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Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 99-02-23
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 23, 1999
NEWS IN DETAIL
 THOUSANDS OF EUROPEAN FARMERS PROTEST MEASURES
Brussels, February 23 (MPA)Thousands of farmers throughout the European Union's member-states, Greece included, participated in the sector's biggest demonstration in the past 25 years yesterday when they gathered in Brussels to protest the EU's plans to reform agricultural subsidy programs.
The protesters, defying extremely adverse weather conditions, clashed with Belgian police who doused them with water cannons when they tried to enter the EU's headquarters. There were no victims.
The rally coincided with the start of an EU agriculture ministers meeting on how to cut guaranteed farm prices by as much as 30 percent.
According to organizers, about 40,000 farmers took part in the three-mile march across Brussels, with the biggest delegations coming from Germany and France, although police estimated the crowd at just below 30,000. A.F.
 GREEK FM ON WHY GREECE DIDN'T INFORM EU ON OCALAN'S ASYLUM REQUEST
Luxembourg, February 23 (MPA)Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou, addressing the European Union's Foreign Ministers Council yesterday referred to the Ocalan case and Greece's role in the whole matter, by stating that "Greece, like many other European Union countries, could not accept extending political asylum to Abdullah Ocalan but attempted for primarily humanitarian reasons, to assist him in finding refuge."
The Foreign Minister further added that "this attempt failed, but Prime Minister Kostas Simitis has ordered that any criminal responsibilities in this affair be investigated."
Greece did not inform its EU partners about the fact that Mr. Ocalan had requested refuge from Greece since the European Union proved not to be in a position to take a joint stand on the issue, Mr. Papandreou added.
Mr. Papandreou also told his counterparts that the Kurdish issue is not a dispute between Greece and Turkey, but an issue that involves the fundamental principles of international law, especially the protection of human rights and the rights of minorities. A.F.
 GOVERNMENT COUNCIL FOR DEFENSE CONVENES TODAY
Athens, February 23 (MPA)The Government Council for Defense (KYSEA) is to hold an extraordinary meeting this afternoon, chaired by the Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, in order to discuss the Ocalan case and its aftermath.
Meanwhile, Turkey has embarked on an organized campaign to smear Greece and its foreign policy tactics. Turkish President Suleiman Demirel claimed that Greece should rank among those countries which support terrorism, while Turkish daily "Hurriyet" has reported that Mr. Ocalan has supposedly confessed to his interrogators that Greece supports the PKK rebels by providing them with arms and military training.
Greek government spokesperson Dimitris Reppas said that this propaganda was expected and added that it falls on dead water. A.F.
 FM PAPANDREOU SATISFIED WITH EU'S STATEMENT ON TURKEY
Strasbourg, February 23 (MPA)Greece's Foreign Minister George Papandreou has stated that he is fully satisfied with the content of the statement issued by the EU allies concerning the Kurdish issue and PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan's imminent trial.
The statement calls on Turkey to take all the necessary measures so as to ensure Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan's trial is conducted on the basis of the rule of law, with Ocalan receiving access to legal counsel of his choice and with international observers admitted to the trial. A.F.
 WHITE HOUSE SPOKESPERSON ON OCALAN CASE
Washington, February 23 (MPA)A White House spokesperson stated that the Ocalan affair grants Turkey with the opportunity to conduct an open and transparent trial.
James Lockhart stated "we believe that the trial offers a chance to Turkey to show to the European community and the rest of the world that it can provide the legal process in an open and transparent trial. We think that this is an opportunity and our hope is that they (the Turks) will do it."
Dismissing reports on U.S. involvement in the capture of Mr. Ocalan, Mr. Lockhart said he was unaware of attacks by the Turkish press against Greece. A.F.
 KOSOVO TALKS DEADLINE LOOMING AHEAD
Rambouillet, February 23 (MPA)With an imminent deadline before them, Serbs and ethnic Albanians from Kosovo are expected to reach a deal designed to end the conflict, during the tail end of talks presently held in Rambouillet, France.
As of last night, NATO general Wesley Clark is also taking part in the negotiations, attempting to convince the Albanian side to accept the offered agreement, one that would shift the burden on the Serb side which is being threatened with air strikes by the Alliance. A.F.
 PREMIER: PARTY CONGRESS TO BE HELD AS PLANNED IN MARCH
Athens, February 23 (MPA)While the Ocalan Affair continues to reverberate throughout Greece's ruling PASOK party, Prime Minister and party president Kostas Simitis has rejected recommendations that the PASOK congress, scheduled for March, be postponed.
Mr. Simitis has made it clear that the congress will take place as planned and has stated that the latest developments surrounding the Ocalan case provide an opportunity to secure the party's unity.
Meanwhile, National Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos, who had asked that the congress be held after the European Parliament elections, to be held in June, has not yet stated what his stance will be. A.F.
 GREEK INVESTMENTS IN BULGARIA ON THE RISE
Sofia, February 23 (MPA)The chairman of the Trade and Industry Chamber of Serres, a city in northern Greece, has told Bulgarian press that Greek companies aspire to constitute Bulgaria's largest investor, during a meeting held recently at Sofia's Chamber of Commerce.
Twenty-one Greek ventures were represented at the talks, spanning the sectors of food, metal, insurance, etc. And the Greek businessmen expressed their interest to participate in Bulgaria's privatization process.
Presently, Greece ranks fourth among Bulgaria's investors.
Northern Greece's chambers are interested in opening branch offices in Bulgaria in order to assist Greek investors active in that country. A.F.
 GERMANY READY TO DISPATCH 5,500 PEACEKEEPERS IN KOSOVO
Bonn, February 23 (MPA)German Defense Minister Rudolph Scharping has stated that his country is ready to send 5,500 troops to the international force that will monitor the Kosovo accord, once it is signed in Rambouillet, France.
Mr. Scharping also stated that if the talks fail, then German military servicemen will take part in NATO's operation in the region. A.F.
 NATO FORCES WILL REPORTEDLY TRAVEL THROUGH GREECE
Thessaloniki, February 23 (MPA)The ports of Thessaloniki, northern Greece, and Litochoro, central Greece, have reportedly been selected by NATO for the transport of its troops to Kosovo, with part of the dispatch taking place as early as this afternoon, when the deadline for agreement at the Rambouillet-held talks expires.
According to local press reports, three NATO ships carrying 4,000 Kosovo-bound troops are expected to moor at the port of Litochoro today.
While NATO ships are already anchored at the port of Thessaloniki, whose troops have moved on to Skopje, the force's main body, estimated at 50,000 troops, has yet to arrive. A.F.
 ALTERNATE FM MEETS WITH ALBANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER
Athens, February 23 (MPA)Albania's Foreign Minister Paskal Milo was received by Greece's alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis on Sunday with whom he discussed the latest developments in the Kosovo crisis in light of the Rambouillet negotiations, as well Greek-Albanian bilateral relations.
Both men confirmed the excellent level of those relations, which they said was proved by the close contact and cooperation between the two governments.
Mr. Milo said Tirana was examining the renewal of the Greek military force's (ELDAL-2) term in Albania, which expires next month.
Mr. Milo reiterated Albania's positions on the situation in Kosovo, stressing that the Kosovo Albanians were now more prepared to accept the agreement than the Serb side, since they desired the presence of an international peacekeeping force in Kosovo.
Mr. Kranidiotis stressed the critical nature of the situation, warning that time was running out. A.F.
 OCALAN FACES HIGH TREASON CHARGES, TO BE TRIED IN GLASS CAGE
Ankara, February 23 (MPA)The Turkish government has brought charges of high treason against PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is to be kept in a glass cage during the course of his trial, according to Turkish television reports.
Meanwhile, his Germany attorney has appealed to the European Union that it assign observers during the "mock- trial", as she dubbed the process.
According to Ankara daily "Hurriyet", the interrogation process is to be completed in four-to-five days and his trial will begin in April.
Turkish Premier Bulent Ecevit stated that Mr. Ocalan is having health problems, while press reports have said that he is suffering from heart ailments. A.F.
 GREEK FM OFFICIAL IN NAIROBI TO FACILITATE PKK MEMBERS
Nairobi, February 23 (MPA)A high-ranking, non-political official from Greece's Foreign Ministry is to travel to Nairobi today in order to facilitate in the negotiations for the safe return of the officer of Greece's National Information Agency (EYP) Savas Kalederidis and the three PKK members who accompanied Abdullah Ocalan during his travel to Kenya.
Three female aides of Mr. Ocalan remained in the Greek embassy in Nairobi ever since his apprehension a week ago.
According to undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Grigoris Niotis, Greek ambassador George Kostoulas is remaining in the Kenyan capital in order to assist the three women and Mr. Kalederidis. A.F.
 ARMED CONFLICT ERUPTS BETWEEN SERBS AND UCK REBELS
Belgrade, February 23 (MPA)The situation in Kosovo is taking a turn for the worse, with uncertainty over the results of the Rambouillet-held talks between Serbs and Kosovo's Albanians.
According to Russian news agency Itar-Tass, members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) attacked the Serb village of Bukos last night and killed one Serb, while wounding two others.
The Serb-controlled Media Center reported that the police rushed to the village and forced the UCK fighters out, while the incident was reported to the observers of the Organization for Security an Cooperation in Europe. A.F.
 EUROPEAN COURT REVIEWS REQUEST OF TEMPORARY MEASURES AGAINST TURKEY
Strasbourg, February 23 (MPA)The European Commission's committee on torture prevention has published a report outlining nine specific steps that should be taken in order to combat the "indisputable", as it characterized it, reality of torture practices in Turkey, shortly before attorneys representing PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is presently imprisoned at an island in Turkey where he faces charges of high treason, filed a complain to the European Court of Human Rights that Ankara has violated his human rights, his right to liberty and security, his right to a fair trial and his right to protection from torture.
The report outlines the following emergency steps that would ensure a fair trial: 1) to provide the defendant with free access to counsel of his choice 2) to have a lawyer present during all statements made by the accused 3) to allow the defendant to notify family members or next of kin 4) to proceed to regular and unscheduled reviews of interrogation tactics and conditions of incarceration 5) to grant medical tests, by independent physicians, that will aim at preventing acts of torture 6) to denounce places of interrogation that are "terrorist" and dispersed from one end of the country to another, 7) to forbid long-term imprisonment in complete isolation, 8) to be aware that Ankara has already drafted prison plans designed for prisoners who are deemed "dangerous" for the state, with "special holding conditions" 9) to tape and videotape all interrogations conducted by the anti-terrorist team.
Such measures are typically requested when a party faces great harm such as execution or deportation to a hostile country. A.F.