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01 March, 1999
The foreign ministry yesterday denied that former FM Theodoros Pangalos visited Kenya to discuss any deal to hand over Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, as charged by one of his top aides on Saturday.
Mr. Pangalos made an official visit to Africa in November 1998 that was organized at the beginning of the year and announced to the press in May, an announcement by a foreign ministry spokesman said.
"The official visit of the former foreign minister, Theodoros Pangalos, to Africa was used in an unacceptable manner during the press conference on Saturday," the statement read.
"It is beyond any sense and imagination that an official visit organized at the beginning of the previous year and announced to reporters in May could have any relationship to the events which followed much later...A search of our records reveals that preparations for the trip were made well in advance, while the itinerary had been distributed by mid-August. This program shows that the trip was set for Nov. 16-20 to Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia," the statement added.
In a press conference in Athens, one of Ocalan's aides repeatedly stated that Mr. Pangalos' visit to Kenya in November was linked to an intricate plot between Athens, Washington, Tel Aviv and Ankara to capture the rebel Kurd leader.
Source: Athens News Agency