|Monday, 18 November 2019|
Macedonian Press Agency: Brief News in English, 99-02-25
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 25, 1999
NEWS IN DETAIL
 PRIME MINISTER SIMITIS IN BONN FOR EU SUMMIT
Bonn, February 25 (MPA)The leaders of the European Union's member-states are to hold an informal Summit in Bonn today and tomorrow, where they will discuss the Kurdish issue and the Ocalan affair.
Greece will be represented by Premier Kostas Simitis, Foreign Minister George Papandreou and other officials.
Mr. Simitis said he would have bilateral talks with his European Union counterparts at a series of meetings to outline to them the need to enforce the EU's Ocalan- related statement issued on February 22, wherein it calls on Turkey to ensure that the Kurdish leader gets a fair and open trial.
Meanwhile, following eight days of isolated confinement and having been charged with high treason, Mr. Ocalan was allowed to confer with his attorneys yesterday. A.F.
 OCALAN TESTIFIES: I HAD NO CONTACT WITH GREEK OFFICIALS
Ankara, February 25 (MPA)PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, presently held in a high- security, island-prison in Turkey, has reportedly testified before Ankara's state security magistrates that he had no contact with any officials from the Greek government.
According to Ankara's daily "Milliyet", which publishes an article titled "Apo: They used me", Mr. Ocalan testified that the Greek secret services provided him with a significant degree of assistance and that there are two PKK camps in Greece on one of which the rebels are being trained on bombing techniques.
In his 36-page affidavit, the PKK leader is said to have undertaken responsibility for PKK's armed activity, by stating that he directed the organization, without showing remorse for his actions.
According to "Milliyet", Mr. Ocalan stated that the PKK received financial assistance from Syria, Greece, Iran and Germany.
"This assistance was not (given) at a governmental level, neither in cash, but rather it enabled us to gather money and create organizations on the grounds of these countries," he is said to have stated.
Furthermore, Mr. Ocalan is reported by the Turkish daily as having testified that "games are played on Turkey's back" and that he "was used".
Regarding the issue of drug trafficking, Mr. Ocalan denied that the PKK is involved in such practices, only admitting to receiving exaction amounts from the drug traffickers. A.F.
 TALKS CONTINUE TO BRING OCALAN'S FOUR ASSOCIATES TO GREECE
Nairobi, February 25 (MPA)The Greek government is continuing its negotiations with the Kenyan government in order to safely transport Greek Maj. Savvas Kalenterides, who is an officer with the Greek Intelligence Agency, and the three female colleagues of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan -who have barricaded themselves at the Greek embassy in Nairobi- to Greece.
The Foreign Ministry's secretary-general is presently in Nairobi and, according to reports, the Belgian government has also gotten involved in the return operation, as one of the three PKK members has a Belgian passport. A.F.
 UN REFUTES ALLEGATIONS OF PKK REBEL TRAINING IN GREECE
Athens, February 25 (MPA)The assistant director of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Mario Koffman has refuted the Turkish allegations that Kurdish rebels are being trained on Greek ground.
Speaking to an Austrian daily, the UN officials stated that there is an encampment in the region of Lavrio which is nothing more than a civilian refugees reception area which is under the permanent supervision of the Red Cross and the international agency of social aid. A.F.
 PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS REBUFFS TURKISH CLAIMS OF PKK CAMPS
Nicosia, February 25 (MPA)The President of Cyprus Glafkos Clerides stated that the island is not a breeding ground for Kurdish guerillas, denying Ankara's accusations as "totally unfounded."
President Clerides added that there is a United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus which has freedom of movement.
"If such camps existed they would not have escaped UNFICYP's notice," he said, adding that diplomats on the island would easily have discovered the whereabouts of such camps if the allegations were true.
"If European countries wish to send representatives to travel freely throughout Cyprus, they too will establish that the accusations that Turkey has leveled against Cyprus are totally unfounded," he added. A.F.
 FRENCH VESSEL "FOUDRE" IN THESSALONIKI, EN ROUTE TO FYROM
Thessaloniki, February 25 (MPA)The French vessel "Foudre" arrived at the port of Thessaloniki yesterday afternoon, carrying 180 vehicles and 350 troops who are destined for FYROM, where they will be stationed until possible NATO orders to move on to Kosovo.
Also, six British C-130 transport planes landed at Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport carrying troops and vehicles, as well as two French Airbuses carrying 10 vehicles and 140 personnel and an American Tri-Star carrying 225 British troops. A.F.
 DEFENSE MINISTER: THERE IS RISK OF A "WARM" EPISODE IN AEGEAN
Thessaloniki, February 25 (MPA)Greece's Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos has stated that there is a risk of a "warm" episode taking place in the Aegean, citing Turkey's intention to up the ante in the region and Cyprus.
Speaking to reporters, Mr. Tsochatzopoulos stated that the present climate in Greek-Turkish relations is "gloomy".
He also conceded that the outcome of the Ocalan affair served a heavy blow to Greece's ruling PASOK party and the Greek people, while he attributed responsibilities to the government for its handling of the matter and called for a thorough investigation.
Concurrently, the Defense Minister stated that the Ocalan case should not be turned into a matter of "national stress" and saluted the subsequent measures drawn by the government, albeit he stressed that the Premier Kostas Simitis should have kept the political leaders informed.
He reiterated his chagrin at not having been briefed on the matter. A.F.
 GREEK ALTERNATE FM SALUTES INT'L REACTION ON OCALAN'S TRIAL
Athens, February 25 (MPA)Following the announcement by the European Court of Human Rights concerning the imminent trial of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, Greece's alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis has stated that the globalization of the issue is a particularly important development.
"The top judicial organ of the Council of Europe, the new European Court of Human Rights, taking into account the seriousness of claims by Ocalan's lawyers, has decided to ask Turkish authorities clarifications related to the arrest and detention of the Kurdish leader, as well as the speedy provision of information with regard to the possibility of communication with his lawyers," Mr. Kranidiotis stated.
He further added that other statements, issued by the EU Council of Ministers, the external affairs committee of the European Parliament, and the Special United Nations Rappporteur Against Torture, have reminded Turkey of the evident principles for a true democracy which it has to uphold in the specific case, such as a fair and open trial by an independent court, the right to chose one's lawyer, attendance of international observers, non- application of the death penalty, safeguards regarding the physical and psychological integrity of the Kurdish leader and respect for his human dignity.
"Greece will promote at an international level the need for Turkey to respect. Turkey's non-compliance with the requirements of the European legal order and worldwide recognized rules which establish the fundamental right of man and constitute non-negotiable conquests of our modern legal culture, isolates it from the international community," he said. A.F.
 THESSALONIKI PREFECT SPEAKS TO MPA ON OCALAN CASE
Thessaloniki, February 25 (MPA)Thessaloniki's Prefect Kostas Papadopoulos has dismissed as "unworthy of comment" the allegations made by the Turkish government that Greece harbors Kurdish rebels and provides them with training.
Responding to a question posed by the Macedonian Press Agency, concerning Turkish press reports that there are Kurdish military camps in Lavrio, Halkida and Lamia, Mr. Papadopoulos stated that "instead of misleading public opinion, Turkey should take a serious look into the issue of human rights isolations and, albeit late, ask for an apology for the genocides it has committed in the past against the Greeks from Pontus, the Armenians, the Cypriots and now the Kurds."
The Prefect of Thessaloniki further added that "Turkey's military regime should look at the true interests of the Turkish people who deserve to live with dignity in a democratic state." A.F.
 DOCUMENTARY SHOWS GREEK EFFORTS TO SAVE JEWS IN WWII
Washington, February 25 (MPA)The Greek embassy in Washington organized an event for the screening of a documentary titled "It was nothing, It was everything", which recounts the heroic efforts of Greeks to save Greek Jews from the Nazis during WWII.
The event, jointly organized with the American Jewish Committee (AJC), also featured an address given by Greek ambassador Alexandros Filon, who referred to Greece's struggle and sacrifices during WWII.
The screening was attended, among others, by special US State Department coordinator for Cyprus Thomas Miller, and the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ben Gilman. A.F.
 US SECRETARY OF STATE ALBRIGHT STERNLY WARNS MILOSEVIC
Washington, February 25 (MPA)United States Secretary of State Madleine Albright yesterday warned Yugoslavia that it would be making a big mistake if it conducts strikes against Kosovo's ethnic Albanians.
NATO has also stated that it is ready to launch air strikes against Serbia if the need arises.
Ms. Albright referred to evidence held by the US government, according to which, Milosevic is preparing to order the Serb forces on conducting new operations in Kosovo during the spring. A.F.
 BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY SUPPORTS UN RESOLUTIONS ON CYPRUS
London, February 25 (MPA)Britain is working closely with the United Nations, the EU and the United States for a reduction of tension in Cyprus, British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook has stated in a letter to the President of the Federation of UK Cypriots, Haris Sophoclides.
Mr. Cook also said that Britain was working diligently for the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1,218, which calls for tension on the island to be reduced and for an overall Cyprus settlement.
He added that London strongly endorsed resolution 1,218 and was "working closely with the UN, our EU partners and the US to achieve the full implementation of this resolution."
The Foreign Secretary also said that the government's decision not to deploy the S-300 missiles had been "a significant contribution to international efforts, in which Britain plays a prominent part, to reduce tension in the region." A.F.
 JOURNAL OF COMMERCE: GREEK MERCHANT FLEET IS WORLD'S LARGEST
Geneva, February 25 (MPA)Greece held the world's largest shipping power during 1998 with a transport capacity of 123.8 million tons, according to the Journal of Commerce's report from Geneva.
The report, published yesterday, also stated that Greece also holds a 17.6 per cent stake of the international total. A.F.
 SOCIAL DIALOGUE ON TAX REFORMS BEGINS TODAY
Athens, February 25 (MPA)The government is set to embark on the "social dialogue" concerning the planned reforms of the state's taxation system, although the country's largest union, GSEE will not be participating.
National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou has said the government will bring forth 20 proposals for changes aimed at easing the tax burden on low wage earners.
Unions have propose various changes including an inflation-indexed taxation scale, an increase in the threshold for non-taxable income to 2.3 million drachmas for wage and pension earners and additional tax breaks for families with dependents. A.F.
 TUSIAD CHAIRMAN: GREEK-TURKISH TRADE REDUCTION IS TEMPORARY
Thessaloniki, February 25 (MPA)The chairman of the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) Erkut Yucaoglu characterizes the reduction of trade between Greece and Turkey as temporary and has stated that the decision drawn by the Turkish-Hellenic Business Council to sever its trade ties with Greece reflects the sentiment of the Turkish people, not the Turkish state.
In an exclusive interview with the Macedonian Press Agency, Mr. Yucaoglu stressed that businessmen from both countries have been trying for years to establish a positive climate in the Greek-Turkish relations.
"Unfortunately, these efforts were not recognized," he stated, attributing the lack of success to two reasons: first, the fact that Greek businessmen were not able to convey to the Greek government the message given by their Turkish counterparts and, second, that the apprehension of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan revealed the support and protection granted to PKK by Greece.
The TUSIAD chairman further assessed that Greek businessmen did not want publicity granted to their meetings with their Turkish counterparts, which is why, he said, the talks led to nowhere. A.F.