the three Kurdish women since the PKK leader's apprehension by Turkey ten days ago, arrived in Greece last night and is expected to testify before the Athens prosecutor today on the events leading up to Mr. Ocalan's arrest.
Savvas Kalenderidis, the Greek ambassador to Kenya George Kostoulas and the three Kurds arrived in Greece last night on a chartered Falcon jet after being evacuated from the Greek embassy in Nairobi
The successful evacuation was supervised by Greek foreign ministry secretary general Pavlos Apostolidis, who flew to Kenya on Wednesday night.
Foreign Minister George Papandreou said the operation was a "humanitarian act", in accordance with the permanent principles of Greece and the European Union. A.F.
 GREEK PM GOES TO MILAN ON MONDAY ACCOMPANIED BY PANGALOS
Athens, February 26 (MPA)Prime Mister Kostas Simitis is to travel to Milan on Monday, where he will take part in the European Socialist party's Congress.
The Greek Premier is said to be determined to set forth the Kurdish issue and the Ocalan affair by condemning Turkey's human rights violations and its abhorrent disregard for the European Union's principles and regulations.
According to reports, the Premier is to be accompanied by former foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos, their first joint appearance since the latter was asked by the former to resign last week.
Meanwhile, rumors that Mr. Pangalos is to be assigned as Greece's new EU Commissioner have yet to be confirmed. A.F.
 FOREIGN MINISTER PAPANDREOU ON NAIROBI OPERATION
Athens, February 26 (MPA)Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou expressed his satisfaction over the successful execution of last night's operation to evacuate the three Kurdish women and the Greek Intelligence Service agent from Nairobi.
Mr. Papandreou stated that "the development closes a chapter in our country's efforts with regard to the protection of human rights. Greece will place particular emphasis on this sector, which it considers crucial for stability and peace in the broader region," he said, stressing also that Athens would make every effort for the principles of the rule of law to be applied in Turkey's trial of Ocalan, who is facing high treason charges, punishable by the death penalty.
The Greek Foreign Minister thanked, in particular, the ambassadors of Belgium and Sweden for their assistance, adding that the German presidency of the EU had also shown "sensitivity".
The Swedish consul was present at Nairobi airport, while the Belgian ambassador followed the cars with the four people to the airport.
One of the three Kurdish women holds a Belgian passport, a second possessed Greek political refugee travel documents, while the third had been given assurances that she could be given the same if she so wished. A.F.
 DEFENSE MINISTER: WE HAVEN'T SAID YES TO NATO's ACT IN KOSOVO
Athens, February 26 (MPA)Greece has not given its consent to a military intervention by NATO in Kosovo, according to Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos who reiterated Greece's steady position for a peaceful, political solution to the strife-torn region.
Mr. Tsochatzopoulos further added that Greece will not participate even if the international community authorizes NATO to intervene in Kosovo. Referring to the 1,500 troops who have been transported to Skopje via Thessaloniki, the Defense Minister said that their aim is to ensure the safety of observers assigned to Kosovo. A.F.
 UNITED STATES WARN YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC
Washington, February 26 (MPA)The United States have warned Belgrade that there will be intense military action on behalf on NATO if Slobodan Milosevic orders any attack against the Kosovo Liberation Army.
A Pentagon official stated that the Yugoslav army has transported 4,500 troops to the borders of Kosovo.
NATO secretary-general Javier Solana has confirmed that the Alliance is presently negotiating with Moscow on the possibility of Russian troops participating in a peacekeeping operation in the strife-torn region of Kosovo. A.F.
 FOREIGN ANALYSTS: STRONG ECONOMY, IN SPITE OF CRISIS, IN GREECE
Thessaloniki, February 26 (MPA)In spite of the political crisis reverberating from the Ocalan affair, the Greek economy remains robust, according to foreign analysts.
Credit Suisse First Boston forecasts wide profit opportunities in the Athens Stock Exchange, while it hails the Greek state's bonds where returns are expected to be high as a result of the imminent drop in interest rates.
Credit Suisse analysts forecast that Greece will adhere to its plan to enter the Economic and Monetary Union the year 2000. A.F.
 BLACK SEA TRADE & DEVELOPMENT BANK INAUGURATION IN JUNE
Thessaloniki, February 26 (MPA)The inauguration ceremony of the Black Sea and Trade Development Bank (BSTDB) is expected to take place in June, following the decisions drawn during the Sixth Regular Meeting of the institutions; Board of Directors, held on February 19-20.
The Meeting also approved three major policy documents concerning the BSTDB's financial policies, the rules and regulations for project financing and commercial activities and the bank's portfolio of risk management and investment policies.
The next Board of Directors meeting will take place in Kiev, Ukraine, on April 4 and 5. A.F.
 OCALAN'S ATTORNEYS TO GIVE PRESS CONFERENCE TODAY
Ankara, February 26 (MPA)The attorneys representing PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan are to give a press conference today.
Meanwhile, the President of the Turkish Parliament and former Foreign Mister Hikmet Cetin has accused the European Union of enforcing double standards, as it did not condemn Greece for the aid it granted to Mr. Ocalan. A.F.
 TURKEY CLAIMS OCALAN CONFESSED TO MORE, IMPLICATES SERBIA
Ankara, February 26 (MPA)Turkish press reports, failing to cite sources, claim that Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan has confessed to his prosecutors that Iran, Greece and Serbia are among the countries that have helped PKK in their armed campaign for independence on Turkish territory, according to the French news agency AFP.
The Turkish press reports that members of the HADEP party are being trained at a special camp in Romania and that Yugoslavia is supplying the PKK with arms.
Mr. Ocalan is also said to have stated that there is a hospital in Iran's Orumiyeh which treats injured members of the PKK and that there are schools in Syria where PKK rebels are being trained. A.F.
 MAIN OPPOSITION PARTY LEADER TO TRAVEL TO US IN MARCH
Athens, February 26 (MPA)The leader of the country's main opposition party, New Democracy's Kostas Karamanlis, will conduct his first official visit to the United States during the second week of March.
While in the US, Mr. Karamanlis will be received by US Vice-President Al Gore and US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
During his four-day visit, Mr. Karamanlis will also meet with various US Congressmen, while he is to deliver addresses at several academic institutions and "think tanks".
His itinerary includes visits to other US cities, including Boston, New York and Chicago. A.F.
 INTERNATIONAL WINE CONTEST TO BE HELD IN THESSALONIKI
Thessaloniki, February 26 (MPA)An international wine competition is to be held on March 3-6 in Thessaloniki during Detrop '99, a food and drinks trade fair.
Eligible for entry in the contest, which is organized by the Macedonia Wine Producers Union and state trade fair organizer HELEXPO, are wines that meet the production standards of their country of origin and an international code of practice.
The organizers want to promote quality wines to consumers and distributors and publicize the wine culture of the Mediterranean basin, which, in turn, will aid the industry's growth. Judging the entries will be a committee of wine experts and journalists from Greece and abroad. A.F.