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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 99-02-17

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 17, 1999

SECTIONS

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

  • NEWS HEADLINES

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

  • [01] GREEK PREMIER ISSUES STATEMENT ON OCALAN ISSUE
  • [02] PKK OCCUPATIONS END IN MOST GREEK EMBASSIES
  • [03] WESTERN GOVERNMENTS REQUEST A FAIR TRIAL FOR OCALAN
  • [04] MOST GREEK EMBASSIES IN EUROPE FREED, IN AUSTRALIA TOO
  • [05] GREEK FM: EUROPE BEARS RESPONSIBILITY IN THE OCALAN MATTER
  • [06] OCALAN ISSUE: OPPOSITION CRITICAL OF GOVERNMENT'S HANDLING
  • [07] DUTCH FINANCE MINISTER TO ARRIVE IN ATHENS TOMORROW
  • [08] US CONGRESSMEN TO VISIT GREECE TOMORROW
  • [09] EFFORTS ARE UNDERWAY TO SAVE OCALAN'S FOUR ASSOCIATES
  • [10] THE GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN BACKED THE FOREIGN MINISTER ON THE OCALAN AFFAIR
  • [11] GREECE IS TOO SMALL FOR SUCH A DISHONESTY
  • [12] ONLY TWO GREEK EMBASSIES REMAIN UNDER OCCUPATION BY THE KURDS INTERNATIONAL NEWS
  • [13] UN OFFICES IN GENEVA UNDER SIEGE BY KURDS
  • [14] WASHINGTON POST: FBI GAVE AWAY OCALAN'S WHEREABOUTS
  • [15] U.S. DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN OCALAN'S APPREHENSION, TRANSFER
  • [16] OCALAN IS IN ISOLATION OUTSIDE IZMIR, ACCORDING TO REPORTS
  • [17] OCALAN'S TRANSFER WAS CONDUCTED BY KENYA, ACCORDING TO U.S.
  • [18] HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH APPEALS FOR A FAIR TRIAL OF OCALAN
  • [19] GREECE'S ALTERNATE FM THANKS AUSTRIAN AUTHORITIES
  • [20] GREECE'S AGRICULTURE MINISTER IN BRUSSELS
  • [21] ALBANIA: SECURITY PUMPED UP AT GREEK, TURKISH EMBASSIES
  • [22] THREE KURDISH DEMONSTRATORS WERE KILLED IN BERLIN
  • [23] THE TURKISH TELEVISION SHOWED A VIDEO WITH OCALAN ON BOARD THE PLANE THAT TOOK HIM TO TURKEY
  • [24] THE EURO-PARLIAMENT FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE ISSUED A STATEMENT ON THE OCALAN CASE
  • [25] NO OFFICIAL STATEMENT BY THE UN ON THE OCALAN AFFAIR
  • [26] THE TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTRY STATED THAT INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED IN THE OCALAN TRIAL
  • [27] MILOSEVIC IS AGAINST THE DEPLOYMENT OF A MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE IN KOSSOVO

  • NEWS IN DETAIL

    [A] NATIONAL NEWS

    [01] GREEK PREMIER ISSUES STATEMENT ON OCALAN ISSUE

    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.

    [02] PKK OCCUPATIONS END IN MOST GREEK EMBASSIES

    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.

    [03] WESTERN GOVERNMENTS REQUEST A FAIR TRIAL FOR OCALAN

    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.

    [04] MOST GREEK EMBASSIES IN EUROPE FREED, IN AUSTRALIA TOO

    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.

    [05] GREEK FM: EUROPE BEARS RESPONSIBILITY IN THE OCALAN MATTER

    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.

    [06] OCALAN ISSUE: OPPOSITION CRITICAL OF GOVERNMENT'S HANDLING

    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.

    [07] DUTCH FINANCE MINISTER TO ARRIVE IN ATHENS TOMORROW

    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.

    [08] US CONGRESSMEN TO VISIT GREECE TOMORROW

    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.

    [09] EFFORTS ARE UNDERWAY TO SAVE OCALAN'S FOUR ASSOCIATES

    Efforts are being made in Nairobi to save the four associates of Ocalan who had accompanied him to Kenya.

    According to information, one of them has already left for Sweden after the intervention of the Swedish ambassador to Kenya, while the rest of them request to be taken to Belgium and Greece.

    The Greek foreign ministry gave assurances that for as long as they are on Greek embassy grounds they face no threat whatsoever. The information on the imminent arrest of Ocalan's associates, who would have been taken to Turkey, came from right- wing main opposition party of New Democracy honorary president Konstantinos Mitsotakis, who informed the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs and defense on the matter this morning.

    [10] THE GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN BACKED THE FOREIGN MINISTER ON THE OCALAN AFFAIR

    Greek government spokesman Dimitris Reppas stated that there is not a question of resignation by foreign minister Theodoros Pangalos or National Information Service chief Mr. Stavrakakis. Mr. Reppas said that Mr. Pangalos is and he will continue to be the Greek foreign minister backing him fully on his handling of the Ocalan affair. Mr.Reppas said that Mr. Pangalos exercises his duties responsibly taking under consideration the national interests.

    On the issue that has been created and the fact that the Kurdish leader has ended up in the hands of the Turkish authorities, Mr. Reppas said that Mr. Pangalos handled a problem that was not created by the Greek government, adding that it is sad that the government is being accused by certain individuals who have contributed to the problem. He also reiterated that the foreign minister implemented the Greek government's policy.

    Mr. Reppas said that the position of Greece was to avoid to be involved in the Kurdish issue. The political responsibility of what happened belongs to those who encouraged Ocalan and his associates to have illusions that led to the known result, stressing that it is unfair to criticize the Greek government for its handling of the situation.

    On Ocalan's associates who stayed in Kenya, Mr. Reppas gave the following picture. He said that they have travel papers from different countries. Some of them are still in Kenya and others are not, adding that they are not held prisoners in the Greek embassy in Nairobi and efforts are being made to reach their destination with the travel documents they have, while there has been no request for their surrender by the government of Kenya. Mr. Reppas said that the Greek ambassador to Kenya is expected back to Athens in the following days and the case will be discussed in greater detail.

    Mr. Reppas pointed out that the Greek government is not satisfied with the developments because Ocalan is in the hands of Turkey. He said that there are reservations on whether Ankara will secure for him a fair trial and for this purpose Greece has asked for the necessary guarantees, stressing that it is very positive the fact that the same positions are being expressed by many European Union countries as well.

    Meanwhile, Greek deputy foreign minister Giorgos Papandreou will raise the issue in the EU General Affairs Council that will meet on Monday.

    [11] GREECE IS TOO SMALL FOR SUCH A DISHONESTY

    Greece is too small to do such a dishonesty, stated president Kostis Stephanopoulos, who returned to Athens from Austria where he was on a formal visit.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos also stressed that it is impossible for him to accept that Greece has turned Ocalan over to Turkey and added that the fact that foreign mass media blamed Greece for the arrest of the Kurdish leader made him extremely unhappy.

    President Stephanopoulos stated that the Greek people can not accept that Greece has surrendered Ocalan and added that he is not aware if errors were made in the handling of the situation, stressing that no one can dispute the fact that in a difficult situation mistakes can be made.

    Mr. Stephanopoulos also said that for as long as this misunderstanding with the Turks continues it is natural for the Kurds to blame Greece for what happened, adding that this misunderstanding should be resolved not only for the sake of Greece's relations with the Kurds but in order for Greece's name to be restored.

    [12] ONLY TWO GREEK EMBASSIES REMAIN UNDER OCCUPATION BY THE KURDS

    The meeting of the parliamentary committee of foreign affairs and defense, which was held to discuss the Ocalan affair, was interrupted this morning when right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy honorary president Konstantinos Mitsotakis gave the information that the four associates of Ocalan, who are still in the residence of the Greek ambassador in Nairobi, will be arrested by Kenyan officials within the next 3 hours and they will be taken to Turkey.

    According to information, a Turkish plane is already in Nairobi to take to Turkey the associates of Ocalan who had accompanied him to Kenya. They are three women and a man, who is the only one with the option to escape through a foreign embassy, while for the three women the Kenyan government exerts pressures to be handed over to it in order to deport them to Turkey.

    Meanwhile, only the Greek embassies in London and Bern are still under the occupation of protesting Kurds.

    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    [13] UN OFFICES IN GENEVA UNDER SIEGE BY KURDS

    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.

    [14] WASHINGTON POST: FBI GAVE AWAY OCALAN'S WHEREABOUTS

    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.

    [15] U.S. DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN OCALAN'S APPREHENSION, TRANSFER

    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.

    [16] OCALAN IS IN ISOLATION OUTSIDE IZMIR, ACCORDING TO REPORTS

    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.

    [17] OCALAN'S TRANSFER WAS CONDUCTED BY KENYA, ACCORDING TO U.S.

    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.

    [18] HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH APPEALS FOR A FAIR TRIAL OF OCALAN

    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.

    [19] GREECE'S ALTERNATE FM THANKS AUSTRIAN AUTHORITIES

    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.

    [20] GREECE'S AGRICULTURE MINISTER IN BRUSSELS

    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.

    [21] ALBANIA: SECURITY PUMPED UP AT GREEK, TURKISH EMBASSIES

    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.

    [22] THREE KURDISH DEMONSTRATORS WERE KILLED IN BERLIN

    Three Kurdish protesters were killed and 14 people were injured among them a German police officer, when shots were fired during a demonstration outside the Israeli consulate in Berlin. The bloody incident occurred when the demonstrators tried to force their way in the consulate building.

    The demonstration was held against Israel as the Kurds accuse the Israeli secret service Mossad of involvement in the plan for the abduction of Ocalan. The fact that among the injured is a German police officer leads to the conclusion that the shots were fired by the Israeli consulate guards.

    Meanwhile, 30 Kurds occupied the SDP offices in Hamburg earlier this afternoon.

    The Kurds continue to occupy the Greek embassies in London, Bern and Zurich while all the hostages have been freed and 25 Kurds are still in the conference hall of the UN building in Zurich.

    [23] THE TURKISH TELEVISION SHOWED A VIDEO WITH OCALAN ON BOARD THE PLANE THAT TOOK HIM TO TURKEY

    The Turkish television showed a video with Ocalan taped while he was on board the plane taking him to Turkey.

    The Kurdish leader was visibly shaken, he was handcuffed and apparently he had been mistreated.

    Turkish prime minister Bulent Ecevit in an interview with the US television channel CNN confirmed that Ocalan is being held and interrogated at Imrali island in the Sea of Marmara and stated that he does not know when his trial will start. However, he pointed out that it is certain that the trial will not last long as the crimes of which he is accused are known.

    Responding to a question on Turkey's refusal to allow Ocalan's three European lawyers and international observers to enter the country, the Turkish prime minister stated that the Kurdish leader will be represented by Turkish lawyers because the foreign lawyers are not familiar with the Turkish legal system.

    Referring to the issue of the death penalty, he stated that many are those who want it to be abolished but it is the Turkish public opinion that reacts to such a likelihood.

    [24] THE EURO-PARLIAMENT FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE ISSUED A STATEMENT ON THE OCALAN CASE

    The Euro-Parliament foreign affairs committee issued a statement on the Ocalan case at noon today in the form of a directive addressed to the joint EU-Turkey parliamentary committee.

    The Euro-Parliament committee calls on Turkey not to use the death penalty, while at the same time requests guarantees from Ankara that human rights will be respected and asks for assurances that he will have a fair trial based on international law and the democratic principles.

    [25] NO OFFICIAL STATEMENT BY THE UN ON THE OCALAN AFFAIR

    UN secretary-general deputy spokesman Manuel De Almeira stated that there is no official statement by the United Nations on the issue of the arrest of Ocalan as no details are available on what happened.

    Referring to the mobilizations of the Kurds, Mr. Almeira stated that about 25 Kurds stormed the UN building in Geneva at 4pm and their occupation of a conference hall continues. The building has been evacuated and appeals are being made to the Kurds to leave peacefully. About 100 Kurds demonstrated outside the building in a show of support to Ocalan.

    Responding to the question if there were demands made by the Kurds to the UN in Geneva, Mr. Almeira stressed that leaflets have been distributed to the UN personnel.

    [26] THE TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTRY STATED THAT INTERNATIONAL OBSERVERS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED IN THE OCALAN TRIAL

    Turkey rejected European calls to allow international observers in the trial of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan.

    Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Sermet Atancanli stated that it is impossible for Turkey to accept actions from outside the country which might be an intervention in the Turkish judicial process, adding that for this reason the presence of international observers can not be allowed.

    [27] MILOSEVIC IS AGAINST THE DEPLOYMENT OF A MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE IN KOSSOVO

    Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic reiterated that he is against the deployment of a multi-national force in Kossovo based on the proposal made during the peace talks currently underway in Rambouillet, France.

    NATO reiterated the threat of air strikes against Serb targets if no agreement is reached by Saturday.


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