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Macedonian Press Agency: News in English, 2002-07-16

Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article

From: The Macedonian Press Agency at and

MACEDONIAN PRESS AGENCY Thessaloniki, July 16, 2002









    The Greek police are on the trail of Dimitris Koufontinas, in an attempt to unravel the ball of string that is "November 17". He is considered a key man who will lead to the eradication of the organization and the "chief", if caught. The authorities trac ed a warehouse containing apicultural products in the Keratea area, and after an investigation arrested the Albanian guard of the warehouse, helper of the 44-year-old.

    Information mentioned that Koufontinas telephoned the guard in order to give him instructions concerning his beehives. The foreign guard seems to have told the police that he last saw the fugitive in the area a week ago.

    Further information reveals that he was present at the explosion in Piraeus where Savvas Xeros was wounded, while the same source mentioned that Alicia Cortez and Aggeliki Sotiropoulou have entered a witness protection programme.

    The police are now officially searching for Dimitris Koufontinas, as he is the man that rented the hideout on Damareos st. in Pagrati and seems to have had a major role in "November 17". The Greek Police believe that he held a secondary role in the organ ization, acting like a link between the leadership and Savvas Xeros. The 44-year-old's fingerprints were found in the hideout and confirmed the authorities' suspicions that the specific individual is connected to terrorism. The authorities have published three photographs of Koufontinas and have called citizens to give any information they have to the following numbers: 170 and 1964.

    In the meanwhile suspects are still being brought in and statements are still being taken, as the police wants to collect information on other individuals involved with the terrorist organization. The counter-terrorism service is continuing its searches for a third hideout in Athens, after information was found in the other two hideouts pointing in that direction.

    As far as Savvas Xeros is concerned, "Evaggelismos" doctors removed the bandages from his eyes and stated that the post-operation condition of his health is stable. Also, the preliminary examination of Xeros is still in progress and once completed will b e signed by the 40-year-old and delivered to the DA. The DA is waiting for the approval of the doctors to continue taking Xeros' statement.

    A sigh of relief

    The capture of Savvas Xeros and further investigation into N17, is a source of hope for those who have lost loved ones to the organization in the past 27 years. In an interview to the Guardian, the widow of Brigadier Saunders, military attache of the Bri tish Embassy in Athens, murdered by N17, stressed that the prospect of arresting her husband's murderer soon, gives her feelings of "relief, disbelief, and excitement" according to the BBC. "It's not blood I seek in revenge.

    I just want these people deprived of their freedom and taken away from their family and loved ones as I, my two daughters and my mother-in-law were taken away from ours", stated Mrs. Saunders characteristically, speaking from her house in Dorset home in southwest England.

    Intense reactions to cover-up accusations

    Meanwhile intense reactions came from all of Greece's political world, concerning former US Ambassador Thomas Niles and his statements during an interview to the BBC, in which he insinuated possible connections between PAK, PASOK and N17, and that the go vernment did not do all it could to find the terrorists.

    "PASOK, just like the whole Greek people, has been on the front in the battle against terrorism from the founding of our party to this day, and that is something that has been made completely clear", stated candidate Mayor of Athens Christos Papoutsis.

    "This story constantly resurfaces. And because I was a member of various joint, mixed Committees as a EuroMP of the European Parliament and the US Congress, I know what the basis for this discussion is. We know the basis very well. It is the irresponsibi lity of certain political figures and Media spokespersons, who created this atmosphere for many years, trying to connect PASOK to the liberation struggle against the junta with terrorist actions", underlined Mr. Papoutsis.

    He pointed out that a liberation struggle is a very different thing from terrorist and mass terrorist actions and added that: "As far as Mr. Niles and his informants in Greece, or the sources he used in Greece, are concerned, we leave them to be judged b y the Greek people".

    On her side Minister of the Environment, Planning and Public Works Vaso Papandreou, commenting on Mr. Niles' accusations, stressed that dealing with terrorism is a national issue. "PASOK has had an open front for a long time, and I think that it is very positive that now all parties and the majority of public opinion want the phenomenon to be dealt with effectively", she pointed out.

    She appreciated that developments on the issue of terrorism are very positive and noted that: "We must let the proper authorities, as they are doing very carefully and professionally, completely eradicate terrorism in Greece, terrorism which has internat ionally hurt our country so long".

    "Certain people can create various scenarios, either because it suits them, or because they want to justify certain positions they supported at various times" she stressed, and underlined that "the Greek people has knowledge and the ability to judge, and

    what it expects not only from the Government, but all of us, in such a case, is for us to be effective, responsible, and not use the situation for party gains or other personal benefits".

    New Democracy Spokesperson Thodoris Roussopoulos stated that: "Mr. Niles has no official position for ND to comment on what he has to say". "Whatever ND has to say on terrorism it says it officially", underlined Mr. Roussopoulos.

    An effort to incriminate the Left and those who had anti-dictatorial activity was what the President of the Coalition of the Left, Nikos Konstantopoulos, characterized Mr. Niles' statements as.

    "The individuals that have in the past used misinformation scenarios for their own gain, precisely because various interests can be served, return with stray, unsubstantiated arguments, once more aiming at defaming the anti-dictatorship struggle or organ izations", underlined Mr. Konstantopoulos.

    The President of the Coalition accused Mr. Niles of trying to introduce a political crisis into Greece of 2002, with unsubstantiated scenarios.

    Going by the book - A new jailhouse for terrorists

    His assurance that all questioning procedures underway that are related to terrorism are going by the book and are within the constitutional framework, was given yesterday by the new DA of the Supreme Court, Ev. Kroustallakis, after a meeting on the subj ect with the DA of the counter-terrorist service, I. Diotis.

    Although the time necessary for the police's preliminary examinations seems to be long, according to information, works for the reforming of the ground floor of the Korydallos Women's Penitentiary have begun, where all those accused of participating in N 17 or any other terrorist organization or action, will be held.

    According to the same information, S. Xeros will be transferred this block (which in the past held G. Koskotas), when he is released from the hospital and an arrest warrant is issued for possession of explosives and any other charges he may face.

    As far as questions on the "regime" of treating- holding Xeros in hospital, Mr. Kroustallakis stated that "all questioning procedures have taken place abiding by the rules of the penal legal code, the Constitution, and the European Treaty on Human rights ".

    A competent source mentioned that it is possible for the preliminary police questioning to last quite long, since it is obvious that the police authorities and the counter-terrorist service are in a position to investigate more evidence than a examiner, who is forced to work with statements, the results of questioning, opening bank accounts and other such actions.

    The progress of the investigations does not depend exclusively on the statements of Savvas Xeros and Dimitris Koufontinas (when he is found), but also the DNA results, the fingerprints and whatever other evidence was found at the hideouts. That is the re ason that the time investigations and arrests still cannot be determined.

  • [02] KARAMANLIS IN BELGRADE AND TIRANA The President of New Democracy Kosntantinos Karamanlis is on a two-day visit to Tirana and Belgrade, in the framework of the European People's Party Initiative for Democracy in the Western Balkans, which he is heading.

    The leader of the Opposition will leave Athens in the afternoon for the capital of Yugoslavia. He will meet with President Voislav Kostunica, in the presence of the EPP President G. Martens.

    In the afternoon Mr. Karamanlis will travel to Tirana, where he will have consecutive meetings with the Archbishop of Albania, Mr. Anastasios, former Prime Minister Ilir Meta, members of the "Omonia" and the leadership of the Human Rights Party.

    Tomorrow the President of New Democracy will continue to have meetings with the state and political leadership of Albania, while he will visit the Greek detachment of the NATO force.

  • [03] PASOK'S STATE DEPUTY ANGELIKI LAIOU HAS RESIGNED Governing Socialist Party of PASOK Parliament state deputy Angeliki Laiou has resigned citing personal reasons, as well as reasons of substance.

    Her seat in parliament will be occupied by Michalis Neonakis, who is a member of PASOK's Executive Bureau.

  • [04] THE EURO IS STRENGTHENED COMPARED TO THE US DOLLAR The belief that the strengthening of the Euro to the US dollar reflects the good fundamental characteristics of the European economy and heralds its further strengthening, was expressed by Minister of Finance Nikos Christodoulakis.

    After the meeting he had with Prime Minister Kostas Simitis, Mr. Christodoulakis stated that the European economy is coming out of the recession and this happens slower than predicted.

    He stressed that the rise of the Euro boosts the purchasing power of the Europeans without putting exports in danger, as they react neither immediately nor considerably to small changes in the foreign exchange rate.

  • [05] POLICE IN EVROS FACE PROBLEMS WITH ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION Police in the prefecture of Evros, in northeastern Greece, presented their stance concerning the problem of illegal immigration in the region.

    In their protest, the police officers made a detailed description of the installations and conditions in which the border-guard units function as a result of the uncontrolled illegal immigration.

    They stated characteristically that detention rooms with a capacity of 25 people host a total of 122 individuals many of whom wander around in the open-air space of the police station. They are guarded by 4-5 police officers or border guards. In some det ention rooms there is no drinking water for detainees and personnel and the area is not disinfected. The police officers also protest for the fact that they have not been vaccinated against infectious diseases and are forced to work for a continuous 48-72

    hours without rest.

    The protesting police officers point out the need for immediate measures to protect their health and preserve their safety and also, avoid the repetition of disorderly situations which have already happened and are expected to happen regularly.

  • [06] THE 45-CALIBER PISTOL FOUND IN ONE OF THE 17N HIDEOUTS WAS USED IN THE SEPOLIA CLASH The 45-caliber pistol found in the 84 Patmos Street "17 November" terrorist organization hideout was used in the armed clash of Sepolia on November 22, 1991. This was confirmed by the ballistics examination that was done on the specific pistol which, how ever, is not one of the two 45-caliber pistols-trademarks of the terrorist organization.

    According to Greek Police spokesman Lefteris Economou, the conclusions mentioned above were reached through comparative lab tests conducted at the Criminal Investigations Office Fire Arms Laboratory.

    The pistol was empty and its special serial number was erased as well as its manufacturer indications.

  • [07] OLYMPIC GAMES SECURITY ISSUES DISCUSSED IN TWO MEETINGS Organizational issues that concern the Athens 2004 Olympic Games safety were discussed in two meetings today presided over by Prime Minister Kostas Simitis.

    The Prime Minister discussed with the leaderships of the Ministries of Culture, Public Order and National Defense issues concerning the planning and materialization of the Olympic Games Security Management Center. They also discussed issues concerning th e improved guarding of the borders and the cooperation between the responsible ministries.

    An assessment of the recent visit by International Olympic Committee Coordinating Committee President Dennis Oswald was done by the members of the Olympic Games ministerial committee. Specifically, they discussed the problems pinpointed by the IOC delega tion concerning the pace of the Olympic projects preparations.

    Greece will be visited by IOC President Jacques Rogge on July 26 to attend the International Olympic Academy proceedings. During his visit, Mr. Rogge will meet with Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, while he is likely to meet with Prime Minister Simi tis.

  • [08] PIGEONS OF PEACE FOR THE PALESTINIAN CHILDREN Pigeons of peace were freed during the reception of 182 children from Palestine who arrived at Thessaloniki's Macedonia Airport today. Children from the municipality of Sikies welcomed the Palestinian children holding red roses, Greek flags and a sign wi th the slogan "Friends from Palestine Welcome".

    The reaction of the Palestinian children was enthusiastic and stepped out of the airplane holding Greek and Palestinian flags and chanting in English "Greece, Greece, we love Greece and the Greeks".

    The Palestinian children will be hosted in summer camps in Chalkidiki, northern Greece at the initiative of the Central Association of Municipalities and Communities in Greece.

  • [09] NEW RECORD LOW FOR THE ASE New record low was recorded in the Athens Stock Exchange today. The general index dropped to -1.05% at 2.124,21 points, while the volume of transactions was at 86.2 million Euro or 29.3 billion drachmas.

    Of the stocks trading today, the overwhelming majority of 284 had losses, while 37 recorded gains and the value of 56 stocks remained unchanged.


  • [10] US RESOLUTIONS FOR THE RETURN OF THE PARTHENON MARBLES Two resolutions tabled recently in the US Senate and the US House of Representatives call on the British government to enter negotiations with Greece as soon as possible to facilitate the return of the Parthenon Marbles before the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

    In the two resolutions, the Parthenon is characterized as the leading expression of the ancient Greek art and the main symbol of the Greek cultural heritage, copies of which can be found in many public buildings, including the Lincoln Memorial .

    In the resolutions, the Parthenon is characterized as an ecumenical symbol of civilization, democracy and freedom making the return of the Parthenon Marbles an issue that concerns the whole world and not only Greece.

  • [11] KARAMANLIS MET WITH KOSTUNICA IN BELGRADE Greek right-wing main opposition party of New Democracy leader Kostas Karamanlis referred to the contribution of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia President Voislav Kostunica to the efforts for the stabilization of the Balkan region. The statements were mad e in the meeting he had with Mr. Kostunica in Belgrade, first stop of the his two-day visit to Yugoslavia and Albania within the framework of the mission he undertook as the Vice-President of the European People's Party for the promotion of democracy in the Balkans.

    Mr. Karamanlis congratulated Mr. Kostunica for the Serajevo Summit meeting held with the participation of countries which had fought hard against each other in the recent past. Mr. Karamanlis stated that the European People's Party believes that the pros pect for the European Union is the EU accession of all Balkan countries.

    The New Democracy leader also stated that the prospects for the party of Mr. Kostunica is to become a member of the European People's Party and attend the next EPP congress in Portugal as an observer.

    Macedonian Press Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article
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